Chumphon is listed as one of the 12-must visit cities in Thailand in the travel campaign 2015 of Tourism Authority of Thailand. This campaign aims to stimulate the tourism in these second major touristic cities in Thailand. Actually, I have always wanted to come and visit the coastal area and offshore tourist attractions here in Chumphon. It is well-known for its beautiful beaches and abundant underwater world. Therefore, it is not a good idea to see Chumphon as a city that we just drive pass by. I haven't had a chance to visit Chumphon until I have been invited by Marketing Information Technology Group of Tourism Authority of Thailand to join the project "Chill Out Thailand". Therefore, I have a chance to come and explore Chumphon finally. Let's go and see how amazing this city is!
This journey together with Tourism Authority of Thailand is in Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chumphon. I will group the tourist attractions that go well together and are convenient to travel together in each travel review. Chumphon would be the very first review of the whole journey where I am incredibly impressed. I have never thought that the abundant ocean resource does still exist in our country.
The snorkeling spots in Mu Ko Chumphon National Park can be divided into 2 major zones. The first zone is including Koh Ngam Noi, Koh Ngam Yai, Ko Kalok, and Koh Talu. The second one is including Koh Mattra, Ko Lak Raet, Koh Lawa, and Koh Langka Jew. It is not hard to travel around since there are numbers of private tour operators available which you will be traveling in a big modern boat. It costs 1,250 THB per person. You can also contact Mu Ko Chumphon National Park Office to arrange the boat tour operated by locals. It cost 3,900 THB for the tour in the first zone snorkeling spots and 2,800 THB for the second ones. This local boat tour can accommodate up to 10 people. Therefore, you can choose to travel with the private tour operator or the local one according to your preference.
Please be noted that this price is last updated in September 2015.
The best time to visit Chumphon is between January and April similar to other places along the coastal and offshore tourist attractions. On the other hand, you should avoid the storm season from October to November. The rest of the time is depending on its current weather condition.
Tourism Authority of Thailand has well-organized a boat for us from Siam Catamaran Tour. Even though the weather is not perfect, the trip continues. Siam Catamaran Tour normally organizes a snorkeling trip dividing into two days, one for the first zone island group, and another day for the second zone. However, according to the weather they have re-group the islands into one group including Koh Mattra, Koh Ngam Noi, and Koh Ngam Yai. In other words, the snorkeling tour operated during this time will take you to three islands including Koh Mattra, Koh Ngam Noi, and Koh Ngam Yai. Fresh towels, snorkels, and snorkel masks are complementary but not the snorkel fins.
We have come to Tha Yang Pier to take the boat. There are plenty of boats available here operated by different companies. The boat starts to get going through Klong Tha Tapao River and passing by an enormous fisherman village. It is about 45 minutes that the boat has reached the ocean before it starts to run very fast. It is totally cloudy now, no sun at all. I don't pray for the sun to come out but no rain please.
It is not even another half an hour yet that we have arrived at our first stop, Koh Mattra. There is a bungalow available on the island named Ban Lung Khao. Lung Khao or Uncle Khao has been living here for numbers of decades. He was here even before the island turned into the National Park. Therefore, he is like a guard of this National Park accordingly.
Even though it is not sunny, the water is crystal clear. I guess the underwater world here must be amazing.
I don't want to go after other people so I volunteer to get ready and do the first jump to explore what is down there. I don't even have to dive deep down, staying on the surface is more than good enough and this is what I see.
Even though the fish and corals are not as various as in Andaman Sea, they are totally abundant and well-conserved.
I have been snorkeling for more than half an hour and I guess I need a little break. The boatman told to me to take it easy because other stops would be even more beautiful!
It has been a great spot to uncover the underwater world and it is time to get to another spot at Koh Ngam Noi. Well, actually cloudy day can be good too especially for our skin. The skin won't be exposed by the sun while we enjoy the view and the boat ride. Not long after, we have arrived at Koh Ngam Noi. I have seen a video about this place before. It looks as if it was a flower garden under water. So let's see how it is in real and witness this by my own eyes! At this very moment, I don't care to take photos from the boat over looking people snorkeling anymore. One or two shots are more than enough.
