Chumphon is a province with wonderful landscapes, a never-ending coastline and dozens of beautiful islands.
This province offers so much to those who are willing to explore one of the lesser-known parts of Thailand.
Nature trails, great viewpoints and a coastline of over 200 km with untouched clear water beaches feature in our list of things to do in Chumphon.
Chumphon is really a place not to be missed before hopping off to the busier gulf islands.
Chumphon is the second of Thailand southern provinces we visited after Bangkok.
On our trip to south Thailand, we started off in Bangkok and have written a post ideal for first-time travelers to this megacity.
Our second stop was Prachuap Khiri Khan, a quiet laid-back town and just what is needed after the busy chaotic capital city. You can read our Prachuap Khiri Khan blog here.
So, is Chumphon worth a visit?
Read along and we’ll guide you through why you should visit Chumphon.
Want to get to the island of Koh Tao from Chumphon?
The best option and also the most popular way of getting to the island of Koh Tao is by ferry from Chumphon. So, pre-booking your ferry to Koh Tao is essential especially if traveling on fixed dates. Enjoy a hassle-free transfer to Koh Tao with online booking and choose your preferred departure time and point.
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Things To Do in Chumphon Thailand
Relax on the Sand at Chumphon Beaches
#1 Hat Thung Wua Laen Beach
One of many beaches north of Chumphon town is Hat Thung Wua Laen bay. This long sandy beach is beautiful and most of the time is quiet with very few tourists.
Wua Laen Beach is mostly unspoiled with only some places to stay in and some small restaurants.
We have visited this side of Chumphon province on an early afternoon in March at which time the tide was out and the sea was shallow.
On either side what we could see is just more beaches. The beach was deserted except for few stalls which were setting up on the side road.
#2 Hat Sai Ri Beach
This white sand clear waters beach is one of Chumphon’s most popular beaches.
This beach is 20 km from Chumphon city centre. During the high season, especially on weekends and holidays, this bay may be quite busy due to its popularity with locals and foreigners alike.
Bungalows and restaurants are dotted along the street facing the beautiful ocean and island views.
Along Sai Ri beach there is a shrine for Krom Luang Chumphon Khet Udomsak who was a prince and highly praised royal Thai navy admiral. This is a sacred place for the locals.
Enjoy the Views at Chumphon Viewpoints
#1 Khao Chao Mueang Hill
Near Hat Sai Ri beach are two gorgeous viewpoints, one of which is the viewpoint at Khao Chao Mueang hill. At just over 1.5 km, the hill can be easily reached by a 30-minute walk from the bay.
The charming pavilion atop the hill offers the best views of the coastline and islands of Chumphon. The viewpoint is open from 8:00 to 18:00.
#2 Khao Matsee Viewpoint
Khao Matsee viewpoint is a 15-minute drive from Hat Sai Ri beach. The viewpoint is also accessible by car or motorbike.
Here you can enjoy a 360 view of Chumphon’s landscape, beach coast and islands.
A coffee shop serving also refreshing drinks makes this a great spot to soak in the beautiful views.
TIP: The piers of the Lomprayah and Songserm ferries to the islands are close to Khao Chao Mueng viewpoint and Khao Matsee viewpoint respectively.
#3 Khao Dinsor (Pencil Hill)
This viewpoint which is 25 km north of Chumphon town is one of the highest in Chumphon province.
The hill is particularly known by bird enthusiasts as between September and mid-November raptors can be seen migrating.
There is an observation platform at the summit offering spectacular views over Chumphon.
Island Hop at Mu Ko Chumphon National Park
Mu Ko Chumphon National Park consists of 40 islands with Koh Mattra, Koh Ngam Yai and Koh Ngam Noi mostly known for the excellent diving and snorkeling experience.
The forestry park of this national park is made up of mangroves, nature trails and viewpoints. This park is also close to Hat Sai Ri beach.
1# Koh Mattra Island
Koh Mattra is an island off the coast from Hat Sai Ri beach. The island’s rocky shores are known for their marine life, giant clams and colorful coral reefs making this an ideal snorkeling spot.
Koh Mattra has tents, huts and a restaurant for those who want to spend a night here.
2# Koh Ngam Yai & Koh Ngam Noi Islands
The coral reef along the rocky shores of these 2 sister islands are revered only by Thailand’s most sought-after diving spots. Sealife in these waters thrives due to their merely touched nature thus offering a spectacular diving or snorkeling experience.
