Chumphon (ชุมพร) is a city and a province of the same name on the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. Like Surat Thani, most people only stay here in transit between Bangkok and destinations to the south, including the gulf islands.
Chumphon Province is in the upper part of Southern Thailand. It is the de facto gateway to the gulf islands.
The public bus service operates from two terminals. The main one is some 10 km out of town, and buses from Bangkok and most other places stop there. The other terminal is in town, and buses from there go to and from Hat Yai/Phuket/Ranong only. They stop at the distant terminal both coming and going.
The railway station is in the centre of town.
Various ferry companies operate ferries to, or within reach of Chumphon, and/or a bus service into the centre of town. For those in the gulf islands wishing to return to Bangkok, Chumphon is more direct than returning via Surat Thani.
Nok Air operates a daily flight between Bangkok (Don Mueang, DMK) and Chumphon airport (CJM).
There are many smaller roads with little traffic north and south of Chumphon. Chumphon has a modern bicycle shop where most parts and repairs can be made.
From Bangkok, take either the Phutthamonthon-Nakhon Pathom-Phetchaburi route or the Thonburi-Pak Tho route (Hwy 35) then turn onto Hwy 4 (Phetkasem Rd) at Pak Tho, passing through Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces before arriving at the Pathom Phon intersection. Take the left turn to go another 8 km into Chumphon via Hwy 4001.
The Transport Co. Ltd. provides air conditioned buses from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal, Borom Ratchonni Rd to Chumphon daily. For information, call Tel. +66 24 355605, +66 24 351199. For Chumphon’s Bus Terminal, Tha Taphao Rd, contact Tel. +66 77 502725, +66 77 511099.
Air conditioned buses from private operators:
- Chok Anant Tour Co., Ltd. Tel. +66 2 4355027, +66 2 4357429 (Bangkok), and Tel. +66 77 511480, +66 77 511757 (Chumphon)
- Suwannathi Tour Co., Ltd. Tel. +66 2 4355021, +66 2 4355026, +66 2 4355030 (Bangkok), and Tel. +66 77 51 1422, +66 77 501535, +66 77 511244 (Chumphon)
To get to and from these four bus terminals: a) The distant one: Several kilometres out of town in the middle of nowhere! This is the Southern Bus Terminal. Buses from Chokeanan Tour and Patchraporn Tour stop off in here, 16 km from Chumphon city, south along Hwy 41. To get into town from here, wait for a silver coloured minibus to turn up (ask at the bus station), and you will be taken into town for 50 baht, and dropped off any place you request.
You could also hire a taxi or, the cheapest option: turn left from Saladaeng Rd onto Prachauthit Rd and walk about 300 m. On the right is a 7-Eleven and on the left is the in-town bus station. Continue another 200 m to the intersection of Pinijkadee Rd on the right and walk along this for about 100 m. On the other side of the road are white songthaews which go regularly and stop at the bus station. Cost: 50 baht.
b) The bus terminal in-town: walk along Saladaeng Rd, away from the railway station road, with the Fame Guest House on your left, for about 300 m. Turn left into Prachauthid Rd and walk some 300 m and you will see a 7-Eleven on your right and a street opposite. On this street, which curves sharply left, there is a Yamaha dealer near the corner, and the bus terminal is immediately next to this.
c) The minibus terminal: This is on Krum Liang Rd (the cheap eats road, at the left end of which is the railway station). Turn right onto it off Saladeng Rd and walk about five minutes, looking up to your right. You will eventually see up an alley a series of minibuses which go regularly to Surat Thani and Hua Hin (every 45 minutes, these stop at Prachuat first). Allow 4 hours to get to Hua Hin as you have to change in Prachuap. Fares to Prachuap, 170 baht, and then on to Hua Hin, another 90 baht.
