Chanthaburi (จันทบุรี), 245 km from Bangkok, is the capital of an eponymous province in Eastern Thailand. It is a useful transport hub for accessing the islands Koh Chang and Koh Kut and also several of the border crossings with Cambodia.
Chantaburi is notable for tropical fruits, particularly durian, and gems. The surrounding hills are rich with verdant forests and scenic waterfalls. Nearby are quiet fishing villages & peaceful beaches.
There are three bridges over the river in central Chanthaburi: one to the north, this is the one you will cross if coming from the north; about 500 m south of this is a footbridge facing the cathedral; then about 400 m south west of this, around a bend in the river, is a second road bridge. The both banks of the river between the two road bridges have a small collection of bars and restaurants.
Chanthaburi has been long inhabited, with neolithic artifacts having been discovered in the region.
Chong was the first Mon-Khmer hunting-gathering community to have settled in the eastern forests in what are now Chanthaburi, Trat and Rayong provinces in ca. the 13th century A.D. The first settlement in Chanthaburi was near Khao Sa Bap. The forest area, especially on the boundary between Chanthaburi and Trat, was abundant in herbs and forest products such as gamboge, lac, wax, cardamom, eaglewood, rattan, cinnamon, etc. Deforestation for cultivation as well as habitation by Thai and Chinese people has shrunken the forest. Hunting and gathering has been made illegal, so the hunter-gatherers were forced to change their lifestyle and become urban labourers or farmers. Most of the ‘Chong’ now live at Ban Khlong Phlu in Amphoe Khao Khitchakut.
A new city was established in 1657 A.D. at Ban Lum on the west bank of the Chanthaburi River. At the fall of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya in 1767 A.D., King Taksin the Great, then Phraya Wachiraprakan, led a troop of some 500 soldiers to break through and head eastward to occupy Chanthaburi. He took 5 months to store foodstuffs and recruit a troop of 5,000 Thai and Chinese soldiers to regain the independence of the kingdom. Monuments and memorials built to commemorate the historic event well reflect the pride of the people of Chanthaburi.
The city was relocated to the highlands at Ban Noen Wong in the reign of King Rama III to prevent a Vietnamese invasion, but due to its far distance from water sources was moved back to Ban Lum in the reign of King Rama V. Chanthaburi used to be occupied by France for 11 years in a Thai – French dispute. Thailand had to surrender its territory on the left bank of the Mekong River to France in return for Chanthaburi, which was later established as a province in 1933 A.D.
Chantaburi is about 4 hours by bus from Bangkok.
The nearest border crossing with Cambodia is at Ban Pakard, which faces Phsar Prum in Cambodia. It is 1-2 hours from Chantaburi by minibus (~100 baht) or songthaew (~40 baht). Pailin is a further 18 km ($4 by motorbike taxi) from the border. If direct connections to Ban Pakard are hard to find, take any northbound bus on Highway 317 (e.g. to Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram or Aranyaprathet). Ask to get off at Pong Nam Rong (โป่งน้ำร้อน, write it in Thai so you can show it to the bus driver). In Pong Nam Rong, songthaew connect with the border crossing. Northbound buses will call at Aranyaprathet, the busiest Thai-Khmer crossing. For coastal Cambodia, head to Trat in Thailand and continue to the Koh Kong border from there.
The province is accessible by 5 routes:
From Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) on Sukhumwit Road Air-conditioned Bus Transport Co., Ltd., there are buses leaving daily, for more details, Tel. 0 2391 2504; Chanthaburi office, Tel. 0 3932 2197.
Non Air-conditioned Bus There are non-scheduled buses leaving the Eastern Bus Terminal, for more details: Tel. 0 2391 2504.
From Mo Chit 2 or Northern Bus Terminal (Chatuchak) on Kamphaeng Phet Road
Transport Co., Ltd., there are buses leaving daily, Tel. 0 2936 2852
Buses are also available from Chanthaburi to other provinces including Aranyaprathet, Nakhon Ratchasima, Trat, Rayong, Sa Kaeo, Saraburi, Buri Ram, Prachinburi, and Tak. For more information, please contact the Chanthaburi Bus Terminal at Tel. 0 3932 2197.
By Mini Van
Victory Monument (Anusawaree Chai) in Bangkok has mini vans to many near by cities, including Chantaburi. The van to Chantaburi takes anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours depending on the driver and traffic. It makes one stop about an 75 kilometers outside Bangkok. The van stops in Chantaburi just outside town at the Tesco Lotus. The vans also leave from the Tesco going to Victory Monument.
The vans usually run from 6am until 8pm. They leave every hour, but make sure you arrive 20-30 minutes before the time you want to leave, because when the van is full (13 people) it will leave and another van may not be available for another hour.
As of September 2011 the cost is 200Baht each way.
The City Pillar & the Taksin Maharat Shrine, are located at Tha Luang Road in front of the Taksin Military Barracks. Opposite stands an old building (Former town hall) which was erected during the reign of King Rama VI.
Taksin Maharat Memorial, Liap Noen Road (near to park). The equestrian statue is guarded by statues of his four royal guards. The expression on the king's face clearly shows the resoluteness and determination to restore the national independence. The pond is stocked with a large variety of fish.
