Chachoengsao, Paet Rio, has an old history back to the reign of King Borommatrailokkanat in the Ayutthaya period. Most of the people have settled by the Bang Pakong River and along canals. "Luangpho Phuttha Sothon" is a centre of faith of the people of Paet Rio. In the past, Chachoengsao was a fourth class city under the Ministry of Defence. During the reign of King Rama I, it was attached to the Ministry of Interior. Until the reign of King Rama V who changed the administration system, Chachoengsao became a city in the Prachin Buri Circle. In 1916, its status was changed from a city to a province. "Chacheongsao" is a Khmer word which means a deep canal. The name "Paet Rio" comes from the story that the city once teemed with giant snake-head fish; up to 8 cuts were required on the sides in making sun-dried fish.
From Bangkok, there are three routes:-
Take Highway 304 (Bangkok – Min Buri – Chachoengsao), a total distance of 75 km.
Take Highway 34 (Bang Na – Trat Road) and change to Highway 314 (Bang Pakong – Chachoengsao), a total distance of 90 km.
Take Highway 3 (past Samut Prakan and Bang Pakong) and change to Highway 314, a total distance of 100 km.
There is an air-conditioned bus service from the Northern Bus Terminal on Kamphaeng Phet II Road during 5.20 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. The bus leaves every 30 minutes. The travel takes about one hour and 20 minutes, using the Motorway. For more information, contact the Chachoengsao Transport Company Limited (Kamphaeng Phet II Road) at Tel. 0 2936 4041, 08 9748 1349, or the Northern Bus Terminal (Kamphaeng Phet II Road) at Tel. 0 2936 2852 – 66 ext. 311, 442.
Additionally, visitors can travel from the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai). There is a bus service during 5.00 a.m. – 9.30 p.m. For further details, contact the Chachoengsao Transport Company Limited (Ekkamai) at Tel. 0 2712 1018, 08 9749 1336, the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) at Tel. 0 2391 2504, the Chachoengsao Transport Company Limited (Chachoengsao) at Tel. 08 9752 9200, or the Chachoengsao Bus Terminal at Tel. 0 3851 4482.
A 1st class bus service connects Chachoengsao directly with Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.
A variety of bus services run between Chachoengsao and both the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) and the Northern Bus Terminal in Bangkok.
Various express and regular trains (including two daily air-con services) leave from Bangkok's Hualamphong station. The regular (3rd class, no air-con) peak hour trains can get extremely crowded, and tickets for these services do not guarantee a seat, so arrive early to avoid having to stand.
A train service is available from the Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Chachoengsao. There are 11 trains a day. The first train departs at 5.55 a.m. and the last train leaves at 6.25 p.m. For more information, call Tel. 1690, 0 2220 4334, or contact the Chachoengsao Railway Station at Tel. 0 3851 1007, or visit the website: www.railway.co.th.
There are not many buses around town (the occasional one around the 2 main roads). The main transport is songthaew and tuk-tuk.
These are covered pick-up trucks with two benches in the back, and indeed the name means "two benches" in Thai. Seen everywhere, to board one just put your arm out and look at the driver, who will stop. Ring the buzzer (located in the roof) to stop anywhere on the route. There is at least one section near the market that they can't stop, so be patient. The driver will pull over, let you out, and then you pay him from the passenger window. Price as of 2007 is 5 baht for students and 7 baht for adults (any distance in one direction).
The different lines are colour-coded; most start/end or at least pass through the main city market area.
Yellow - from/to the train and bus stations, down the main road of Sri Sothorn
White - from the main city market towards Bang Kaew district
Blue - from the road in front of Wat Sothorn to the city market (and beyond?)
Red - from the market, across the river and to Don Thong school area in peak times, and beyond at other times
Orange - from the market, across the river and down the highway
The guys are genuinely nice. There's no over-charging, no taking you to see any attraction - only genuine transport. Tuk-tuks hang out at the bus/train stations, the 2 main supermarkets in town and the city market area. They can also be hailed from anywhere along the streets. You need to know basic Thai directions (turn left/right) and/or have your destination written or spoken in Thai, but they are very friendly with foreigners attempting to communicate. Basic fare will start at 40 baht and usually go no higher than 70 baht (unless the distance is extremely long or a stop-over or return trip).
Wat Sothon - reputed to be the largest Wat (temple) in the world. Thousands of Thai people flock to Chachoengsao every week to pay their respects. The bulk of the visitors arrive by special buses each weekend, and the market opposite the Wat flourishes. Early in the mornings, the area is transformed into a huge talad (market) to support the throngs of visitors to the temple, trading in food, refreshments and souvenires. By nightfall, it magically disappears, leaving no trace of having existed. In the following early morning hours it appears again as though magic, and throngs of vendors prepare once again for the onslaught of tourists.
The main city market runs every day with raw and cooked food, clothes and basic needs.
There is a Thursday afternoon/night market which is very popular with the locals. Taking the blue songthaew (out of town) from in front of Wat Sothorn, it's about 300-500 metres. You won't see much of the market from the road as it's down a side street (to the right). You may see an ornate wood lace carving shop on the right.
Banmai Market is a one hundred year old indoor market. Only open on Saturdays and Sundays. Here you can find traditional Thai crafts, a range of Thai food and drinks, and children's toys among other things. It makes for a nice trip out, but be sure to wear something cool, it can get a bit hot.
For a bar with a buzzing but comfortable atmosphere go to Chaun Bar, located on the same road as Wat Saton. With an entertaining live band performing from around 8pm till late.
The big night club of Chachoengsao is called Dome. Patronised by people of all ages, Dome has a mixture of dance music and a live band every night, playing both Thai and foreign music. Grab a couple of friends and a bottle of Blend (cheap Thai whiskey) and you're good to go. Open 9pm-3am.