Oh my Lord Buddha! (I am trying to exclaim like the westerners Haha...) Go and have a look now why I do so!
This is totally amazing. I really don't know how to put it into words. I just want to scream out loud but I am afraid that those shrimps, clams, crabs, and fish around me will get scared.
I have spent such a great time here and it is time to go back to the boat. Once I approach the boat, the boatman asks me excitingly "is it beautiful as you wish?". I nod my head and put my thump up and say "incredibly beautiful". He lough at me and says "the next stop is even more beautiful". I wonder myself if there will be any other places more beautiful than this, seriously!".
Before going to that place, the boat stops and stay steady. It is time for lunch. Today's lunch menu is simple. The buffet line offers Fried Chicken, Thai Fried Vermicelli Noodle, Stir-fried Vegetables, and selections of fresh fruits. The food are not bad. Moreover, we have been well taken care of by the staff along the way both on the boat and in water. They are very funny as well.
Lunch is done and we are heading to Koh Ngam Yai. Koh Ngam Yai is in the same group of the island as Koh Ngam Noi. It is not only the underwater world that is spectacular but also the cliff. This strange cliff shape looks like human's right hand. Therefore, it is called Right Hand of Buddha. Woh woh, I just thought of him while ago, never thought that I will see a part of him this soon. I do not hesitate to Wai (pay respect) this landmark straight away.
Koh Ngam Yai is one of the islands that has been granted by the Government to do bird's nest farm legally. This scenery of bird's nest farmer community can be seen often when you come for the snorkeling.
The first spot that I start to do snorkeling is full of corals but not many sea flowers.
The more I keep snorkeling further, the more sea flowers I see. Finally I am in the middle of the flower garden underwater again. This is totally magical.
I take the last snap shot of the sea flowers around 2.15 PM and it has been roughly 45 minutes that I have been here. I am very tired but have a lot of fun. I don't even want to go back yet. I feel kind of sad to leave. I wish I could swim back to the mainland myself so the boat can go first. Hahaha
On the way back, we pass by this Skull Island (Ko Kalok). No wonder why it is called Ko Kalok as you can see.
To summarize, my first snorkeling trip in Chumphon is totally impressive. Even though the sun is not out at all, the underwater world remains incredibly beautiful. I can't imagine how beautiful it will be in their best season. I am definitely coming back here but I will not come alone. I will bring my beloved family along to share this memorable experience.
Chumphon as a-must visit city, you know now why we shouldn't miss.
Apart from this snorkeling trip, Tourism Authority of Thailand also takes us to other tourist attractions such as Chumphon National Museum where the video of Typhoon Gay is available, Thung Wua Laen Beach, Paradorn Phap Beach, and Sairee Beach as the most famous beaches in Chumphon, and Prince of Chumphon Shrine. However, since the day has been very cloudy the photos I have are not that nice. So I don't think showing them is a good idea. Anyway, there are plenty of interesting tourist attractions here in Chumphon apart from the snorkeling.
Lastly, Mutsea Mountain Viewpoint is a place where I really like even if it is cloudy. This spot has been well promoted recently as a place where you shouldn't miss when in Chumphon. The road is well-developed and you can drive the car to the top. This mountaintop viewpoint offers panoramic view in all direction. There are a cafe and bird's nest shop where you can sit down and chill while enjoying breathtaking view. This place is also perfect to see the sunrise and sunset. In addition, you can pay homage to the image of Phra Bodhisattya Awalokitesuan which is in Maharajalilasana posture located on the top of Mutsea Mountain Viewpoint as well.
Watching the sunset from here, you will be able to see Klong Tha Tapao River and the fisherman village. This is the river we were in this morning before going out for the snorkeling trip.
Last but not least, even though Chumphon trip is pretty short, it is totally amazing. I have a chance to get to know Chumphon better and I promise to myself that I will be back here one day traveling on my own by my style. Maybe I can just take the train from Bangkok and stop in every single district of Chumphon to explore all towns. Anyone want to join?
For more tourism information please contact
Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chumphon Office: 0-7750-2775-6
Mu Ko Chumphon National Park: 0-7755-8144-5
Siam Catamaran Tour: 0-7755-3123, 08-8758-3279, or 09-5029-7614
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