Rayong is actually the name of a province in Thailand. A province in Thailand is having the same size of municipality (kabupaten/kotamadya) in Indonesia. So, don’t be surprised.
Rayong is mainly an industrial city. But, this city is also known for its fruit production, during April – June this city will be a durian paradise, where you can buy durian cheaper than anywhere in the world (sounds ‘lebay’, but true).
Rayong people are mainly workers/employees working for some industry in Map Ta Phut area. They usually live in a serviced apartment (rent) or condominium (own or rent). But, we still can find some residence for landed house across Rayong, even when the development is not as fast as condominium.
My friend and I live in Star 3 Serviced Apartment. This apartment is located in the Star Complex. There are hotel (with swimming pool and fitness we can use for free as SCG employee privileged), Star Fresh Market (mainly sell fruits, vegetables, and foods), Tesco Lotus (one of the big supermarket in Rayong), many street foods, and night markets.
The cost to rent an apartment or condominium is around THB 5,000 – 10,000 not include the utilities, like electricity and water. Some apartments is already included the cleaning fee, but the other may charge more for it. For my case, the apartments rent fee per month is THB 5,500 (considered average in Rayong), and the utilities usually around THB 1,000 – 1,500. The apartment and condominium around Laemthong (Passione Mall) usually has higher cost.
Malls and Department Store in Rayong
- Central Mall
I think this is the largest and newest mall in Rayong. You can find some mid-range brand such as in Uniqlo, Esprit, and many brands in Robinson Department Store, though there are still cheap store in the basement level. Central also has Tops Supermarket, I recommend this supermarket if you want to find import food, although the price is slightly higher compared to Tesco Lotus. For dining, you can choose Sizzler, Signature, Subway, Jeffer, and many other choices. There is also a cinema in here, Major Cineplex. If you want to find home appliances or miscellaneous thing, they have Daiso and Komonoya which sell (almost) everything in THB 60.
- Passione Mall (or Laemthong)
Yes, local people is more familiar with Laemthong rather than Passione. This mall is not as big as Central. But, I think it is also quite good. It has Mango, Charles and Keith, and many other brands. For dining, there is also Sizzler, Fuji, Shabu Shi, Yayoi, Jeffer, etc. It also has SF Cinema. If you want to find cheap thing you can visit the store in the basement level, it sells (almost) everything in THB 20. There are also some stores like Daiso in Passione.
- Tesco Lotus
Since I can go here by walking, I often go here with my friends. It is a large supermarket. But, it also has some dining choices, like The Pizza, MK Restaurant, KFC, and Tummour (we really like to eat here!). There is also Watsons and Beauty Buffet if you want to buy toiletries or cosmetics.
- Ko Samed – island with white sand beach (I have not go there yet, so I cannot tell)
- Khao Laem Ya – a rocky beach near Ban Phe (ferry terminal to go to Ko Samed)
- Mae Ram Phung Beach – a beach where you can enjoy the sunset while eating fresh seafood
- Pattaya – 60 km from Rayong, many tourist spot
This is one thing I don’t like about Rayong. It does not have a proper public transportation. You can use “songthaew” if you want to go along the Sukhumvit Road (main road in Rayong city). You also can use motorcycle taxi (in Indonesia, it is called ojek), my friend try it and pay THB40 from Star 3 to Central (around 2 km). Taxis in Rayong does not facilitate for driving in short distance, they usually offer for long distance, for example going to Suvarnabhumi Airport (pay around THB 3,000).
Company provides us a company car for every day include weekend, so we rarely take the public transportation 😀
Rayong has some coffee shop, whether it is chain (Starbucks, Coffee World, Black Canyon, or Amazon) or the authentic one. If you want to try visiting coffee shop and drink coffee, enjoy the atmosphere, and eat dessert, I have some recommendation (this is the place I ever visited, so maybe it is limited):
- The Coffee Tree — we are regular there!
- Café Kantary
- Rod Café (near ROC office)
- Park Brasserie (it is more well known for its dessert)
- Terra cotta coffee shop
- Montrio — one in Sukhumvit Road and another one in Baan Chang (this is my favorite)
- Raa-Yong in old town
- Baan Proud
I also like Thai food, and this is the list of Thai restaurant that fits with our style (Indonesian like tasty spicy food) and special for me, I am a fan of any seafood:
- Laem Charoen (must try, even when it is quite expensive)
- Terra cotta (combination of delicious Thai food and good coffee shop J)
- A restaurant beside Assumption School (I forgot the name, but it taste really good)
- Tummour in Tesco Lotus (it is not luxury restaurant but it taste good, especially for som-tum)
Yeah, I am a moslem. It is not easy to find the food that really has halal certification, but you still can find some choices.
- Honalika – Clock Tower
- Star Fruit Market
- Sarot Market (street food market across Laemthong)
- Near Map Ta Phut mosque
- Raa-Yong – mainly snacks and beverages
So, this is my little story about living in Rayong