Located on Thailand’s eastern coast and bordering Cambodia, Chanthaburi is best known for its rich history, fresh fruits and seafood, and relaxing beaches. Also known as “City of the Moon”, Chanthaburi is a true melting pot of Asian cultures and that is reflected on the city’s architecture, historical sites and food. The city is also very well known for its precious gems, so be sure to keep an eye out for some of the most beautiful jewels in Thailand.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Chanthaburi is home to a thriving Vietnamese population. Many of them came here during the 19th and 20th centuries, fleeing religious persecution and other struggles in their home country. That’s why Chanthaburi is home to Thailand’s largest church: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Built in the 17th century, the church features impressive Gothic-style stained-glass windows and a statue of Virgin Mary at its entrance.
Wat Bog Muang
Of course, you’re still in Thailand so there are plenty of temples in Chanthaburi. One of its most well-known ones is Wat Bog Muang, believed to be the city’s oldest temples. Constructed during the Ayutthaya Kingdom era, this Thai Thereavada Buddhist temple features a gold Sri Lankan-style chedi that is quite visible among the Chanthaburi skyline.
Chanthaburi Waterfront Community
Some 300 years ago, this area on the banks of the Mae Nam Chanthaburi was where farmers and merchants did their commerce. Later, Chinese and Vietnam traders and migrants flocked here for a place to live and work. Today, the 1km-long street is filled with restored buildings, interesting art galleries, tasty food stalls and coffee shops.
For decades, gem traders have gathered here every weekend to buy and sell their precious stones. Although Chanthaburi once flourished with gem mines, today Burmese traders have taken over those sites for commercial purposes. Locally mined gems are thus of lower international quality but the gem traders who come here have also spent some time collecting the most precious stones from around the world. Buying and selling is not for the inexperienced here, but the market (which sets up every weekend on Th Si Chan or “Gem Road”) offers a unique look into one of the city’s most ancient traditions.
Nam Tok Phlio National Park
This national park is one of the most popular ones in the area surrounding Chanthaburi city. You’ll find it about 15km southeast of the city, and realize you’re getting close once you come up onto the 1km of food stalls that have set up in front of the park. Inside, you’ll find a nice trail for trekking, beautiful waterfalls and some monuments.
Chanthaburi Fruit Festival
Like we’ve said, Chanthaburi is best known for its tropical fruits so it’s no wonder there’s an annual festival dedicated to just that here. Every year, around the end of May and beginning of June, makeshift stalls set up to celebrate the incredible amount of tropical produce that is grown in the city’s surrounding orchards. You’ll have to try a bite of durian, also known locally as the “King of Fruits”.
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