463km (288 miles) S of Bangkok; 193km (120 miles) N of Surat Thani
Chumphon was once known for simply being a stop on the way south, but it’s now become a popular jumping off point for trips to offshore islands. Boats leave from here to Ko Tao to the southeast and Ang Thong Marine National Park due south, both of which are popular diving areas. Ferries continue to Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui, though for these islands the ferry trip is shorter from Donsak Pier near Surat Thani. Surrounded by its famous fruit orchards inland, and a couple of great beaches, such as Sairi Beach, 22km (14 miles) east of town, and Thung Wua Laem Beach, 12km (7 1/2 miles) northeast, it's a good place to unwind before the ferry. But there's not enough here to warrent an overnight stay.