Ranong is one of Thailand’s southern provinces. Located on the coast of the Andaman Sea, 568 kilometers south of Bangkok, Ranong encompasses an area of 3,298 square kilometers.
The province shares borders with Myanmar (Burma) and the Thai province of Chumphon. Geographically, in addition to sixty-two islands, long expanses of sandy beaches, unspoiled forests and waterfalls, parks, and a world sanctuary zone, Ranong finds the Kra, the narrowest point on the Malayan Peninsula, located within its borders. Administratively, Ranong is divided into five districts, Muang, La-un, Kra Buri, and Kapur, and one subdistrict, Suksamran.
Hot Springs and Raksa Warin Arboretum
Located about 2 kilometers east of the provincial office, the hot springs have been a popular tourist spot ever since King Rama V visited Ranong in 1890, and named the road to the hot springs ‘Chon Ra-u’, meaning ‘hot water’. There are three natural spring pools. The temperature of the water in the pools remains constant at about 65 Â°C. The water is both potable and suitable for bathing. Doctors routinely prescribe bathing in the pools for both medical treatments and as a relaxing way to ease stress and tension. Surrounding the hot springs is a deep shaded forest called ‘Raksa Warin’, where resting pavilions and wash rooms have been provided for the visitor’s comfort. Nearby Wat Tapo Tharam also provides bathing rooms for visitors who want to enjoy the healthy mineral water from the thermal springs.
Located in Tambon Ngao in the vicinity of Khlong Phrao National Park, the steep Ngao Waterfall can be seen from a great distance away because of its commanding height. The area is home to a unique species of crab. Known to locals for years as Poo Chao Fa. This fresh water crab has just been recently classified by the scientific community and added to the world’s list of shellfish. These crabs, easily recognized by their white bodies and dark purple mouths, live in crevices or under dry leaves along the banks of the small creeks which run from the waterfall. Interestingly, the biologist who first classified this species, Professor Phaiboon Naiyanet from Chulalongkorn university, named the crab Phricotelphusa Sirindhorn in reverence to her Royal Highness, Princess Sirindhorn.
Ngao Mangrove Forest Research Center
Located about 15 kilometers from the town center, the Ngao Mangrove Forest has been declared a World Biological Sanctuary Zone by UNESCO owing to the essential role this mangrove plays in maintaining the region’s ecological integrity. Many species of marine life come to the mangrove to mate, incubate their eggs and care for their young until the offspring are strong enough to face the perils of the open sea. The center offers guided forest walks. Arrangements can be made by writing to the Chief of Ngao Mangrove Forest Research Center, Mu 4, Ban Lang, Tambon Ngao, Amphoe Muang, Changwat Ranong 85000 at least three weeks in advance of a proposed visit to the center.
Phu Khao Ya (Grass Hill) or Khao Hua Lan (Bald Hill) or Khao Phi (Ghost Hill)Known to local residents by a variety of names and endearingly referred to as Thailand’s version of a Swiss pasture, this hill, located in Tambon Ngao on Highway 4 (Ranong-Phang-nga) about twelve kilometers from downtown Ranong, is something of an anomaly as it is completely treeless, being covered instead by a thick blanket of grass. Numerous walking trails and good vantage points offering unbroken views of the countryside make this hill the most popular in Ranong.
Chan Damri Beach
Located about nine kilometers from downtown Ranong along highway 4004 (Ranong-Pak Nam), this small beach and pier, and a nearby hillside viewpoint offer good vantage points from which to witness seafaring life along the mouth of Ranong’s principal river. From here visitors can see across to Victoria Point of Ko Song in Myanmar of further out to the many other islands, big and small, which dot the Andaman Sea. The hilltop viewpoint is a particularly good location for watching Ranong’s sunsets. The Jansom Thara Resort, Situated above the beach, offers boat trips to some of the islands.
Victoria Point of Ko Song
As an island in neighbouring Myanmar, Ko Song offers visitors a variety of local products, souvenirs such as wicker basketry and laquerware, and gems. Longtailed boats can be hired in Pak Nam Ranong or on the Ranong Pier. The boat ride to Victoria Point takes about 15 minutes each way and costs between 200 and 300 baht. Before embarking on this excursion, visitors must obtain a boarding card issued by the Ranong Immigration Office in Pak Nam Ranong, tel : (077) 821216. Jansom Travel also offers tours to Ko Song.
Two hours by boat from the Ranong Pier, Ko Phayam is famous for both its long fine white sandy beaches and for the cashew nuts which are grown on the island. A number of sea gypsies, or Chao Le, live on the island as well. The waters between Ko Phayam and the nearby islands of Ko Hai Hin and Ko Chang often provide excellent game fishing. To get to Ko Phayam visitors can charter boats from Ranong Pier for about 1,000 baht per trip. Visitors can also charter speed boats from Ko Phayam Resort. Prices range from 2,000 to 4,000 baht, depending on the size of the boat. Reservations can be made by calling (077) 812297, (01) 3230436
With only 45 homes on the entire island, Ko Chang welcomes visitors with a quiet, unspoiled tropical island ambiance. Visitors who wish to explore the island for more than a day are advised to contact the abbot at Wat Ko Chang. Like Ko Phayam, boats can be chartered from the Ranong Pier.
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