General Information

TOP 5 attractions in Ranong

Far from the hurly-burly of Pattaya or Bangkok, Ranong is a discreet Thai city located by the Andaman Sea, near the very South of the Myanmar border. Discreet doesn’t mean uninspiring though, and people keen on relaxation, nature and well-being will find the place worth a 1 or 2 day stopover.

  1. The Hot Springs at Raksawarin: The Raksawarin Hot Springs are certainly the most famous attraction of the area. After a nice and short walk along the river, you will find a surprising site filled with natural hot water basins. A nice opportunity to chill and chit chat with locals who enjoy bathing there especially before and after work. Your body will thank you in the process since these particular ablutions are known to stimulate the blood flow and remineralisation. Definitely a perfect place to kill an hour or two before heading to the airport.

  2. Ngao Mangrove Forest Research Center : Nature lovers will also be interested in the Ngao Mangrove Forest Research Center. This site which has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve Zone by the UNESCO is located 19 km far from the city center of Ranong. This mangrove forest is the birthplace and home for young offspring of many species of marine life before they’re strong enough to live on their own in the open sea, and the Center provides guided treks along the 2-kilometer nature trail to discover its special fauna and flora and say hi to the many monkeys who live there. Note that it might be a good idea to book in advance if you want to visit this wonderful site.

  3. The Ngao Waterfall: Located in the same national park as the hot springs and the mangrove, Namtok Ngao National Park, you can also discover the Punyaban Waterfall. You may have noticed this stripe of white among the cliffs while on a boat between Ranong and one of the surrounding islands. An easy 5 minutes’ walk to the lower tiers of the waterfall will lead you along the water through a path of flowering trees until a nice stream at the foot of the falls full of crystal clear water, small fishes and crabs. While the flora is worth a visit any time of the year, the river may dry up between January and April.

  4. The food: A fine meal is the best way to end a nice day of visits in Ranong, and the culinary options are sure to please every palate. Make your choice between Thai style seafood at Kiang Le Restaurant, a pleasant place along the river with a view of the sunset over Myanmar, delicious and cheap Chinese food at O-Cha Dim Sum or Western and Thai dishes at the Farmhouse hotel. You might as well enjoy to take a dip at the B Hotel, an affordable budget hotel with two lively restaurants and its small pool on the rooftop. Finally, Thailand wouldn’t be Thailand without its fantastic street food. Taste it at its best every Saturday in Ruengrat Road from November to April during the “Walking Street”, where people come sell everything you can imagine on the sidewalks.

  5. Rattanarangsan Palace: ever wondered how Thai kings’ everyday life looked like during the 19th century? Perched atop a small hill in the town center, the Rattanarangsan Palace is a fairly accurate reproduction of the residence that was built for King Chulalongkorn in 1890 during his Malay Peninsula tour. It is also a museum where you can learn about Ranong’s history, see photos of the original palace and some antiques that will be explained to you in a perfect English.

Myanmar Travel Insurance

All travelers to the tropics should have a travel insurance, and that's what we also request of our guests. 

To make things easier for you, we partnered up with World Nomads, our favourite travel insurer. World Nomads is recommended by National Geographic Traveler, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide and other reputable travel experts.

More importantly, World Nomads provides insurance for travelers to Myanmar starting any day, for as long or short as you like, and no matter where you are right now. And it includes all kinds of activities, whether it's sailing, sea kayaking, free-diving, swimming in the open ocean - or (almost) anything else you are planning to do during your vacations. 

Feel free to get a quote if you don't yet have a travel insurance for your cruise with Burma Boating!

What are the Mergui Fees?

All foreign travellers need to pay an official visitor fee to enter Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago. The fee is comprised of various components and is calculated based on the duration of the stay, the cruising range, the size of the boat, and the number of guests on the boat. It includes a visitor license, a port fee, and service fees for different government departments.  

The total visitor fee for 5-night / 6-day sailing trips currently amounts to USD 310 per person. Fees for guests chartering a private yacht have to be calculated individually. 

We are happy to help you obtain your Mergui visitor license and are offering the option to prepay the fees together with your charter fee. If you prefer, you can choose to pay the fees directly to the authorities in cash upon your arrival. 

Vessels operating in Myanmar waters and the Mergui Archipelago need to have a Myanmar vessel license, the costs for which Burma Boating carries fully.