The State Railway of Thailand provides daily rapid and express train services departing from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Railway Station. Further information, call Tel. 1690, +66 2 2204334, +66 2 2204444 or Chumphon Railway Station at Tel +66 77 511103. For the Thonburi Railway Station (Bangkok Noi), there are ordinary and rapid trains leaving for Chumphon daily. For information, call Tel +66 2 4113102, +66 2 6218701 Ext. 8285106.
If coming from Hua Hin: the fare for the basic non-air conditioned train will cost 49 baht and take about 5 hours. An air conditioned two-carriage train leaves a little earlier and is much quicker but must be booked in advance. Train leaves at 11:30 (there are others though).
Local public buses (Route: Chumphon–Sawi–Lang Suan) park in front of the Chumphon market, Tha Taphao Rd from 06:00-18:00.
Motorbike taxis at railway station Taxis are available at the taxi stand which is opposite the Chumphon Bus Terminal. This is the terminal in town. From here buses go to Ranong, then Phuket (08:00, 10:00, 11:15). Pay on the bus. To Ranong 2.5 hours, and Phuket 7 hours (although the bus is usually an hour late arriving!) The bus goes first to the distant (10 km) terminal.
There are local songthaews but you need local knowledge as to where they are going. White and maybe red ones appear to go at some point to the distant bus terminal.
To orient yourself within the town: The railway station is on Krum Liang Rd. If arriving via train, leave via the ticket office onto the road and walk past the three old steam locomotives mounted on display. After 200 m is the intersection with Saladaeng Rd. Directly ahead on this same road is where the cheap eats are. Turn right into Saladaeng and this appears to be the main hotel strip. You will soon pass the Fame Guesthouse on your left, followed by Sri Chumpon (right), Suriwong (right) and Paradorn (left some 100 m along Soi 4).
- Ao Thung Makham (อ่าวทุ่งมะขาม). This place is divided into outer Ao Thung Makham and inner Ao Thung Makham. The bays look like a line of 2 semicircles. Roughly in the middle lies a peninsula. Where rocks, large and small, are scattered surround in a mysterious fashion. This peninsula serves as the bays divider. On the north side lies the inner Ao Thung Makham whose white sand beach stretches for 1 km lined with coconut trees. The distances of the inner and outer Ao Thung Makham from Chumphon city centre are 27 km and 31 km respectively using the same highways as going to Hat Sai Ri with the directions shown along the way.
- Hat Sai Ri (หาดทรายรี) (About 20 km along Hwy 4119 and 4098 with regular bus services from the town centre (take a songthaew from the square by the city pillar shrine)). This long smooth white sand and extensive beach is shaded by majestic pine trees and affords some spectacular views of nearby islands. Colourful boats lie berthed by the beach, which is lined with restaurants selling fresh seafood. For historical interest, a monument commemorating the late Admiral Prince of Chumphon is located nearby, complete with a well-preserved WWII warship. A hillside temple at the site offers a panoramic view of the entire area.
- Khao Chao Mueang (เขาเจ้าเมือง) (About 2.4 km from Hat Sai Ri). The district’s highest observation point offering panoramic views of the coast and far out into the distant archipelago. Are rivalled only by the peace and tranquillity offered by the secluded beach located at the base of the mountain, along with the beautiful coral lagoon fronting Ko Maprao.
- Khao Phang Forest Park (วนอุทยานเขาพาง) (About 12 km south of the town, at km493 on Hwy 4). Khao Phang Forest Park is one of the province’s newest attractions. Within the national park, there are a great variety of tropical trees, making the park a shady and restful sojourn for nature lovers and a must for students of forestry. A hill, covering an area of about one square kilometre, is located behind the park providing a commanding view of the entire area.
- Ko Samet (เกาะเสม็ด) (Departures from Moo 1, Pak Nam, about 8 km from Chumphon. To get there, first, take a bus along Hwy 4119 (Chumphon-Pak Nam), about 17 km. Then take the boat for 30 minutes to get there). Not the better-known Ko Samet off the east gulf coast near Rayong. One of a group of islands in Chumphon National Marine Park. There are beaches at the head, and the middle of this island. It is Chumphon's largest island. This island is crowned with coconut trees making it a suitable place for spending holidays and relaxation.
