This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (January 2015)
Map of Thailand highlighting Rayong Province
|• Governor||Surasak Charoensirichot (since October 2016)|
|• Total||3,552 km2 (1,371 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 57th|
|• Rank||Ranked 45th|
|• Density||190/km2 (490/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||Ranked 25th|
|Time zone||ICT (UTC+7)|
|ISO 3166 code||TH-21|
Rayong Province (Thai: ระยอง, pronounced [rā.jɔ̄ːŋ]; Chong: ราย็อง) is a province (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from west clockwise) Chonburi, and Chanthaburi. To the south is the Gulf of Thailand.
King Taksin (of Thailand) came to Rayong after the fall of Ayutthaya. During a short stay in Rayong he built a navy, and then went on to Chantaburi to assemble forces to fight back against the Burmese. There is a shrine in Rayong where local people pay respects to Taksin.
Although the north is hilly, the province consists mostly of low coastal plains. Several islands in the Gulf of Thailand belong to the province, including the popular tourist destinations, Ko Samet, Ko Mun, and Ko Khod.
The Shrine of King Taksin the Great (ศาลสมเด็จพระเจ้าตากสิน) Folklore says that King Taksin tied his elephant to a tree while leading the troops to Chanthaburi to retrieve the Kingdom of Siam from Burmese occupation. The shrine houses a statue of the king.
Wat Pa Pradu (วัดป่าประดู่) This ancient temple dates back to the Ayutthaya period. The wihan houses a large reclining Buddha image, 11.95 metres long and 3.6 metres high. Unusually, the reclining Buddha image lies on its left-hand side.
Dhammarachanusornsatan (ธรรมราชานุสรณ์สถาน)] At Kaochamao Rayong, shrine buildings house statues such as a statue of Somdej Phra Putthajarn Tho Phromrangsi, the famous Buddhist priest of the Rattanakosin Age, and King Rama V. There is a coin and antiques museum.
Wat Ban Don Shadow Play Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์หนังใหญ่วัดบ้านดอน) exhibits 100 Nang Yai shadow-play characters, or Nang Yai, which is a large piece of leather carved and painted into different characters.
Phra Chedi Klang Nam (พระเจดีย์กลางน้ำ) In the middle of the Rayong River, two km south of downtown near the mouth of the river, there is a pagoda on an island. It is a landmark for the crews sailing in the river to indicate that they are reaching Rayong Province. On the full moon day of the twelfth lunar month, a celebration is held to change the robe covering the pagoda.
Si Mueang Park (สวนศรีเมือง) This place was once used for the execution of prisoners. Now it has been rebuilt as a public park. At the front of the park is a famous Buddha image of Rayong, Phra Phuttha Angkhirot.
Sopha Botanical Park (สวนพฤกษชาติโสภา) This 32-rai park is lush with many kinds of trees, particularly Thai. In the compound, three traditional Thai houses on stilts, nearly 100 years old, exhibit ceramics from various periods as well as prehistoric pottery from Ban Chiang World Heritage Site.
Khao Laem Ya - Mu Ko Samet National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาแหลมหญ้า-หมู่เกาะเสม็ด) The park totals an area of 81,875 rai including land, sea, and islands. Its major attractions include Mae Ramphueng Beach, Khao Laem Ya, and Samet Archipelago.
Ko Samet (เกาะเสม็ด) Some people believe that this is the miracle island in Thai classical literature by Sunthon Phu. Ko Samet is a famous beach attraction of Rayong. One of the beaches is Ao Wong Duean in the middle of the east side. This beach forms an almost-complete circle.
Ko Thalu (เกาะทะลุ) The island is a scuba diving site among coral reefs. The island totals an area of 69 rai, and most remains lush forest. While high cliffs occupy the west, white sandy beaches occupy the east and south of the island.
Laem Mae Phim (แหลมแม่พิมพ์) Without large waves, the beach is nice for swimming. Restaurants and bungalows dot the beach. Laem Mae Phim is 48 km from Rayong town.
Sunthon Phu Monument (อนุสาวรีย์สุนทรภู่) The monument was built to commemorate Sunthon Phu, a leading poet in the early Rattanakosin era, two centuries ago. There are statues of Sunthon Phu and characters from his famous literature.
