Why go to Ranong
Despite having the fewest inhabitants of all of Thailand’s provinces, infrastructure here is starting to develop and guesthouses and restaurants catering towards western tourists are starting to appear.
Back in the 19th century, Ranong was a tin-mining state founded by Chinese migrants. This is why you will see Chinese influences around the town including shrines, graves and lanterns. The eclectic mix of cultures also includes ethnic Burmese migrants, many of whom are of Muslim faith.
One of the two main reasons people visit Ranong is for the aforementioned border crossing. It is therefore mostly a stopover destination for western travellers. However, if you do decide to stay, Ranong has a lovely Old Market (Talad Gao) which features a mix of shops, restaurants, bars and guesthouses.
If you’re not heading over to Burma, the north-west side of Ranong is home to the majority of the Burmese Muslim population. You will therefore get an insight into Burmese culture without the hassle of visas and border crossings.
The second major reason for visiting Ranong is its islands of Koh Phayam and Koh Chang Noi. Boasting beautiful beaches but lacking great development these ones attract travellers who seek an old-school island experience.
Last but not least, on the outskirts of Ranong lies spectacular landscapes with year-round waterfalls, hot springs, beautiful beaches and national parks. Laem Son National Park boast 60km of protected Andaman Sea coastline. This region is great for snorkelling and diving as well as having plenty of land mammals to see too!