As one of the wettest cities in Thailand with the rainy season lasting 8 months of each year, our 3-day stay was no exception!
The rain ponchos got a good work-out in Thailand but especially in Ranong as it always seems to be raining…hard! So much so that I slipped on an unsuspecting left-over prawn in the seafood market. Luckily, I didn’t hurt anything as I’d hate to end up in a Thai hospital!
Ranong is a very different city to others in Thailand…it’s quiet! Ranong is known as a visa-run destination because of the border access via boat to Kawthoung in Myanmar. Predominantly, Burmese migrants cross the border to renew their visa. So, there seems to be a constant source of transients, which is not a bad thing, and does make things interesting. However, there are also more security bars on windows and broken glass cemented into high fences than other Thai towns/cities; people are either paranoid or there’s a lot of crime in Ranong.
After being spoilt in Khao Lak for 5 weeks in wonderful accommodation but also an abundance of multi-style accommodation on offer, Ranong was a little different. Not many ‘Falangs’ (foreigners) hang around Ranong for any length of time, but if you need some accommodation, Nalin Place offers a clean double room at around B477/night (no breakfast).
Good, quiet accommodation in a new’ish hotel with friendly staff. A few minutes’ walk from the bus terminal, close to the food street stalls, and a 10-minute walk to coffee shops and restaurants. The room also has a small balcony but as it’s so wet, especially during the current wet season, the balcony is wasted.
For the best coffee in town, visit the Together coffee shop on the main road. This coffee shop serves good Thai meals, cakes at good prices…even ham and cheese sandwiches if you need a break from Thai food. I love Thai food and can eat it at every meal. I’m addicted to chicken Congee for breakfast, which is a delicious rice porridge with small chicken mince balls, coriander, and served with a few side spices to make it as hot as you like.
The central markets sell mainly imported Burmese foods and clothing. You can also find fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables, fried foods, cakes, take-away rice and curry in bag. This is also a great place to take photos and watch the different interaction between the Thais and Burmese.
The seafood market seems to be where all the action is and starts at around 5 am (if you’re up), which is when the auction starts. Arrived too late and all the seafood was gone apart from a slippery stray prawn on the floor,auction tickets strewn across the market’s ground, and cleaners doing their daily magic.
The port itself is very interesting and lively and you can witness traditional seafaring life with local timber boats doubling up as water taxis but also laden fishing boats, plying through the river. Locals barter for rides across to the other side of the river or elsewhere, so lots of photo opportunities to be had.
Basically chilled out in Ranong and didn’t do much sight-seeing at all really. I really enjoyed the harbour with all the boats coming and going about their daily activities; it’s also a great place to take candid photos. As it was torrential rain so quite dull and flat for most of the Ranong stay, I found B&W (my Monochrome camera setting) to be best for shooting.
Apparently, there are two national parks (Ko Phayam National Park and Lamnam Kra Buri NP) and two waterfalls (Ngao Waterfalls and Ton Phet Waterfalls) within driving/riding distance of Ranong Town.
Ranong to Bangkok
If you’re not planning on crossing the border into Myanmar, the easiest way out of Ranong bound for Bangkok is by bus, which leaves at 08:30 or 20:00 every day and costs B466 (8-9 hrs). This includes a free sit down meal and afternoon tea (Sprite + cake) – excellent service on this bus and the seats weren’t too small for us foreigners!