Wat Saranat Thammaram (วัดสารนารถธรรมาราม) houses a Buddha image imitating the Phra Phuttha Chinnarat in Phitsanulok Province. Four major pagodas surround the ubosot. They include Phra Pathom Chedi, Phrathat Phanom, a replica of Bodh Gaya, and Phrathat Chaiya.
Ko Man Nai (เกาะมันใน) This island is the location of the turtle conservation station initiated by the queen, protecting the breeding of hawksbill and olive turtles.
Supattra Land Orchard (สวนสุภัทรา) The orchard is open for the public to view its fruit, durian, rambutan, mango, grape, star fruit, and longan.
Khao Chamao - Khao Wong National Park: (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาชะเมา – เขาวง) This lush forest with a great variety of flora and fauna is the watershed of the Prasae River.
- Namtok Khao Chamao or Namtok Khlong Nam Sai (น้ำตกเขาชะเมา หรือน้ำตกคลองน้ำใส) The waterfall cascades down seven levels, stretching for three km. The large pond called Wang Matcha, is a habitat of brook carp.
- Pha Sawan (ผาสวรรค์) The viewpoint is 1.5 km from the national park headquarters.
- Namtok Khlong Pla Kang (น้ำตกคลองปลาก้าง) The waterfall is three km from the headquarters. Ferns and orchids grow well in this lush forest.
- Namtok Khlong Hin Phoeng (น้ำตกคลองหินเพิง) The small waterfall is in Chanthaburi Province, ten km from the headquarters. Water runs all year round.
Khao Wong (เขาวง) Many limestone mountains surround a flat plain. The mountains have a total of 80 caves inside.
Krommaluang Chumphon Shrine (ศาลสมเด็จกรมหลวงชุมพร) The shrine houses the statue of Krommaluang Chumphonkhetudomsak, founder of Thailand's modern navy.
Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herbal Park (สวนสมุนไพรสมเด็จพระเทพรัตนราชสุดาฯ สยามบรมราชกุมารี) The park grows various kinds of herbs and also conducts research.
Fruit (ผลไม้) During May and June, orchards in Rayong produce durian, rambutan, mangosteen, etc.
Products from sedge mat (ผลิตภัณฑ์เสื่อกก) The in-house industry of Tambon Kram, Amphoe Klaen has quality products.
Crystal products (ผลิตภัณฑ์เครื่องแก้วคริสตัล) The crystal factory in Amphoe Pluak Daeng, produces export-quality crystal works by Thai skilled labour.
Rayong Fruit Festival (งานเทศกาลผลไม้และของดีเมืองระยอง) In May of each year Rayong's fruit reaches its peak season. The venue changes between Mueang and Klaeng districts. This festival occurs at Tapong market area in Mueang district in May–July for about one week. Rayong Fruit festival has a lot of activities such as musical performances, fruit eating competitions, poetry readings and heritage exhibitions. Vendors sell OTOP products from Rayong and popular fruits such as durian, rambutan, and mangosteen. This festival has special shows such as the fruit parade and The Miss Fruit Gardener contest.
Sunthon Phu Day (งานวันสุนทรภู่) This is held on 26 June of each year at Sunthon Phu Monument, Klaeng district, to honour the great poet.
Changing the robe for Phra Chedi Klang Nam (งานห่มผ้าพระเจดีย์กลางน้ำ) The annual event is held during the full moon night of the 12th lunar month, or in November. The robe blanketing the pagoda in the middle of the Rayong River, in Mueang district, will be changed. People celebrate the event along with the Loi Krathong Festival with boat racing and local entertainment.
Thot Pha Pa Klang Nam (Waterborne Robe Offering Ceremony) (งานทอดผ้าป่ากลางน้ำ) During the Loi Krathong Festival of each year, or on the full moon night of November, people living near the mouth of the Prasae River prepare a monk's robe at the pier. After completing the ceremony on the boat, a monk will come to get it. Normally, the robe-offering ceremony is held at the temple. This special tradition has been celebrated for over a century.
- องค์ บรรจุน. สยามหลากเผ่าหลายพันธุ์. กรุงเทพฯ:มติชน, 2553, หน้า 128 (in Thai)