Rayong Aquarium

The Rayong Aquarium

The Rayong Aquarium is situated on the Thailand coast just 5 Kilometres outside the city of Rayong and about an hours drive from Pattaya. Rayong and its surrounding villages is an interesting little area with good roads and markets. It is a very popular area amongst Thai people as a day out destination. It does not figure too highly amongst Western tourists so they are few and far between.

Rayong Aquarium

As a weekend destination Rayong has a lot to offer. There is Elephant trekking for those so inclined and the Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park is close by. With a bit of luck you may just spot Wild Elephant as well as Bears, Pileated Gibbon, Banded Langur, Gaur, Serow, Wild Pig, Deer and more as well as the 53 recorded bird species. Failing that just visiting some of the numerous waterfalls and caves may be a treat enough in itself.

Rayong Aquarium is a jointly managed and run project involving National and local fisheries research bodies.

The Aquarium is open every day of the week apart from Monday and Tuesday. Daily opening times are from 10.00 - 16.00 and closing an hour later at the weekends.

Giant Grouper

One of the Giant Grouper in the well stocked and interesting large tank
One of the Giant Grouper in the well stocked and interesting large tank

Hump Back Grouper

Housed in an attractive purpose built building this aquarium looks like it is here to stay unlike some of the highly commercial Asian aquaria whose circuslike appearance suggests that they may up sticks and disappear during the night.

And unlike these commercial ventures Rayong Aquarium only charges a very reasonable 30 Thai Baht entrance fee. It would be worth it at treble the price. This is far more than I could say about Underwater World in Pattaya.

SeaHorse

Signage

Excellent signage on every single exhibit
Excellent signage on every single exhibit

This aquarium is neat, clean and well laid out. Without exception every one of the tanks here had a functional label. If there was some misspelling then I missed it (unusual for Thailand). Each label has a colour photograph, the English name, Scientific name, Thai name and further information in Thai.

Okay I do think the signage could have been a little more adventurous and include a bit of humour as this teaches so well but, that said, It was very very good. So many aquaria have missing or damaged signs or even have never had any signs at all. To so many of these places a fish is a fish is a fish...and if it dies we will catch another. Rayong is not like that. It so obviously cares about what it is doing and it shows.

The Inevitable Underwater Tunnel

Floor not moving...many aquariums seem to have stopped the moving floor feature
Floor not moving...many aquariums seem to have stopped the moving floor feature

Display of Fish Traps

There were about forty tanks in all which varied in size. There was only one that I thought a bit cramped but there may well have been a reason for it. The water was of exceptional clarity and all the tanks were well decorated. Personally I am not too keen on artificial colours in aquariums (it is too much plastic bubble castle but works for some) but here it was not overdone. There were four species of Anenome fish but no anenomes which I thought a pity. In fact there were no anenomes at all, or living corals or jellies which I find so very fascinating.

That said, this is a way above average aquarium and borders on the excellent. It certainly does a lot more for education than Pattaya Underwater World. Here, in addition to the well labelled and attractive tanks there was a small museum exhibiting fishing traps and methods of fishing. A very nice display of seashells too.

 

Some of the tanks

The Sea Turtle display was simple but functional and interesting to watch. Having seen turtles from above at the Sattahip and Sri Racha Turtle Conservation Centres in recent days it was a treat to view them from below.

One slight puzzle was the inclusion of Horseshoe Crabs within the dedicated display area of poisonous sea creatures. The signage seemed to indicate that the trailing spine contained venom. I had always understood this to be a myth...perhaps that is what the signage said.

Triggerfish

Lionfish

The Rayong Aquarium is definitely worth a visit. It is a very well done and presented aquarium making a positive contribution to education, in fact one could go as far as to say that this is its main reason for being. As such it is contributing far more than most of the 'Underwater World' chain of aquariums which I have visited in Asia. They could learn much by visiting here.

It is all very well making money and taking money from exhibiting sea creatures but without giving something back it is almost a wildlife crime akin to poaching.

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Comments 8 comments

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

I really enjoyed reading about this place too, Peter. I guess that people are a bit less reserved about the exploitation of fish (there are more in the sea?) My favorite is the Lion fish, which I think its "quills" are poisonous. Thanks, Peter. Rayong is certainly a place I wouldn't mind visiting.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thanks dohn121 - Actually you are right. It is something that really gets me. Only a few aquariums actually make a genuine contribution to research and breeding. It is therefore critical that those which don't do the maximum for education. Rayong Aquarium does very well. I have known two people stung by Lion fish. Very very painful. One guy, a keeper of mine had his hand swell to three times the size and turn black in under five minutes. He made a full recovery but I think it took two months if I remember rightly.


bingskee profile image

bingskee 7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

reminds me of a visit to Manila Ocean Park. the underwater tunnel experience was a blast. we went there early this year to celebrate my daughter's birthday.

Rayong seems like an interesting place.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia Author

bingskee - I have visited Manila Ocean Park. You might like to take a look at my hub on the collection when you get five minutes. I would be interested to see if you agree with my comments.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Reminds me of a vist to Hong Kong's Ocean Park, there I loved seeing the jelly fish. Nice hub!


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia Author

Jerilee Wei - Hong Kong's Ocean Park is different again. That place is in an Asian League of its own. Very good and exceptional collection. Rayong is good but nowhere near as good as Ocean Park.


LizzyBoo profile image

LizzyBoo 7 years ago from Czech Republic

Ahh I am so glad to find this post. I went to Rayong aquarium as well few years ago. I took there many pictures over there. Your post just reminds me of a great time I spent in Bangkok and Pattaya and Sri Racha. Thank you so much.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia Author

Glad to help LizzyBoo

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