Rayong Aquarium a worthwhile trek
OK, so you’ve made it down to Pattaya for a Friday night. You wake on Saturday morning and think ‘what to do today?’ Why not pack the kids in the car and drive down Ban Phe, just past Rayong, and visit the Rayong Aquarium?
If you’ve ‘done’ Underwater World in south Pattaya, you might be thinking why bother with a 70-kilometre trek to see another giant fish tank, but the contrasts are sufficiently different to make it a worthwhile weekend trek.
First of all, the setting is different. The Rayong Aquarium is reached by taking Sukhumvit Highway (3) and heading in the direction of Klaeng. That is, you can avoid battling through the Rayong city traffic and take the bypass towards Klaeng.
As noted above, the distance from Pattaya is about 70 kilometres, so if you don’t encounter too much traffic or be unlucky with traffic lights, the whole journey should only take about an hour and half at a leisurely speed. And, on the way, there are a lot of places offering coffee and cakes, so a pit stop to get the caffeine fix for the day can be a pleasant way to break up the trip down.
Although there are signs for the Rayong Aquarium, perhaps the easiest way to reach it is simply wait until you see the signs for Ban Phe, take the exit and then follow the signs which will take you straight into the attraction.
As a marine preservation and education project, the Rayong Aquarium is not designed as a commercial venture, so entry for adults is just 30 baht, and that includes foreigners. None of this racist double-pricing policy you see in evidence almost everywhere else.
Children under 120 centimetres tall are admitted free, while children over 120 centimetres tall but aged 15 or under are charged just 10 baht. So, this is an attraction which will not break the bank.
At the entrance is a long pool with a variety of turtles, reef sharks, and other fishes going backwards and forwards. Inside, there is a tall, cylindrical tank filled with some very large fish. Also, the entrance area features a couple of smaller ponds with the odd turtle, starfish, and smaller fish swimming about.
Once into the aquarium proper, visitors can view a large number of small tanks containing an amazing variety of fish species. Some sections are given specific designations, one of these being ‘dangerous fish’ and this includes small mantras, puffer fish and stonefish among others. There is also a wide collection of sea shells.
After leaving the aquarium there’s plenty more to keep you occupied in downtown Ban Phe before the drive back to Pattaya.