A week in Rayong, Koh Samet and Bangkok, Thailand
Politics is so unpredictable, news of the August 2016 Thailand referendum endorsing constitutional changes said would bring a more stable environment there, but it seems to be wrong as it was answered by several bomb attacks in southern parts of Thailand, including Hua Hin where we’ve booked for a trip in September. Seeking places with seemingly more stable political environment, we changed our plan moving north and east of Bangkok and just spent a week near Rayong, Koh Samet (which is about an hour south-east of Pattaya) before spending a couple of days in Bangkok. Below is a brief account of this relaxing trip…
Thailand remains an attractive place to (re)visit despite most have been there many times previously, I think it’s due to:
- the Thai culture and the people there has the best service attitude, you’d always be greeted with a smile every where, every time (stranger, customer or not),
- it’s cheap or value for money – flights as there are so many competitions from mainstream or budget airlines (one can easily get a return direct flight for less than HK$1.5k), 4 star convenient hotels in Bangkok start from just HK$400 or so, Thai food and virtually any cuisine there are not expensive (compared to HK standard), with plenty good ones to choose from; SIM cards with unlimited data, Bh100 of local call time for 7 days is only HK$51, a 3 hr long journey taxi would cost only Bh2,000 (HK$450). To and from Rayong this time, I used and recommend P.T. Taxi Service Pattaya for pre-booked private taxi service to the Pattaya, Rayong area (reliable, nice clean car and good prompt driver, very good price too). ….
- lots of sun and beaches over the country
- wide range of good value massage and spas, night markets
- shopping! I visit Bangkok once every one or two years in the past decade or so, and almost every time, there’d be new shopping malls and/or night markets recently opened.
Day 1 -2 After the 3 hr or so flight and getting some local baht from the airport ATM, we’re greeted by our pre-booked taxi driver with my name plate and zoomed straight away to our beach front Novotel Rim Pae Rayong Klaeng resort, the 230km journey only took us 2.5 hrs at night time as traffic was light and the roads very good (dual carriageway for most part). We spent the next day just exploring the resort, beach, and visit the resort spa, it’s low season and we have the pool and beach almost all to ourselves. The resort is not near to a busy town (about 15 min away by car), but the food there is good, there’re also 2 neighbouring local restaurants – Jim directly opposite the front entrance, and the Pols along the beach to the right. Jim offers all meals from breakfast, as well as booking of local tours, Pols’ good for Thai and seafood dinner.
Day 3 -4 We went for a couple of local tours to the fruit land – Suphattraland, see my review here , we have a great all local fruit and greens brunch there (all you can eat), did some shopping at the Rayong Big C and Central Plaza Rayong, visited a mangrove preservation area for a nice 5 km sunset walk along the wooden broadwalk, it’s called Tung Prong Thong. There’re no flies and only few mosquitos during our whole Thailand trip.
Day 5- 6 A day at Koh Samet island, we booked a very nice beach front cottage in a BnB which seems to have the best of both worlds – a quaint quiet nice BnB with full access and use of the pool and Sai Kaew Beach of the neighbour 5 star hotel. See my review Supparod BnB. We ate at these 2 restaurants which were quite good – The Perfect Dough (excellent pizzas- highly recommended), and Red Ginger.
Day 7-8 Two days and nights in Bangkok, staying at the new near 5-Star Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 hotel along Soi 20 near Asoke (our favorite place in Bangkok). We visited the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre (BACC), have tea and our caricature portrait done by a local artist, prayed in a nearby Buddhist temple on Sept 9th, strolled through the recently revamped Siam Discovery, shopped at the new and huge Emporium and EmQuartier shopping complexes flanking the two sides of the Phrom Phong BTS Station, and have a nice good value French dinner at C’est Bon (near Chit Lom). But Bangkok’s road traffic has never improved!