Above the waters is just as beautiful and interesting. These islands are a harvesting place for the edible nest swiftlets, the main ingredient for a prized and expensive soup around Asia.
Shacks that are used as a resting place for the harvesters are seen along the island’s cliffs and a rock formation resembling a buddha hand is seen on the larger island.
Early Morning or Late Afternoon Walk at Nong Yai Tang Park
8 km from Chumphon town this park is a great option for a lazy afternoon. The park’s original purpose is a water management system after previous disastrous flooding in Chumphon.
Footpaths circulating a lake and leading into forestry and a wooden bridge connected to an island are the main draws here. And if you get hungry there are also a few food stalls at the park.
Savor Amazingly Good Food at Chumphon’s Town Night Market
The night market in Chumphon town centre offers some great seafood dishes and one of the best Pad Thai we had in Thailand.
TIP: Pad Thai is the most famous Thai dish among foreigners travelling to Thailand.
The market is open daily from 17:00 onward and is located just after the crossroads down the street from the train station.
Shopping malls, supermarkets and convenience stores are also found along this street.
Unfortunately, our visit to Chumphon was limited to just a few attractions out of the amazing ‘things to do’ list in this post. The main reason for this partly goes to the feedback of a tour operator back in Bangkok where we were told Chumphon is just a hub for getting to the islands.
We hope that this blog post gives insight and therefore helps you consider Chumphon on your next Thailand trip.
Chumphon Attractions on Map
The map includes Chumphon’s attractions.
TIP: Before choosing accommodation, pinpoint the hotel on the map above to check its location relative to the attractions.
Best area to stay in Chumphon
Chumphon is quite a sleepy town and choosing the right area is key to a great experience.
On our visit we stayed in the city centre, but we would not suggest this area as apart from the night market we didn’t do much.
The best area would be around Hat Sai Ri beach as some activities are found here all within walking distance or a boat trip away. The beach alone would be good enough for 2 nights.
Restaurants, great viewpoints and a national park are all within a short distance from the bay.
Hidden in the jungle and located by the river, Villa Varich provides a peaceful relaxing stay in very clean rooms. There are different activities you can choose to do at this property including canoeing. There is a restaurant close by but if you wish to venture out and explore it is best to have own means of transport.
These are carefully picked accommodation options in Chumphon.
Budget to Mid-range
DE SEA ALMOND HOTEL
Located on Sai Ri Beach, this property has spacious rooms with ocean views and restaurants within 5 to 20 minutes walk. De Sea Almond has an excellent location close to the ferry piers to the islands.
Mid-Range to Luxury
THE NEST PRIVATE BEACH RESORT CHUMPHON
New for 2021, this property has a fresh design, its own private beach and located very close to Hat Sai Ri Beach. Rooms are comfy and clean with stunning views. From The Next Private Beach Resort you can easily walk to local restaurants.
Getting to Chumphon City
Getting to Chumphon by minivan from Bangkok costs around 400 Baht ($12.98). Minivans stop near the railway station.
Another option is by bus and the bus terminal is 11 km outside town so isn’t the most convenient in a way but does allow for more space during the trip, unlike minivans which are a little crammed.
Trains are another option to get to Chumphon.
The train station is centrally located in town.
Planning on visiting the south of Thailand? Stop at the lesser-known southern provinces such as Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon for a more authentic Thai experience.
But if you still decide to head straight to Thailand Gulf Islands, we have written a detailed guide on how to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.
Since the Gulf islands are the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand, pre-book your transport at least a couple of days in advance.
It is also possible to book your transport from Bangkok directly to Koh Tao but in 2021 this is not an option on 12goasia.
Getting around Chumphon
Songtaews and motorbike taxis are widely available but can get tricky finding out what you should be charged, asking at your accommodation may help.
The best option is by motorbike or car rental as these are the most efficient and cheapest way to get around and don’t involve negotiating on a price every time you need to go somewhere, plus the roads in and around Chumphon are not that busy.
Motorbike prices in Chumphon are the most expensive we have seen so far in Thailand, prices start at 300 Baht per day ($9.64) for a 125cc bike and this price does not seem to be negotiable.
TIP: Before hiring a bike check your insurance policy to ascertain whether you are properly insured in an unfortunate event of an accident. Riding a scooter in Thailand requires a motorbike license and an international driving permit.
>> Are you heading to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan or Koh Samui after your visit to Chumphon? Read these travel guides!
Koh Samui – Koh Samui Things To Do, Nightlife & Transport
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