Chumphon, also named the Golden Gate to the South, is located in the bottleneck of Thailand, where the border with Myanmar (Burma) comes the closest. At the moment it is mainly known as a hub for travellers going to or coming from Koh Tao, but it has a lot more to offer than that.
The province has one of the best preserved national parks in the South of Thailand. Chumphon itself is a quiet little town, easy to explore, with its main source of income by fishery. This will become very clear should you be using one of the ferry services harbouring at the river that leads into the Gulf of Siam. The sight of hundreds of colourful, wooden boats of all sizes will keep you breathless (as will the fish odour).
City Hotels & Guest Houses, and an expanding range of good restaurants, invite you, also with their moderate prices. As tourism is picking up, new exclusive resorts, located on the beautiful, empty beaches around the city,are opening up, aimed at nature lovers and divers.
The main road leading to the railway station turns into a long food market at dusk, offering plenty of delicacies. If you want to meet fellow travellers or just have some spare time, head for "Farang Bar", "Fame Tour" or "The 3 InDependant" - good food / good atmosphere / good people.
Mini busses, VIP busses & trains are leaving every day to every destination. Professional travel agents provide all kinds of transfers & accommodations, as well as comfortable daily visa trips to the Burmese border.
All in all, even if you cannot extend your holiday to explore the surrounding national parks, temples & caves, or do some trekking or rafting, it is well worth staying for a couple of days to prepare yourself for the big city ahead of you. Even in that short period you will be able to visit quite a few interesting sites, like the boat shaped Prince of Chumphon shrine in Sairee or the Chinese temple in Ban Paknam.