What to do in Chonburi [Thailand]?

My partner (umop ap!sdn) and I will be going to Chonburi, Thailand in a few months. Do any of you have suggestions on day trips, interesting things to see in the town, or attractions outside the town? 'Specially things we shouldn’t miss, or things we might not get told about.

Also does anyone know whether there is a school for the deaf in Thailand, and if so where? (Perhaps that should be in a different thread?)

Since the OP is asking for advice, moving to IMHO from GQ. Also edited title.

General Questions Moderator

We took a weekend trip there once to Rayong and also went out to Koh Samet. Neither is that special, but they are nice places on the water (Koh = Island in Thai).

How long will you be there and what’s the purpose of your trip?

As far as Deaf Schools, I really don’t have a clue. One does tend to see deaf persons in Bangkok working as street vendors. Thailand does not have a social support network like western countries, so I would guess that any schools for the deaf are in Bangkok or north in Chiang Mai. May also be something in the other expat areas like Pattaya (not far from Chonburi) and Phuket.

ETA: I assume you mean Chonburi (town) and not Muang Chonburi (province). Pattaya is in Chonburi province. Also found a school for orphaned and deaf children in Pattaya - The Pattaya Deaf School. There are several links for this, it seems to get support from the UK.

Cool! Thank you! In answer to your question: we will be there for a month and the purpose of the trip is medical (surgical). Weekend trips are probably out of the question, but shorter trips or day trips may be okay. And, yes, I did mean Chonburi the town, but isn’t it in Muang Chonburi? I can see I have a lot to learn! :slight_smile:

I’ll be there getting a long awaited procedure done. For the curious, a search on threads I started several years back would turn up why. :slight_smile: :smiley: :slight_smile: :smiley: :slight_smile:

Suffice it to say sitting for extended periods of time will pretty much be impossible…

Paging Siam Sam

There is Chonburi province, and there is it’s capital, Chonburi town. I can’t imagine you, or anyone else, would want to stay in Chonburi town. It’s not even on the coast. There’s simply nothing to do or see there. It’s a stop on coastal highway to the Cambodian border or to change buses for Pattaya if you’ve not taken a direct bus for some reason. Most people go to the province for the seaside “resort” of Pattaya, which IMHO, is the asshole of the universe. (Well, Poipet, Cambodia probably wins that title, actually.) It is SO sleazy that even I avoid it. It is not only hooker central, but also Sodom and Gomorrah, it is everyone’s crudest idea of Thailand brought to life. The water off the coast is incredibly filthy too, from all the sludge and sewage pumped into it, so you can’t even go swimming without a good chance of catching a weird skin disease, or worse.

I always say there is no reason to go to Pattaya unless you want to fuck a whore – pardon my bluntness – but still I know people who take their families there. I know one Englishman in particular who takes his Thai wife and their three children as regular as clockwork, and I can never understand what they get out of the place. I sure hope they stick to the hotel pool!

Now also in Chonburi province, a bit to to the north of Pattaya, is Bang Saen. It is a much nicer beach town, albeit very low key. At least, it was much nicer 21 years ago, the last time I stayed there! It’s one of those places everyone here has heard of as a family vacation spot but most people have not been. Sort of like Atlantic City before the casinos moved in, I would imagine. (Never been to Atlantic City.)

If you want a nice beach town that’s not too far from Bangkok, I recommend Hua Hin. It’s in the other direction, about 2-1/2 hours by bus and on the Malay Peninsula. The wife and I really like Hua Hin. It has a small bar scene that by no means dominates the town like Pattaya’s does. The water is clean enough to swim in. (Tip: When you exit onto the beach from the main beach road leading to it, Damnoen Kasem Road, DO NOT sit at the beach-chair ghetto immediately to your left. Instead, turn right, walk a quarter of a kilometer, and there’s a much nicer beach-chair area, and that section of beach is nicer too.)

