Travel To Chumphon
Chumphon has never been a top tourist destination.Travel to Chumphon, Most never take the exit off the 222 km of highway (Petcha kasem Road) running through it from North to South. What have those on the fast-lane been missing? Numerous tranquil beaches with white powdery sands and clear waters. Chumphon is six hours away, and getting to said beaches is often tricky because many are surrounded by private property. But Arunothai Beach, in Pak Tako, is easily accessible and also offers a tranquil fishing village and smart eco-tourism options.
Get to know the locals
Pak Tako subdistrict is very small. If you can recall Arthit Asarat’s award-winning film Wonderful Town, this is even smaller you can easily walk down its two parallel rows of wooden shophouses on Ratpiboon Road in fifteen minutes. Get there early in the morning (9am), when locals are busying themselves with the night’s catch. Surely it’s about time you learn how to gut a squid yourself? This is a real fishing village, though, and it’s not on hipsters’ maps, so don’t expect a cute coffee shop for a pick-me-up.
Arunothai Beach is 6km-long. The sand might not be as powdery as Samed’s Sal Kaew or Samui’s Chaweng but the only people here are locals. As the name implies, Arunothai is at its most beautiful in the morning, when the sun rises over the horizon.
Bike Around town
The municipal office encourages visitors to produce less carbon. Resort all have bicycles available to check out nearby sites (most about two-hour rides roundtrip).
Start your itinerary around 4pm when the heat is starting to drop and head to Pak Tako Mangrove Reserve, located in the Prince of Chumphon Fishery College. The mangrove reserve project was started a few years ago to preserve the local environment as well as exhibiting local flora and fauna for the next generation. Though not yet 1000/o complete, a long wooden walkway leads you into the forest and through blocks where different kinds of animals are shown in captivity. The whole trip is 5 km roundtrip and takes around an hour or more.
Car: Arunothai Beach is 538km from Bangkok. Use Rama 2 Road (the same road you use to get to Hua Hin) to reach Petchakasem Road. Then turn left onto Road No. 4096 in Chumphon and continue for around nine kilometers to find the beach.
Plane: Can’t face a six hour drive? Fly. Get Nok Air (from B3,494 roundtrip; 1318, www.nokair.com), Air Asia (from B2,580 roundtrip; 02-515-9999, www. airasia.com) or THAI Airways (from B5,760 roundtrip; 1566, www. thaiairways.com) to Surat Thani and rent a car at the airport. Or fly Solar Air (B2,900 one way; 02-535-2455/-6, www.solarair.co.th) to Chumphon. From both airports it’s another one-hour drive on the Petchakasem Road so you’ll need a car anyway.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation in Chumphon town and along the 200 kilometer coast ranges from hotels and resorts to guesthouses and home stays.
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