Si Chan Road is the commercial centre of the gem business. Even though actual gem-mining in the province is not extensive, Chanthaburi remains a major centre for gem dealings with stones from abroad being bought and sold. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, it attracts a large crowd of gem dealers and visitors.
Across the Chanthaburi River (from Si Chan Road) and left turn 1 km from the bridge, is around 800m off the main road is Wat Phai Lom. The Ram lll-era Ubosot features wall murals on all four sides portraying the story of Lord Buddha with Chinese floral designs as well as illustrations of foreigners. There is also a ubosot of western architectural influence attesting to Chanthaburi's artistic and cultural contact with the western world.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Chanthanimit Road on the river bank. This Catholic cathedral is the largest in Thailand. Built in 1909, it is of Gothic architectural style. The original spires were taken down during World War II to make it less conspicuous as a possible target; they have since been replaced.
Wat Thong Thua, 4 km from town, Sukhumwit Highway, is the site of an ancient Bot which was built in Khmer-style temple. It has a large collection of ancient Khmer sculptures such as lintels, sandstone door columns carved in various designs & inscription stone. Nearby is the Muang Phaniat archaeological site with laterite base of Khmer religious sanctuary and moats marking the town limit to the south. The ancient town is believed to have been dated from the 12th-16th century(Buddhist Era).
On Chanthaburi-Tha Mai-Khung Wiman Route Wat Phlup at Tambon Bang Kacha, southwest of town, was the site of an old community during the late Ayutthaya period. Special features are two ancient pagodas of different styles and an old Thai wooden pavilion.
The ancient site of Khai Noen Wong, at Tambon Bang Kacha, was established in 1834 during the reign of King Rama lll. The town was moved from Ban Lum to this new location because of its high ground (which more suitable for defensive purposes against the invading Vietnamese). The laterite walls and bricks from the old town were also dismantled and moved to the new site. A severe drought during the reign of King Rama V forced its return to the original site at Ban Lum.
The old town at Khai Noen Wong was square-shaped with extensive laterite walls mounted with large cannons. Each side had its own ramparts and defensive moats. It was regarded as a powerful military camp of the time. The town's principal temple was Wat Yothanimit
National maritime museum, the Underwater Archaeological Office is located within Khai Noen Wong specialising in exhibits on Thailand's merchant marine and items discovered from underwater archaeological explorations from all over the country. There are also exhibits of ancient sailing routes and products. An exhibition chamber deals with the history and culture of Chanthaburi.
Khao Laem Sing Forest Park , Tha Mai-Bang Kachai route, 25 km from Tha Mai, passes through Wat Khao Laem Sing right up to the park HQ on a hill. Alternatively, visitors can charter a boat from Laem Sing beach to Ao Krathing Beach, just 400 metres away, and walk up to the park. Camping is allowed on application.
Khao Laem Sing is a small hill 172 metres above the sea. Located to the east of the mouth of the Chanthaburi River, it has a cape jutting into the sea which looks like a sprawling lion. There is an old fortification called Pom Phairi Phinat built during the reign of King Rama lll.
Hat Ao Yang is a small beach some 2km before the park. Cool and shady, it offers accommodation facilities for visitors.
Hat Khung Wiman, Hat Khung Kraben, Hat Laem Sadet and Hat Chao Lao are all peaceful beaches in Tha Mai district and clustered in an area about 30km from town. At Km. 310 of Highway No. 3 is a right turn into Highway No. 3399 which leads to the area. Or one can proceed from Tha Mai district on the route passing through Wang Tanot dam. There are accommodation facilities for tourists, particularly at Hat Chao Lao where there are several hotels and bungalows to choose from. About one kilometre off shore from Hat Chao Lao are ranges of shallow water coral reefs covering an area of 14 square kilometres. Glass-bottomed boats are available. Over at Ao Khung Kraben are nature trails to study mangrove areas
Tham Khao Wang, at Ban Khao Wongkot, Kaeng Hang Maeo district, is part of the Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park. About 40 km before Chanthaburi (Highway No 3 at Km. 286:Ban Kong Din) left turn into the park, 11 km or turn into Km 288 (Talat Na Yai Arm).
Khao Wong, limestone hills standing in a circular cluster with cliffs. It containing stalagmites & stalactites. There are passages connecting to some of the chambers. The walking trails outside offer views of varied plantlife. There are no natural lights inside the cave. The best time for cave exploring is between Feb-Apr, otherwise (in other month) they tend to be flooded (raining season).
Gems Market- At Si Chan Road & Trok Krachang (center of town) offer world glass gems and precious stones.
Local Mats - mats woven from Kok reed is at Ban Bang Sa Kaeo & Ban Samet Ngam. Purses & coasters is some of the the products.
Local Seafood products is worth to try. The Kuai Tieo Mu Lieng (Pork Noddle) is popular noodle soup with local herbs. Mu Chamuang (Pork Sweet Sour Curry)
Fruits - the best durian, rambutan & mangosteen in Thailand. Durian snacks such as chewy Durian Kwuan and crisp fried Durian Thot Krop is nice.
Chanthaburi Riverside Hotel & Resort