But that’s not Chonburi. Is there some reason other than tourism you are specifically interested in Chonburi?

I suggest picking up a good guide book, and I always recommend Lonely Planet. They just issued the 13th edition of their Thailand guide in August, so it’s pretty up to date. However, the Chonburi chapter is dominated by Pattaya and does not even mention Bang Saen.

Farther along the highway after it makes a sharp turn to the east to head for the Cambodian border are the provinces of Rayong and Trat, which contain the islands of Samet and Chang (Koh Samet and Koh Chang). Other islands too, but those are the main ones. I recommend Chang over Samet, but Samet is closer. The ferry to both from the coast takes about an hour. On both islands, the farther south you go, the less crowded it is. On Koh Samet, we awoke each morning to the pleasure of medical rubbish washed up on the beach. Seems boats take it out to see from the mainland and dump it at night, then it washes up onto Samet. Local staff are good at cleaning it up quickly, though.

Schools for the deaf: They do exist here. Actually, I personally know of only a school for the blind in Bangkok, but I just called the wife, and she confirms there are schools for the deaf in Thailand. I caught her at rather a busy moment, but she promised to get me some information later. However, an initial Google search turns up the Pattaya Orphanage, which I see contains a school for the deaf. Perhaps this is your mission to Chonburi?

The earlier comment about deaf sidewalk vendors is correct. There are many of them, especially along lower Sukhumvit Road and doubly especially on the north side of the road (the side with the even-numbered sois, or small lanes leading off of the road: Soi 5, Soi 7 etc.) Start from Soi 3 and head up in numbers along Sukhumvit. Accessible from Nana Skytrain Station.

Also, the big, main food court upstairs in MBK Centre, formerly called and still known to locals as Mah Boonkhrong, is sort of an unoffical club for deaf people. On weekends especially, you can see large groups of deaf people signing to each other in one corner of the food court. That’s also a good and cheap place to grab abite MBK is a huge shopping center, very popular with locals and tourists alike and accessible from National Stadium Skytrain Station; in fact, there’s a walkway into MBK from the station, so you don’t even have to go down to the ground.

I’ll get back to you with deaf-school info.

D’oh! I just saw the OP’s later comment. I see you are locked into Chonburi town. May I ask the name of your hospital? I’m not familiar with any facility in Chonburi town itself other than the local government-run one, which I could not recommend. The best ones in the province are Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, part of the Bangkok Hospital Group; and Samitivej Sriracha, in Sriracha district (sometimes spelled Si Racha), part of the Samitivej Group. Both are decent outfits. I’ve also heard good word about Pattaya International Hospital.

For day trips, Pattaya might be worth a look for the sleaze, Bang Saen for a nice beach gander. The aforementioned Koh Trat might be possible as a day trip; be sure to catch the last ferry back to the mainland. Bangkok is only 90 minutes away, and buses run between the two until pretty late.

As for the Muang designation: Thailand has provinces like the US has states. And each province has districts like each US state has counties. (Yes, I know Louisiana has parishes.) Now, the capital city of each province is the same name as the province: The capital of Chonburi province is Chonburi town, the capital of Ayutthaya is Ayutthaya etc. Districts take on a more important political role than US counties do, and the district that contains the capital city in each province (76 provinces, counting Bangkok, but Bangkok is treated differently, so we’re talking 75 provinces here) is named Muang district. Each province (except Bangkok) has a Muang district. Loosely translated, the word muang has a “homeland” connotation, which is why you’ll often hear of “Muang Thai.” Sort of like the German Heimat. But it’s used very loosely in many contexts, and Muang Chonburi could mean the actual district named Muang or the town itself. In this case, Muang Chonburi would loosely mean “the capital of Chonburi,” but they could be referring to those areas outside the city limits too; depends on context.

Will get back to you soon with more deaf-school info.

Double Do’h! :smack: I meant, of course, “the aforementioned Koh Samet,” which is part of Rayong province. (Koh Chang is part of Trat province.) Looks like it’s going to be one of those days for me.

