Absent from mass tourism and a relatively unknown coastal town, Chumphon is a gateway to Southern Thailand. It offers stunning experiences. Perfect for outdoorsy and off-the beaten path activity seekers.
Most travellers rush through the province to more popular, bursting destinations such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan or Koh Lanta, seeing nothing else. But those who have visited Chumphon would classify it as “Thailand as it was used to be”. Here you can find endless beaches that are almost completely empty, no all inclusive hotels, no jetski, but tranquility that is hard to find in major destinations.
If you love a quiet beach town with over 200 kilometers coastline, Chumphon is definitely your choice. There are amazing snorkeling sites, mountainside viewpoints and obviously beaches worth exploring.
Discover the underwater world around Mo Koh Chumphon
The Mu Koh Chumphon National Park covers a large area of Chumphon coastline with over 40 islands. Koh Ngam Yai and Koh Ngam Noi are two sister islands, quite remote from the mainland (about an hour). Entirely rock and no beach, yet there are healthy and well preserved reefs, thanks to its status as national park and bird nest area. Dives are frequently made in the northern tip of the island, where the coral reaches about 20 meters and visibility can be good.
If you enjoy diving, Koh Ran Gai and Koh Ran Ped offer larger marine life and a few caves where natural light penetrates. Off the Ran Gai coast there is a swim through with a large cavity and natural light. Divers often see the box fish, snappers and scorpion fish.
Get panorama view at Khao Matsee and Khao Dinsor
Khao Matsee offers a bird’s eye view of Chumphon vast landscape and the gigantic half-moon Paradonphab Beach as well as the fishing village. Even better, it’s actually car accessible so you spared a steep hike. Best time to visit is in the afternoon, have a coffee and cake from the coffee shop, sit back and watch the sun go down.
Khao Dinsor is the tallest point in Chumphon province and the viewpoint is easily accessed by car or bike and has a parking lot as well as a vendor selling coffee and hot snacks. The view is stunning with the sunrise over the Gulf of Thailand. If you would like to walk to the highest viewpoint, the hike is quite steep. It is worth your effort to get there, the 360- degree view of the coves and inlets of the coastline and the mist enshrouding the nearby uninhabited hills is indescribable.
Apart from the amazing panorama view, here is an excellent spot for birdwatching. Every year, from mid-October to mid-November bird-watchers gather here to watch the seasonal migration of several species of raptors, fleeing the freezing cold weather and sparse hunting grounds of winter in Siberia in favor of more tropical climates.
Relax on the beaches
Thung Wua Laen beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Chumphon. It is a 2 km long powdery white sand beach. It is unspoiled with only some places to stay and some small restaurants. The water is quite shallow for a long distance offshore, suitable for swimming. You can relax on the beach, enjoying the view and tranquility. Had Sai Ree is another long beach with an old battleship and monument to Prince Chumphon at the north end. Some beaches are quiet, such as the beaches of Ao Thung Maha and Ao Thung Sang. Even on warm sunny days, you will hardly find anyone on the shore.
In addition, Chumphon is one of Thailand’s premier locations for kitesurfing with this stretch of coast enjoying excellent conditions for the newbies. The most popular spot yet less known as a kitesurfing destination is at Had Thung Wau Laen. The main season goes from mid-October through mid-January and brings good northeasterly winds.
Go bamboo rafting in Phato District
Phato District is one of Thailand’s best areas for bamboo rafting. The scenic route takes around three hours to complete with a number of small rapids. Don’t worry if you are not fit and strong, the local oarsmen will do the work allowing you to enjoy the journey and admire the lush landscape. Kingfishers, hornbills and spectacled langurs are often seen on the treetops. While passing orchards, you can enjoy the local fruits such as magosteen and rambutans. Rafting is usually open from January to October. February to April is ideal while July to September is ideal for tasing fruits directly from the orchards.
Explore Chumphon Night Market
Located in the central area of town, not far from the train station, there is a large number of street stalls which offer a variety of Thai foods and seafood, fruits, juices and shakes among other things. It is a good place to explore on foot. Try a new Thai snack, pick up a pizza or enjoy a coffee at one of the many shops and street outlets.
How to get to Chumphon
Chumphon railway station is conveniently located near the centre of the town with trains from Bangkok taking around eight hours. Trains also connect Chumphon with Hua Hin and Surat Thani.