All visitors to the Mergui Archipelago can get a Myanmar visa on arrival in Kawthaung. This visa allows travellers to stay in the area for two weeks. The area includes the town of Kawthaung and the Mergui Archipelago. Visa costs for the whole area are currently USD 30, for Kawthaung only they are USD 10. Again, our crew will be happy to help you with the visa procedure upon your arrival.

Foreigners wanting to travel in Myanmar beyond that area will not get a visa on arrival in Kawthaung. Instead, they need to apply for a tourist visa at least one month before entering the country. Citizens of many countries entering Myanmar via Yangon Airport can now apply for an e-visa online.

No matter what type of visa you are applying for, please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the end of your cruise. 

Myanmar Introduces E-visa Program

Visiting Myanmar is becoming easier and easier. Starting this September, the Ministry of Immigration and Population allows visitors to apply for an e-visa and fill in applications online. 

The online procedure won't work for nationals of all countries, so do first check whether your nationality is listed. Once the application is complete, you will have to pay USD 50 by credit card online. It may then take up to five days to get an approval letter by email. This document should be printed out and presented, together with your passport, upon arrival in Myanmar. 

Update for 2015:

You can now enter and exit at any international airport with your e-visa, and, importantly, also exit at land border crossings. So you can, for instance, enter Myanmar in Yangon, then fly down to Kawthaung for a cruise in the Mergui Archipelago and later leave Myanmar via Ranong in Thailand without any restrictions.

The approval letter is valid for 90 days, and once the passport is stamped on the border, tourists can stay in Myanmar for up to 28 days. 

If you only plan to visit the Mergui Archipelago and enter and exit Myanmar in Kawthaung via Ranong in Thailand, we can organise a visa-on-arrival for you. Regulations and procedures frequently change, so we recommend to check beforehand. 



Ranong: Crossing the River to Kawthaung

If you plan to enter Myanmar from Thailand, you have to cross the border river separating the two countries. Most of our guests choose this route and it's really very easy. Here's a short step-by-step guide. You can also download our info sheet


1 - Drive to Ranong Longtail Pier (SaPhan Pla Jetty)

Take a taxi to the pier in Ranong, from which boats leave for Kawthaung. The car ride there from Phuket Airport usually takes 3-4 hours and should cost 4200 - 5000 Thai Baht. From Ranong Airport it takes about 30 minutes and costs approximately 500 Baht. The small pier is hidden behind the PTT petrol station, so don‘t be surprised. Here are the directions in Thai, in case you want to show them to your driver: 

กรุณาไปส่งที่   ท่าเทียบเรือ
ถนน เฉลิมพระเกียรติ  


2 - Border Checkpoint   

If you call us an hour before arrival, we will send a longtail boat over to pick you up. The driver will wait for you at the border checkpoint area with a sign in his hand.
First you have to go through Thai emigration and border control, just to your right inside the border checkpoint area. Right in front of to the emigration area is the longtail boat pier. The small and somewhat adventurous-looking boats there are the only means of transport to Kawthaung.
There will be a crowd of drivers waiting. If you rent a boat for yourself, the trip across the river will cost 400 to 500 Thai Baht. You can also hop onto a regular join-in longtail, in which case the fee should be about 50 Baht per person.

3 - Crossing the River

Crossing the river between Thailand and Myanmar takes 30 to 45 minutes. There are two more checkpoints along the way where the driver has to show your passport to customs officers. Usually you won‘t have to get off the boat.


4 - Arriving in Kawthaung, Myanmar

The longtail boats from Thailand arrive about 30-40 metres away from the Myanmar Immigration Pier (Myo Ma Jetty). Walk along the road until you see the sign that says ''Warmly Welcome and Take Care of Tourists'' (see photo on the left). 

The small building on the right hand side is the border control by Myo Ma Jetty. We‘ll meet you right there at 11.30 a.m. on your day of departure. If you have any trouble finding us, you can always call us on +66 2 1070 445.


Click to Download

Click to Download

Myanmar Eases Travel Restrictions

The government of Myanmar decided to lift more immigration restrictions. Tourists entering the country through Kawthaung are now able to continue their journeys on land and exit through any other border crossing, reports DVB (formerly Democratic Voice of Burma).

The website reports: "Foreigners entering Burma through three major border checkpoints along the Thai border can now travel inland and will not be required to exit the country through the same portal, in accordance with a new regulation passed by Burmese immigration authorities."