Ranong is a small border city and a major fishing and trading port in Southern Thailand. It is the capital of the southern province named the same which is the northernmost province on the west coast. The border of Myanmar is on the west, making Ranong an attractive spot for growing numbers of travellers who want to use a border crossing with Myanmar for traveling overland to Kawthaung in Myanmar or back.
Ranong is also a starting point of traveling to a pair of exceptionally laid-back nearby Thai islands of Koh Phayam and Koh Chang Noi. The Indian Ocean is nearby (the city centre is only 7 km from the ocean) and journeys to Thai and Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago diving sites can be organized from Ranong.
Ranong is also known for a long rainy season as the monsoon here starts earlier and lasts longer than in most of Thailand. Rainy season can last up to 8 months in Ranong province.
Attractions in Ranong
The city itself has very limited tourist interest as it is only offering a peaceful atmosphere and not much more. However the surrounding are contains various natural attractions. In Ranong you can find hot springs, unspoiled mangrove forests, mountains, jungle, nice waterfalls, islands, scenic coastline and even a canyon.
Raksawarin Hot Springs and Public Park is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Ranong. It is located 2 km away from Ranong town. There you can find 3 natural hot springs and a nice public park in the area which is accessed for free.
Koh Phayam is a nice island in the Andaman Sea about 35 km from Ranong. It‘s a laid-back and one of the most beautiful of Thailand‘s islands. Koh Phayam is a perfect place for those who want to get away from everything and just spend some time in one of its wide and uncrowded beaches.
Other attractions in Ranong
Namtok Ngao National Park – home of a steep 300 m high Ngao Waterfall and many other waterfalls and hot springs.
Laem Son National Park – a coastal park that extends out to the sea and covers many beautiful islands such as a great for snorkelling island Koh Khai Yai, island with pure white sand Koh Kam and home of thousands of bats Koh Kang Kao.
Ranong Canyon - an old mine in the area surrounded by mountains which is filled with water and is a great spot for relaxing.
How to get to Ranong?
Ranong is located 568 km south of Bangkok and can be easily accesed from there by bus or by plane. Nearest railway station is more than one hundred kilometres away.
Buses to Ranong
If you are traveling to Ranong from Bangkok, you can get an overnight bus from the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Taling Chan or Sai Tai Mai). The journey from Bangkok to Ranong takes about 8-9 hours and you will be able to catch the first morning boat to Koh Phayam. If you take daytime bus leaving around 9:00 am, it will arrive at Ranong too late for catching a boat to Koh Phayam on the same day.
The General Government buses or Bor.Kor.Sor. run from Bangkok to Ranong every day. Private bus companies (New Mitr Tour, Lignite Tour and Choke Anan Tour) also cover this route. They also run from the Southern Bus Terminal (or Sai Tai Mai) and stop at Ranong bus station. But you can also get dropped off at their offices in Ranong. Most of the departure times are around 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. You can go to buy the ticket at the Southern Bus Terminal. However, it is safer to buy tickets at least one day in advance as the number of seats is limited. You can also check schedule and buy bus tickets from Bangkok to Ranong.
Minivans to Ranong are also available from Chumphon, Phuket and Surat Thani.
Flights to Ranong
Ranong airport (UNN) is 23 km south of the city. This airport receives daily flights from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) airport served by low-cost airlines. The flight takes approximately 1.5 hour. The airport is well-served by taxis making it easy to reach the city centre. Once you arrived at the airport, there are usually taxis waiting to take you to the city or directly to the pier.
It is also possible to fly from Bangkok to Chumphon (122 km from Ranong) or Surat Thani (around 220 km from Ranong) and then take a bus or minivan to Ranong, but it is quite unpractical.
Trains to Ranong
There is no train directly from Bangkok to Ranong. The closest railway stations are located in Chumphon and Surat Thani.
Chumphon - Ranong
You can always take a bus or minivan from Chumphon to Ranong. The distance between these 2 cities is 122 kilometers. The trip takes about 2.5 hours. The ticket costs 150-200 THB. Minivan is faster but more expensive option and you can book minivan from Chumphon to Ranong online or just at the place.
Surat Thani – Ranong
The Bus (from Tarad Kaset1) or minibus (from Tarad Kaset2) from Surat Thani town to Ranong is available. The distance is 193 kilometers and it takes about 3.5 hours. The ticket costs approximately 200 Baht.
Weather in Ranong
Ranong has only two seasons - the wet and the dry. Between November and April the weather is mostly dry with little rain expected for much of this time but rains start earlier and end later here than in other west coast destinations. The amount of rain Ranong gets is the biggest in all Thailand and the rainy season here can expand up to 8 months in Ranong province.
For more detailed information about Ranong's weather patterns during the year check Weather in Ranong.
After visiting Ranong you are planning to continue your trip up north or visit other destinations in the south? Check when is the best time to visit Thailand's other destinations and choose your next destination.