- Mo Ku Chumphon National Park (National Park Visitors Centre), towards Hat Sai Ri (Take local bus near PO or see local travel agent). Take the wooden bus to the fairly new and surprisingly modern visitors centre. Walk the boardwalks through the mangrove forests and over creeks. Ask at centre for other walks available. The actual national park area of Chumphon Province is huge and takes in islands, reefs, beaches, jungle, mountain, creeks, ocean, and mangroves. You can stay overnight here. There's a camping area, and bungalows on the Pong Pang Viewpoint go for 600 baht per night, and accommodate 2 people. Add 100 baht for each extra person. Dorm beds, with no bedding for 50 baht. There are also two restaurants. A good place to visit to make the best of your stay in Chumphon. 200 baht.
- The National Museum of Chumphon (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติชุมพร), ☎ +66 77 504105/4246. W-Su, 09:00–16:00. Any trip to Chumphon should start at the national museum. Established in 1995 at Khao Samkaew, the museum provides a provincial overview ranging from prehistory through to the present. Even for those who are not overly interested in history, the museum's attractive displays and media resources will fascinate and inform. The museum is divided into a ground floor and the upper floor.
- Prince of Chumphon Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อกรมหลวงชุมพร), Moo 7 Hat Sai Ri (20 km from Chumphon city centre, on Hwy 4119 and 4098). This is a sacred place for the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces. At the shrine stands the monument of Admiral Phra Borommawong Thoe Kromluang Chumphon Khet Udomsak. The shrine is at the north site of Hat Sai Ri facing towards the sea. There is a museum with exhibits about the admiral’s biography and things which he used. A large torpedo-ship named the Royal Chumphon is also here. It is 68 m long and 6.6 m wide. This ship was decommissioned on 26 Nov 1975. The Royal Thai Navy turned the ship over to Chumphon Province in 1979. After that it was placed near this monument for the commemoration of the admiral.
- Thung Wua Laen (15 km north of Chumphon). White sand beach and plenty of fresh air, great weather, gulf waters, and verdant forests. Activities like diving, snorkelling, kayaking, kite surfing, beach sports, temple visits. Or simply relaxing and enjoying the moment.
- Wat Chao Fa Sala Loi (วัดเจ้าฟ้าศาลาลอย) (About 8 km from town on the Chumphon–Ao Thung Wua Laen Rd. To get there travel along an asphalt road for 6 km and continue the journey along a brick road for another 2 km). At this temple lived Luang Pho Song Chanthasaro, a famous religious teacher who passed away at the age of nearly 100 years and his body still remains undecayed. This monk is revered by the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces.
- Day and early evening market, Thatapao Rd (From Farang Bar turn right, it's maybe 100 m). Good selection of lunches, fruit, and other produce. In the evening the locals come here for a snack and for takeaways. Some local desserts available too, look for the durian pieces in soy milk. Delicious!
- Farang Bar, 69/36 Thatapao Rd, ☎ . English owned. Good for Western food great Thai food too. Farang Bar is also a basic guest house with 200 baht rooms, shared baths, and free Wi-Fi. The bar and restaurant get a steady stream of local expats as well as plenty of tourists on their way to the islands. The staff speak a fair amount of English. The offerings include extremely cold beer and amazing cocktails, excellent Western and Thai food. Ivor (the farang) can also provide advice regarding Ko Tao and arrange bookings for you if needed (i.e., he calls and reserves. He does not sell you tickets, unless you want him to).
- Morning Market, Pracha Uthit Rd through to Poramin Manka Rd. Bustling early morning market, also has curry stalls and local prices are usually asked. There are often light trucks outside on Pracha Uthit Rd piled high with seasonal fruits such as pineapple, rambutan, and durian.