But that would be a possible day trip if you left Chonburi early enough. The province of Rayong itself is the next one from Chonburi.

It’s the Aikchol hospital.

I’ve not heard of it, but looking it up I see it’s a rather specialized facility, which would explain that. But it does appear to be a well-established hospital. At least, I’ve not heard anything bad about it, and that is something.

It is indeed in Chonburi town. If you’ve never been to Thailand before, I suppose even it may seem exotic, but I think that will wear off quickly. I do recommend getting out and about if you can.

I see another possibility for a day trip in the Chonburi section of the Lonely Planet guide I mentioned. There is an island just off the coast of the province called Koh Si Chang (not to be confused with the island called Koh Chang, which is over close to Cambodia). I’ve heard of this place before but not been to it. The entry calls it “practically the anti-Thai island. No sweeping sandy beaches, no coconut groves – and no hoards of tourists.” But it does have some limestone cliffs, Thai and Chinese temples and the remains of a palace that fell into disuse after the French occupied the island briefly in 1893. (You can see its main throne hall in Bangkok, where it was moved in 1910 and is called the Vimanmek Teak Mansion. That’s how I’ve heard of the island. The mansion is the largest of it’s kind in the world made of teak.) Also says it’s possible to find someone to give you an island tour for 300 baht (US$9) but that you’ll probably have to bargain to get that price. Sounds like the “roads” may be a bit rough for someone fresh from surgery, though.

Si Racha district might be worth a look. A working-class area, but it’s where Si Racha sauce, which seems to be growing in popularity around the world, is made. Named after the district.

All in all, I think the beach at Bang Saen would be your easiest day visit. I was doing some specialist work in that area in November 1988. Spent three weeks on that beach and really enjoyed it. From what I hear, it’s still a nice place.

The wife came up with the names of some more schools for the deaf, but I’ve not found much on the Internet about them. One is the Panyanukul School in Chachoengsao province. I believe the highway between Bangkok and Chonburi passes through a small corner of that province. I’m sure you could find someone at the hospital who knows something about it. There also seems to be one in Phuket province in the South, as you can see here, others in Phetchaburi and Chumpon provinces, both on the upper Malay Peninsula. May be others, too.

Then there’s the Nonthaburi School for the Deaf in the province of the same name, which is basically a suburb of Bangkok. And the Chiang Mai school for the Deaf in that province, which is the capital of the North. I’d say the Pattaya Orphanage mentioned in earlier posts is going to be your closest one.

The Wikipedia entry for Chonburi is here. It mentions a tiger zoo in Si Racha, but I would not recommend patronizing that, because I’ve heard some cruel stories about tiger mistreatment there.

Good luck!

I’m relieved to hear this, though not really surprised; my surgeon is generally regarded as one of the best in the world. He goes a long way to meet the needs of his patients so it seems right that he would have picked a good hospital to conduct his practice in.

Oooo I hope to be able to go to this! Definitely sounds worth braving some rough roads.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Yes, some of that sounds awesome. Hoping to get to some or all of those. Thanks, SS! :smiley:

p.s. my interest in schools for the deaf is that I am a teacher of the deaf, here, so would love to see the facilities there and meet the children if possible.

I noticed the same thing at the food court of the Big C supermarket and mall (near the Saphan Kwai Skytrain stop).

This story on Rayong province, which is the next one from Chonburi down the coast, appeared in Sunday’s Bangkok Post.

(A tambon is a level of government we don’t have in the US but would be located between a community and a county if we did. One Tambon One Product is a government program to have each tambon make one local product to sell for profit. Sounds good in theory, but the vast majority seems to be rice liquor in one form or the other and much of the rest jicky little doodads that no one really wants.)

Ah, almost forgot: The wife has visited the Sea Turtle Preservation Sanctuary mentioned in the story and says it is definitely worth a look.