The Eastern gulf of Thailand is divided into three main areas, across to the border with Cambodia.
Eastern Gulf – The closest beach resorts to Bangkok, this region is an absolute tourist magnet. Its most popular destinations include Pattaya and Koh Samet, but there are also some undiscovered beaches and islands.
Inner Eastern – A mountainous area off the beaten track, often ventured through on the way to Cambodia. It can also be used as a base for Khao Yai National Park.
Trat Province – The much-loved Koh Chang Archipelago, a popular island destination for beaches, palm trees and fishing villages. Some lesser known islands include Koh Mak and Koh Kut.
Cities of the Eastern Region
Aranyaprathet — border town and the way to Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Chachoengsao — some nice markets and temples
Chanthaburi — interesting waterfalls
Chonburi — important industrial town
Pattaya — city known for bars and partying
Prachinburi — closest town to Khao Yai National Park
Rayong — capital of the province of the same name
Si Racha — known for a spicy sauce and seafood
Trat — the gateway to the Koh Chang Archipelago
While Pattaya is the original mass tourism destination, the islands of Koh Samet and Koh Chang also turned into popular beach destinations. On the other hand, the islands at the eastern tip of the region, until recently very difficult to get to, are some of the most scenic and untouched in the country. This area is a must to visit – the eastern gulf of Thailand has been a quieter tourist area, except for Pattaya and the 2 islands of Koh Samet and Koh Chang.
The vast majority of budget travellers find themselves in this part of Thailand for one of three reasons: the island of Koh Samet, the Koh Chang archipelago off the coast of Trat, or the border crossing with Cambodia at Hat Lek/Koh Kong. All three of these are fine reasons to be in the area, but as is often the case, there’s more to see and do than just that.
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