- Night market, Krom Luang Rd (Walk straight out from the rail station, past the vintage rail locomotives, and cross the intersection). The locals flock here in the evening to show off their pet dogs in the front basket of their motorcycles, to eat, and to collect takeaways. Massive selection of foods to choose from in a compact area. More expensive than the other markets but also more fun. Stalls with seasonal durian (whole or ready-to-eat) are on the right-hand side furthest from the rail station.
- Papa's Night Club (Opposite train station on right corner). 21:30-01:30. Good bands, DJ, and dancers. No cover charges. Can take your own spirits. 200 baht plus mixers.
- Fame Guest House, 188/20-21 Saladang Rd (Front of Saladang Soi 6 200 m from Chumphon train station), ☎ . Check-out: 11:00. Clean 10 room fan-only guest house. There are 3 basic rooms, 1 bed, shared outside bath, 150 baht. One double room outside bath, 200 baht. Six double rooms with bath and hot shower, 300 baht. You can book transfers to Ko Tao or anywhere south of Chumphon. To Ko Tao will cost you 600 baht. Has a restaurant and bar with Thai and Western food and fresh bread from the oven every day. Fried chicken with ginger and fried mixed vegetables at 70 baht each. Seafood will cost 80 baht. Large bottle of Chang beer 100 baht. Internet available. Car and motorbike rentals available. 150-300 baht.
- Paradorn Hotel, Soi 4, Saladaeng Rd. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. This hotel has air-con. Breakfast (Western or Thai) is included in the price and is good. Rooms are good and clean, there is a lift, and staff speak some English. Is close to both the railway station (some 400 m) and the internal bus station (similar distance). 550 baht.
- Santavee New Rest House, 4 Thatapao Rd (Next to Suda’s,; 2nd entrance at Saladaeng Soi 3, the Bangkok Bank lane), ☎ . Run by a very friendly and welcoming family. Clean rooms, lovely garden, bicycle and motorbike hire, helpful with local directions. Most spacious fan room 250 baht, other rooms cheaper.
- Suda's Guesthouse, 8 Thatapao Rd, ☎ . Friendly owners, but might try to sell you something. Twin room with fan 250 baht, with air-con 350 baht.
- Suriwong Chumphon Hotel, 125/30, Thatapao Rd. Looks clean but had several cockroaches in bathroom. Staff are young, poorly trained and fairly clueless. They do have a free in-room Wi-Fi.
- Suriya Hotel, Salandaeng Rd. Check-out: 12:00. Cheap hotel. Rooms are big and nice, little dusty. Asian toilet. Get an free bottle of water when checking in. 190 baht for an single room with double bed (fan). 280 baht for a twin room (fan).
- Ko Tao - Known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand, its turquoise water is crystalline, coconut plantations cover much of the landscape and many beaches are easily accessible by paved road.
- There are several transportation options from Chumphon:
- Ko Charoen Car Ferry Co., Ltd. - Boat leaves from Tha Yang Pier M-W-F at 23:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 17:00. From Ko Tao, a boat departs for Chumphon on Tu-Th-Sa. It arrives Tha Yang Pier at 17:00. The fare is 250 baht. For information, contact tel. +66 77 580030, +66 81 7970276.
- Rua Reo Lom Phraya Co., Ltd. - Boat leaves from Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 19:00 and 13:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 20:30 and 14:30. From Ko Tao boat departs for Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 22:00 and 15:00. It arrives at 23:30 and 16:30.
- Songserm Rung Rueang Co., Ltd. - Boat leaves from Tha Yang Pier daily at 19:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 22:00. From Ko Tao, the departure time for Chumphon is 14:30 and arrival is at 17:30. For information, contact Tel. +66 2 2807897, +66 77 456274.
|Routes through Chumphon|
|Bangkok ← Ban Krut ←||N S||→ Lang Suan → Butterworth|
|Bangkok ← Ban Krut ←||N S||→ Ranong → Sadao|