Chanthaburi – The Hidden Gem of Thailand
General Information of Chanthaburi
The east of Thailand is a hub to many great places you can explore and one of the most fruitful provinces is Chanthaburi. Chanthaburi is famous for its tropical fruits, especially durian in which I highly recommend you give it a taste (Local Tells). You wouldn’t find a unique taste of it elsewhere in Thailand. As the province span over a large area, it consists of many attractions of nature you can find here.
There are plains, mountains, plateau, and sea shores in this region alone. The amazing thing is that there are hills and waterfalls you can take a look if you want to have atmospheric change from the forest scenery. There is also a river that has been crossed over by three bridges in the central area of Chanthaburi. Those three bridges are separated from each other and located in different directions in the north, south, and southeast.
How to travel to Chanthaburi
It might be a good adventure to see all these things in one day, however, if you’re planning to stay here for a few days, it will take no sweat at all. The distance from Bangkok is about four hours by bus. Other than a bus, you could also drive your own car or take a van here.
After you arrived, you can either choose to stay at a simple guesthouse to a four stars hotel or even a resort as well. This is the ultimate place in Thailand that is surrounded by the greens where you can enjoy and relax with any size of budget.
Things to do in Chanthaburi
There are so many places to go in Chanthaburi, where should I start? As Chanthaburi is one of the places where you can really enjoy staying with nature in Thailand, many attractions here will be focus more on the experiences you will get from living with the atmosphere surrounded by nature.
First on the list is Chanthaboon Waterfront, a place with rich community that lives on the waterfront for more than 300 years. It does a great job in keeping the same look throughout the existence of the community and it also used to be a trading hub between sea and land.
You can also see different architectures which are separated by three districts: Tha Luang, Central Market, and Lower Market. You wouldn’t really be here at Chanthaburi if you missed this place! There is also another market nearby called Nong Bua Market which opens on the weekends where it sells pretty weird snacks like Monkey’s Penis snack.
There is also a Catholic Church near Chanthabun Community and it is more than 100 years old. The interior is decorated with beautiful ancient art, marble floors, colored windows, and the saint covered with silver that is decorated with 200,000 sapphires crystals.
Namtok Phlio National Park
If you’re looking for a famous waterfall here in Chanthaburi, Namtok Phlio National Park is the place for you. The word “Namtok” means waterfall which is also a word in the province’s motto as well, so you know it is one of the main attractions to see here. The water here is clear enough that you can see Mahseer Barbs swimming in the water and of course you can go into the water and try to play with the fishes.
Want to see a Buddha statue that is high up in the mountain? Take a trip to Khitchakut Mountain where you’ll see the highest Buddha statue here in Thailand which is approximately 1,000 meters above sea level in which there is a sightseeing spot that enables you to see the amazing views from the top. There are lots of people that solely go there to pay respect to the Buddha, especially on the Chinese New Year which is around January to March of every year.
Enough with the attractions, how about some local tips of activities you can spend your time doing here? Let’s start with beaches. While there is a lot of greens here in Chanthaburi, there are also beaches.
Jao Lao Beach
Truly an escape from all the noises and chaotic life. It might not be known for having a clear water or beautiful white sand, but the charm of this place is that it is peaceful. The nature here is also well preserved unlike any other beaches. Other than the scenery and atmosphere, the food here are cheap, delicious, and really fresh!
Kung Wiman Beach
Another beach that I want to mention is Kung Wiman Beach, a beach with a great sightseeing spot. Nang Phaya Scenic Point is considered to be one of the ten Dream Destinations by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Other than that, the sea drive along the coast is the most beautiful in all of the east. You can see the entire view of the ocean and an awesome place to see the sunset with your lovers.
Chedi Ban Hua Laem
Another sightseeing spot you can check out is called Chedi Ban Hua Laem which is pretty close to Nang Phaya Scenic Point. There is a wooden bridge that goes out into the sea to see the Chedi that situated in the middle of the water. The chedi is more than 200 years old and you can only go near it when the water level is not high. The best time for a visit is when the sun is setting or rising.
If you want to see some culture and the sea, you can go to Welu River. As the place is fertile, the people here decided to build a village around here. You can really see the way people live and how they farm their fishes and shells. I recommend eating seafood here as you’re really close the source.
A rare sight to see here is the beach with black sand which is truly amazing, and you can walk on it too. There are also home-stays where you could feel more of the community and take a look at the Red-backed sea eagle with white head which surely is another rare sight.
After the awesome trip, souvenirs are what you should take back home with you. As fruits are really famous here, taking it back would be a great choice. There are also the famous Chanthabun mat and pepper which are the best sellers here in Chanthaburi for souvenirs. Do you like gems? It is a famous good here in Chanthaburi. You can take a look and purchase gems and accessories at Gems and Jewellery Centre. They also showcase their unique gems there too.
Living in Chanthaburi
The motto for Chanthaburi is “Magnificent Waterfalls, Fruit City, Good Breeding Peppercorns, Loads of Gems, Chanthabun Mat, Fertile Nature, King Taksin the Great’s Liberation Army Gathered at Chanthaburi”. So, you know what you can expect here.
How you get around in Chanthaburi
One more thing I like to mention is how you get around in Chanthaburi as the place is quite massive!
If you’re fancy on riding a motorbike, you can rent it here for around 300 baht a day. More than one day is 200 baht per day and if you want to rent for a week it’s 1000 baht a week.
However, if you don’t want to ride it yourself, you can choose to travel by motorcycle taxi as well, but make sure you ask for the price before you get in!
There are minibuses you can take at the bus station in the town, you can hire the drive to take you around privately and again, you and your driver should agree on the price for each person beforehand. Be really careful not to get ripped off from these drivers.
One recommendation I could give to you is that if you really want to enjoy your time in the town, I suggest you walk from places to places. It will give you much in-depth experience of how people live and what the town is really like.
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