Chonburi is a province on the Eastern Gulf of Thailand that receives millions of foreign visitors each year. With just over one hour from Bangkok’s international airport, the province houses the nearest beach resorts to Bangkok.
Chonburi is one of the most industrialized provinces of Thailand and houses Thailand’s largest seaport, Laem Chabang. The province’s capital is Chonburi town, its main destination is Pattaya, one of the most visited beach resorts in South East Asia.
To do & see in Chonburi
Known for its beaches and nightlife centered around Pattaya, Chonburi has plenty of other places to go and things to do including amusement parks, golf courses, theme parks, water sports, museums and temples as the Wat Yansangwararam.
Beaches & islands
Chonburi province houses a great number of beaches and islands, of which the best known are Pattaya, Jomtien and Koh Larn island.
Koh Sichang a little over 10 kilometers off Si Racha is one of the larger islands with beautiful sandy beaches and a mountainous, forested interior. Vimanmek Mansion, the Royal Summer Palace that was built on Koh Sichang in the 19th century, was moved to Bangkok in the year 1900. Koh Sichang island is reached by ferry from the town of Si Racha, North of Pattaya.
Samae beach on Koh Larn island is a 500 meter long white sandy beach with clear waters. Beach chairs are for rent at between 50 to 100 Thai Baht per day. Restaurants on the beach serve seafood and Thai food. Although well visited, Samae beach is quieter than Pattaya beach. To get there, take a ferry (40 Baht) from Pattaya to Na Ban pier on Koh Larn, from there take a songthaew to Samae beach.
Sai Kaew beach is located on the area of the Sattahip Naval School, South of Pattaya. Kayaks are for hire a the one kilometer long sandy beach with warm, clear waters. Visitors can enjoy a Thai massage right on the beach. Entrance fee is 80 Baht, showers and toilet facilities available.
Chonburi province is well known for its golf courses, some of the best known being the Laem Chabang international country club designed by Jack Nicklaus, Siam country club and the Khao Kheow country club.
The province’s center for nightlife is Pattaya with its countless restaurants, discothèques, night clubs, beer bars and cabaret shows like Tiffany’s and Alcazar, where “ladyboys” perform in energetic shows.
Amusement parks, theme parks & other attractions
Chonburi province hosts a great number of theme parks, water parks and other attractions. Some of the best known are the Pattaya floating markets, Sanctuary of Truth, Viharn Sien, Big Buddha Hill, Buddha Mountain, Nong Nooch tropical garden, Three Kingdoms Park, Mini Siam, Pattaya Sheep Farm, Art in Paradise, Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, Underwater World and Silver Lake Vineyard.
Ang Sila village is a small seaside village about 50 kilometers North of Pattaya. Its main attractions are its seaside restaurants, the Ang Sila market that has been there since 1876 selling fresh seafood, Thai deserts and souvenirs and the Wihan Thep Sathit Phra Kitti Chaloem, a very ornate Chinese temple, comprising of several structures including a large four story building and a fountain. The temple enshrines statues of Chinese deities, including Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy.
Just South of Ang Sila village is Khao Sam Muk, a hill with views of the coastline and Bang Saen beach. On the hill is a Chinese temple and a large white statue of a Chinese Goddess. The hill is the home of large numbers of monkeys always looking for food; vendors sell packets of fruit to food them.
The nearest beach to Bangkok can be found at Bang Saen village about 10 kilometers South of Chonburi town. The long sandy beach lined with deck chairs, umbrellas and palm trees is popular with Thai people from the capital, especially during weekends and holidays. Other attractions in Bang Saen are the Institute of Marine Science Aquarium and the Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden.
The Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden is an iconography of Buddhist Hell, a unique attraction not suitable for small children. The large garden filled with sculptures leaves little to the imagination as to what happens to people who commit sins. For every type of sin there is a specific punishment, texts in Thai and English explain the various sins and punishments. At the center of the garden are a large statue of an emaciated man and woman with a horrified expression on their faces, their tongues hanging out until the waist, surrounded by suffering sinners. Other statues depict sinners whose heads have been turned into the heads of various animals, people having their internal organs ripped out by birds, people whose torsos are being sawed, people being cooked in large pots with boiling water or hacked into pieces with machetes and people being torn apart by dogs. Wang Saen Suk Hell garden is located near Bang Saen village. Entrance is free, donations are appreciated.
Bang Saray is a small fishing village about 20 kilometers South of Pattaya, a relaxed place with a sandy beach and seafood restaurants with views of the Gulf of Thailand. Bang Saray is popular with Thai people, especially on weekends and Thai National Holidays.
Silverlake Vineyard located almost 20 kilometers South of Pattaya grows more than 10 different kinds of grapes of which wines are produced. From the Silverlake Vineyard flower garden visitors have a good view of Khao Cheejan, better known as Buddha Mountain. Since the vineyard appeared in a Thai TV series, it has become very popular with Thai tourists. Visitors can buy wines, grape juices, pies and jams and other products made of grapes. Entrance is free.
The Horse riding club, nearly 10 kilometers East of Pattaya town is a riding school for beginners and experienced riders, both in groups and private. Riders can learn basic riding skills, dressage and jumping, or ride a horse over several trails in the scenic area around the club. For children there is a pony club, where they can ride a pony and learn about horses and how to take care of them.
The Sea turtle conservation center in Sattahip is not set up as a tourist attraction, but open to visitors. Its goal is the conservation of sea turtles and raising awareness towards the need to protect the animals, as more and more beaches are developed for tourism. After eggs have been dug up from local beaches and taken to the center, the young sea turtles are raised for about three months when they are released into the sea. The center also cares for adult sea turtles that have been hurt and are being nurtured back to health. The sea turtle conservation center is a popular destination for Thai school children, who learn about the need to protect the sea and the animals that live in it. The center is located on the base of the Royal Thai Navy in Sattahip district on the South West tip of Chonburi, about 35 kilometers from Pattaya. Admission is free, donations are appreciated.
Getting to Chonburi
Taxi or van
A van or taxi from Bangkok airport will take around 1½ hours to Pattaya. The fare for a private taxi is about 1,600 Baht one way, for a private van about 1,900 one way.
Another comfortable way to get to Chonburi is by bus. Bell Travel Service serves Pattaya from Bangkok international airport 6 times per day. Fares are 230 Baht if booked on Bell website, 250 Baht at the airport counter. The trip takes about two hours. Bangkok to Pattaya is served three times per day. Passengers get picked up from their Bangkok hotel. Fares are 345 Baht when booked at the Bell website or 375 Baht at the counter of their Bangkok office. The trip takes about three hours.
The nearest airport to Chonburi is U-Tapao international airport in neighboring Rayong province about 40 kilometers South of Pattaya. Bangkok Airways offers flights from Phuket and Koh Samui.