Chumphon (ชุมพร) is a city and a province of the same name on the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. With the re opening of Chumphon Airport in Pathio District, Chumphon is the new gateway to the south and the islands of the Gulf of Thailand.
Chumphon Province is in the upper part of Southern Thailand. It is a gateway to the popular Gulf of Thailand islands of Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, Ko Tao, and Ko Khai. The province is symbolised by the Banyan tree often referred to as sacred in both Hindu and Buddhist teachings.
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.
Chumphon Airport (IATA: CJM, ICAO: VTSE) is 30 km north of Chumphon City in Pathio District (alternative spelling, Pathiu). It has direct daily flights connections with Bangkok's Don Meueng Airport - (DMK). Flights from Bangkok are around 50 minutes.
Nok Air operates multiple flights between Bangkok (Don Mueang, DMK) and Chumphon Airport, Pathio District, Chumphon (CJM). From October 2015 flights there are two daily using 86-seat Q400 NextGen aircraft.
The airport has transit agents for onward travel to Chumphon and the islands including Ko Tao and Ko Samui.
- Chumphon Coffee and Gift Shop adjacent to departure gates offers lattes, cappuccino, and fruit smoothies.
- Fame Tours and Services have a counter at arrivals hall offering transfer and hotel services.
- Lomprayah has an counter at the airport offering direct connections to the pier for high speed catamaran transfer services Ko Tao, Ko Phangan and onwards to Ko Samui. Songserm also have boats connections to the islands. In Q3 2016 the Lomprayah catamaran service will move right next to the airport at its new private pier, Cape Pathiu, Chumko, Pathiu reducing transit times by several hours.
- The TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand), Chumphon has a tourism information counter offering information on the region adjacent to the airline counters.
There are many smaller roads with little traffic north and south of Chumphon. The coastal road in Pathio District has dedicated bicycle lanes in a unique red bitumen. Chumphon has a bicycle shops 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).
- 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.
- 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). Luang Pho Song Chanthasaro, a famous religious teacher who passed away at the age of nearly 100 years, lived at this temple. His body still remains undecayed. This monk is revered by the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces.
Pathio Coast and Beaches (Near Chumphon Airport)
- Ao Bo Mao Beach (Spring Tree Bay), Pathio District (30 km N of Chumphon City; 1 km from Chumphon Airport). A long white sand beach in Pathio near Chumphon Airport. From the beach you can rent boats to nearby the island of Ko Khai or simply relax and enjoy the moment. The beach has small resorts and seafood restaurants, but remains charming, quiet, and unspoiled with views to the headlands of Cape Pathio and Laem Thaen.
- Ao Thung Makham (อ่าวทุ่งมะขาม), Pathio District. Amazing unspoiled white sand beaches with limestone rock formations separating the curved bays. About 5 km from Chumphon Airport and 35 km from Chumphon City.
- 1 Coral Beach, Chumko, Pathio. A crescent-shaped, palm-fringed beach with large rocky headlands, it is one of the most beautiful in Thailand and is part of a giant clam sanctuary. Unknown to most tourists, this beach is quiet and often you may be the only ones there. About 15 minutes by car from Chumphon Airport.
- Thung Wua Laen (Running Bull Beach), Pathio District (15 km north of Chumphon in Pathio, 10 km from Chumphon Airport). This white sand beach is the Chumphon's key beach destination. Activities include diving, snorkelling, kayaking, kite surfing, beach sports, temple visits. The beach has numerous resorts, restaurants and beach bars but remains charming, quiet, and relatively unspoiled.
Chumphon City and surrounding areas
- Mo Ku Chumphon National Park (National Park Visitors Centre), towards Hat Sai Ri (Take local bus from near post office 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 part of the Chumphon Archipelago in 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.
- 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 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 min 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.
Pathio Beaches (Near Chumphon Airport)
- Krua Lung Pod (Uncle Pod Restaurant) (Ao Bo Mao Beach, Spring Tree Bay, on the beach, 1.5 km from airport), ☎ . Thai seafood restaurant on the beach. Sit in open sala facing Ko Khai. Extensive range of food with English menu.
- 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 250 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.
Pathio Beaches (Near Chumphon Airport)
- Blij Fah Resort, 86/1 Moo 1, Bormao Road, Chum Kho (About 3 km from Chumphon Airport), ☎ . Renovated colorful beach-style bungalows near Ao Bo Mao Beach. 500 baht.
- 1 Had Suay Resort, Ao Bo Mao Beach, Pathio, Chumphon (1.5 km from Chumphon Airport), ☎ . Basic modern, clean bungalows on the beach with individual balconies. Air-con, cable TV. Views of the long sand beach bay and Ko Khai. No restaurant. Free pickup from nearby airport. 400-600 baht.
- Rain Rim Had Guest House, Ao Bo Mao Beach, Pathio (About 2 km from Chumphon Airport), ☎ . Beach bungalows.
- 2 Reuan Cha Mao, Ao Bo Mao Beach, Pathio (About 1 km from Chumphon Airport), ☎ . Bungalows and restaurant on the beach. Basic two room accommodation with air-con, hot showers and cable TV. Beach restaurant in a timber pavilion serves seafood and fresh local produce. Popular with local visitors from Chumphon on weekends. 500 baht.
- 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 costs 600 baht. Has a restaurant and bar with Thai and Western food, and fresh bread every day. Fried chicken with ginger and fried mixed vegetables at 70 baht each. Seafood costs 80 baht. Large bottle of Chang beer 100 baht. Internet available. Car and motorbike rentals available. Jan 2016: No Wi-Fi in the rooms themselves. 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. Staff are young, poorly trained, and fairly clueless. Free in-room Wi-Fi.
- Suriya Hotel, Salandaeng Rd. Check-out: 12:00. Cheap hotel. Rooms are big and nice, little dusty. Asian toilet. Free bottle of water at check in. 190 baht for an single room with double bed (fan). 280 baht for a twin room (fan).
- Tanisa Resort, ☎ . , Not in city centre, but acceptable given the good price. Book directly on their website as hotel booking sites are much more expensive. High standard with comfortable beds, separate WC and bath, air-con, fridge, desk, plasma screens with USB connection. Internet. 550+ baht.
- 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 - Boat leaves from Tha Yang Pier M-W-F at 23:00 and arrives Ko Tao at 5:00. From Ko Tao, a boat departs for Chumphon on Tu-Th-Sa. It arrives Tha Yang Pier at 5:00. The fare is 250 baht. For information, contact tel. +66 77 580030, +66 81 7970276.
- Lomphraya Ferry - 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 Ferry - 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|