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Features 3 minutes 04 September 2019

Culinary Adventures in Rayong: On the Seafood Trail

As one of Thailand’s biggest seafood producers, Rayong has only the best from the ocean’s bounty to offer visitors.

Just two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Bangkok, the province of Rayong is both a popular beach destination for the locals and one of Thailand’s premier seafood capitals. It’s a prime location for providing fresh, dried and canned products to the rest of the country. Connected to the Gulf of Thailand, Rayong benefits from long stretches of tree-lined coasts and access to several islands. The closest airport is the U-Tapao Rayong Pattaya International Airport, though the easiest way to reach the province from Bangkok is by private car or minivan.

The first thing most visitors usually see when arriving in Rayong is Sri Ban Phe Pier, the transport hub for connections to other parts of Thailand. From here, visitors can also grab a ferry to the resort island of Samet (Ko Samet). However, a little further down the main road from the ferry terminal, you’ll find Kang Ban Phe. While it may seem like a normal noodle shop on the outside, this local favourite is famous for using the native Thai mantis shrimp as a key ingredient in its menu. Recommended dishes include Bami Nam Sai Kang (egg noodles with mantis shrimp), Bami Tom Yum Kang (egg noodles with mantis shrimp in hot and sour spicy soup), and Khao Phat Phrik Kluea Kang (mantis shrimp with fried rice and seafood dip).

Kang Ban Phe. Photo Credit Kang Ban Phe
Kang Ban Phe. Photo Credit Kang Ban Phe

The nearby Ban Phe Market offers a wide selection of seafood, both fresh and dried. It’s a lovely place to watch the locals going about their daily lives. If you’re in the mood for some shopping, key ingredients to take home as souvenirs are krill paste (kapi), dried seafood (fish, shrimp, squid and clams) as well as fresh and dried fruits from Rayong’s many tropical fruit orchards. Ban Phe Market is open every day from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Seafood at Ban Phae Market. Photo Credit TAT
Seafood at Ban Phae Market. Photo Credit TAT

For an extremely local experience, Laem Mae Phim (Mae Phim Beach) and the connecting Suan Son Beach are lined with seaside restaurants that specialise in cooking daily catches hauled in by the local fishermen. Resembling shacks on the beach, these open-air venues have tables right on the sand with a view of the ocean. Simple but charming, they’ll cook up some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. Most spots will have their seafood - often times alive - on display market-style for selection. Quick cooking methods like steaming, charcoal grilling or stir-frying can be chosen according to the diner’s preference, and guests can ask the kitchen to make more complicated dishes; such as, seafood soups, seafood steamed with garlic and lime, or deep fried with garlic and pepper, all depending on what’s in season.

Of course, Rayong is also a city that has seen much development in recent years. Several international chains and luxury hotels have opened up with fine dining outlets that make good use of the abundant local seafood, combining both Thai and European cooking techniques. Elementi Rooftop Grill & Bar at the Holiday Inn & Suites Rayong City Centre boast the highest rooftop view in Rayong, along with carefully crafted Italian seafood dishes. For a beachside meal, Fish Bar at the Rayong Marriott Resort & Spa offers a grilled-to-order and authentic Thai menu in a relaxing setting.

Elementi Gamberi Tigre Alla Griglia
Elementi Gamberi Tigre Alla Griglia

In-between finding the best seafood in town, there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied. Rayong has a mangrove forest flourishing right in the middle of the city. The Chedi Klang Nam Mangrove Forest, also known as the Sky View Tower and Mangrove Research Centre, allows visitors to walk on elevated wooden piers where they can see indigenous wildlife up close. Alternatively, the Sky View Tower gives a bird’s-eye perspective of the surrounding wetlands. If you’re looking for a hands-on adventure, local squid fishing experiences are provided by several tour operators in the area. The squid boats leave at night illuminated by green floodlights to attract their catch. Finally, families may enjoy a tour through one of the many provincial fruit orchards. From April to the end of July, dozens of fruit orchards in Rayong participate in “fruit buffets” for guests to eat local Thai fruits to their heart’s content.

Fruits Orchard Tour. Photo credit TAT
Fruits Orchard Tour. Photo credit TAT

Rayong’s beautiful beaches and the close proximity of attractions make it an ideal destination for a weekend trip from the capital city. With so much to taste and experience, you’ll come back not only reinvigorated, but also with a full stomach.

This article is brought to you by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. To learn more about the Tourism Authority of Thailand, please visit https://www.tourismthailand.org/

More information:
TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND, Rayong office
153/4 Mu. 12 Sukhumvit Road, Tambon Taphong, Amphoe Mueang, Rayong 21000
Telephone : +66 3865 5420-1
Email : tatryong@tat.or.th
Website : http://www.tat-rayong.com , http://www.tat-chanthaburi.com

Addresses:
Chedi Klang Nam Mangrove Forest
Riepjaifang Road, Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe Mueang Rayong 21000
Tel. +66 066 062 3789
www.facebook.com/mangroveinrayong/

Elementi Rooftop Grill & Bar
Holiday Inn & Suites Rayong City Centre
554/5 Sukhumvit Road, Tambon Noen Phra, Amphoe Mueang Rayong 21000
Tel. +66 038 978 789
www.facebook.com/ElementiRayong/

Fruit Orchards in Rayong with Fruit Buffets
For more information please visit this link ( www.tatnews.org/2018/04/rayong-fruit-festival-2018-returns-1-5-june-but-fruit-buffets-at-orchards-are-now-open/)

Kang Ban Phe
3145, Tambon Phe, Amphoe Mueang Rayong 21160
Tel. +66 038 651 150
www.facebook.com/kangbanphe/

Rayong Marriott Resort & Spa
9/5 Mu 2 Pae-Klaeng-Kram Road, Tambon Chak Pong, Amphoe Klaeng Rayong 21190
Tel. +66 038 998 000
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bkkrr-rayong-marriott-resort-and-spa/

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