Ranong, Things to do in this relatively unknown part of South Thailand
Sach playing around in Ranong
I hadn’t even heard of Ranong before we were asked to fly there to meet up with Burma Boating for a video assignment. When we booked our flights at a local 7-11 via the Nok Air App (how cool is that) we had no idea what to expect when we arrived.
We stepped onto the runway at Don Muang Airport in Bangkok to be met by a propeller plane ready to transport us to Ranong. That gave us an idea of the size of the town we were about to fly into. Sacha was a little anxious having never flown on such a small aircraft but once we were above the clouds her fears were vanquished.
Arrival at Ranong Airport
Just over an hour later the Nok Air flight touched down at Ranong airport where we were met by a driver from Pons Place. We had booked an airport transfer via the website contact form on www.ponplace-ranong.com and the driver was prompt and professional. The price was 200 baht per person and the journey took just over 30 minutes to the centre of town. I would use their services again.
Ranong Town First Impressions
Ranong reminded us of Burma in Places
Many people would just use Ranong as a simple port for the Visa Run to Kawthaung in Myanmar. But after spending a few days there walking around we found it quite a pleasant place to visit.
River passing through town
There is no immediate beach nearby but it is quite well placed for island excursions to Ko Chang and Ko Phayam on the western side of Thailand. There are lots of decent cafes, restaurants, street vendors, local markets and even bars at the north end of town. We noticed the town had a strong Burmese influence due to its proximity to Myanmar just 30 minutes long tail ride away to the west.
Accommodation in Ranong – Where we stayed
The entrance to Pathu Resort
The peaceful garden settings
Ironically, even though we weren’t travelling with our puppy Eden this particular time we still ended up staying a lovely pet friendly hotel. Pathu Resort in Ranong was set within a nice garden setting with a swimming pool, but the thing that we thought was really cool was the motor-bicycles that were on display and for sale in the reception area. They were called Road Wing Bikes and had a real classic steam punk look to them. More of a pedal bike than a motor vehicle but apparently they could still ride 50 kms on motor power should you reach a hill too steep to ride.
The stylish Road Wing Bicycles in Pathu Resort
Things to do and see in Ranong Town
Walking from Pathu resort north into the main town we passed many little street vendors and shops selling coffee and street food. Once you enter the main town the urban setting reminded us a little of the modern version of my mother’s home town Kamayut in Yangon Myanmar. There is a good local market selling fruit, fried foods, take away rice and curry in bags and a variety of common market place food and kitchen products should you have the facilities and wish to cook yourself.
Sach wandering through Ranong Market
View Ranong Market in a larger map
After we walked through the market and bought some delicious fruits we ventured further north by foot until we reached the trendy part of town. Passing numerous bars playing the football on very large TV’s we eventually ended up at DD Coffee.
Our Favourite place to eat 🙂
There’s even a TeePee outside 😀
The Pork Steaks were cooked perfectly
This particular café/restaurant was playing the movie Rush Hour and we sat for while eating meat and salad whilst trying not to laugh too loudly at the hilarious antics happening on the big TV screen. The food and coffee was great and we returned several times whilst we were exploring Ranong.
View DD Coffee Ranong in a larger map
On our way back to the hotel we took a detour and came across the Rattana Rangsarn Throne Hall. Initially we weren’t sure if we could enter the park because it was so clean and with no body inside.
Sach unsure if we should be in the grounds
We eventually went in to explore
It was quite beautiful inside the gardens
My mum would love these flowers 🙂
After some hesitation we spent around 30 minutes exploring the grounds and taking photos of the lovely building, gardens and statues. It would make a nice peaceful location for a picnic.
Check out the 6-pack on the Burmese Statue 😉
View Rattana Rangsarn Throne Hall in a larger map
Slightly further up hill we came across ‘The Shrine of Nine Revered Images’ or ‘Ho Kao Kechi’. This shrine as the name suggests holds revered images of 9 famous Buddhist monks. The sign said these images were placed there to raise the spirits of the general public. Why that would raise spirits I can’t tell you but the building itself looked pretty cool.
The Shrine of Nine Revered Images
View The Shrine of 9 revered images Ranong in a larger map
Across the road on the same hill we found a little stair case that led up to a mini shrine overlooking the town of Ranong with the palace in the foreground. It wasn’t a perfect unobstructed view but it was rather nice to get up high and see more of the surroundings.
The View from the hill
Ranong and Around
There are two national parks and two waterfalls within driving riding distance of Ranong Town. Ko Phayam National Park and Lamnam Kra Buri NP. Ngao Waterfalls and Ton Phet Waterfalls which we plan to visit the next time we find ourselves down there. There is also a day trip to the bald mountain which sounds rather interesting. We hear it is a mountain that isn’t covered by trees like almost all of Thailands mountain ranges, so it should resemble the hills we have back home in the UK if what we imagine is correct.
Pet Friendly Hotels in Ranong
You can also take a slow boat or speed boat to the islands of Ko Phayam and Ko Chang. We saw a few agencies offering trips and even our hotel had a sign up stating the prices below.
Ferry Prices to the islands as of dec 17. 2013
- Slow boat: 200 baht
- Speed boat: 350 baht
From Ranong to Ko Phayam:
- Slow boat: 9:30, 14:00
- Speed boat: 10:00, 11:30, 14:30, 16:30
From Ko Phayam to Ranong:
- Slow boat: 8:30, 14:00
- Speed boat: 9:00, 10:00, 13:30
You can Fly from Bangkok to Ranong Airport and back three times a week via Happy Air or Nok Air. The airport is tiny so we cleared customs and check-in in seconds.
All in all we thought it was a sweet town and we could have spent more time there. Next time we are in need of a Visa Run to Kawthaung we will relax for a few days in Ranong and see what else the area has to offer.
Jmayel El-Haj – 8 miles from home