Asia : Southeast Asia : Thailand : Eastern Thailand : Inner Eastern Thailand : Chachoengsao
Chachoengsao is the Capital City of the Province of this name in Eastern Thailand.
Chachoengsao, also known by the provincial nickname Paet Riw, 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 Riw. 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 Riw" 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. The word 'Paet', or แปด, means 'Eight' in English, whereas 'Riw, ริ้ว in Thai, means slices, or strips.
From Bangkok, there are three routes:-
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.
A minibus comes from Chonburi, along the main street of that city. Chachoengsao is the first main stop on its route, and it stops at the bus station (and possibly further along in this spread out city). Cost is B50.
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.
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.
This city is well spread out. The main shopping strip is along the river, immediately to the north of the main through road across the river.There does not appear to be any hotel in this area.
Heading back in the Bangkok direction along the above main road, is the train station about 2km distant, followed about another km with the bus station, on the road off to the left of the hospital. Going south along the river from the city strip (Maruphong Rd), is the University where the road ends about 1Km along. From the end of this road, turn right and you will see Wat Sothon Temple a few hundred metres distant on the left. From the railway station, the city centre is about 2km to the left, and the bus station about 1Km to the right. About 300 metres to the left of the station, and on the opposite side of the road is New Sisothon Rd. After 2Km you come to the University at the end of this road on the left. Wat Sothon is a couple of hundred metres to your right. Note that New Sisothon Rd (or New Srisothon), and Sisothon (or Sri Sothon)Rd are not the same road. The "old" one is to the right of the train station. It is actually highway 314 in that direction. Also, New Sisothon Rd is also written on many road signs in English as "Sisothon Tai Mai".
These are covered pick-up trucks with two benches in the back, and indeed the name means "two rows" 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.
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). From the bus station to the university is B70.
There are now aircon buses which go around town. A number 5 bus at the bus station (to the rear) goes to Wat Sothon and costs B10. It is blue/white in colour.
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.
There are good street eats close to the Big C on New Sisothon Rd. Buy your beer at the nearby 711 (get them to open it for you), then choose what you want to eat, and take a seat at one of the tables to the rear of the food stall.
There are also several restaurants along this road, some look to be bars also.
For a bar with a buzzing but comfortable atmosphere go to Chaun Bar (Chaun meaning 'Spoon' in Thai), located on the same road as Wat Sothon. 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.
Due to the proximity of the local university, Chachoengsao town centre contains a variety of bars all along New Sri Sothon Road which are relatively busy during the week and become more busy nearing the end of the week. It's not difficult to find somewhere to your tastes, unless those tastes are 'quiet and peaceful'.
There are a vast number of coffee shops in Chachoengsao, much like any large town in Thailand. Some of the better ones are: