Chanthaburi, a province located in the eastern part of Thailand is a land full of promises for the travellers. It holds within itself so many surprises and offers you an experience like no other. There are so many things to do in Chanthaburi and you might probably need a whole weekend to explore this part of the country. This Thai province is one that is yet to be explored.
Top 7 Things To Do In Chanthaburi
From visiting markets to going on a hike, there are just so many options for the things to do in Chanthaburi, Thailand. This province goes on to prove that Thailand is not just about Bangkok and Pattaya; there is so much more to this amazing country.
1. Somdet Phra Chao Taksin Shrine
King Taksin the Great holds great respect in the hearts of the people of this country. He is a symbol of bravery and a national hero, who drove away from the Burmese from the country. Though he is dead, he lives on in Somdet Phra Chao Taksin Shrine, that is dedicated to him. A statue of him, sitting on a throne, is one of the prominent images you will see in this shrine. There is yet another statue of him posing as he is meditating. These are just a couple of the statues from many other statues which are housed in this shrine. Apart from him, there are also plenty of golden Buddha statues inside the shrine. The shrine that you will visit is a renovated version of it, made completely with marble, and with a nine-tiered gold umbrella hanging from the ceiling. It is a spectacular sight. Also, every year on December 28th, the date which is to be believed when King Taksin ascended the throne, there are celebrations held at the shrine and people from all over descend upon the shrine to make offerings and seek blessings.
2. Wat Phai Lom
This was a monastery at some point in time, where monks studied about Buddhism and offered their prayers. This 18th-century monastery was built during the Ayutthaya period. The highlight of this place or temple is a large golden reclining Buddha. This is on a heavily-ornate pedestal and around which there are other images of Lord Buddha in different poses - standing, sitting, meditating - it is all around the reclining statue. What also attracts you is the interior of this temple. The Ubosot, the holiest prayer hall in the complex, is surrounded by wall murals on all four sides, depicting the story of lives and times of Lord Buddha, along with Chinese floral designs and illustrations of many other foreign artists. These murals give you a glimpse of the intricate decor as well as the life of Lord Buddha. It is a place that you must visit, just for the sheer simplicity of its architecture blended with the grandeur of the golden Buddha.
3. Chanthaburi Waterfront Community
This place is a sneak-peek into the bygone era of Thailand. This is the old town and is set along the Sukhapiban Road. It is a charming little place where history literally comes alive. It is called the Chanthaburi Waterfront Community for a reason; there are locals who reside there and they open their hearts and shops to everyone who visits those alleys. French-built shop-houses and historic Thai-Chinese temples form part of these alleys, which are tucked away along the Chanthaburi river. It is a perfect blend of old and new, well...mostly old buildings, which are open museums for anyone to explore. It is a cute little place, where cafes and restaurants have sprung up in the recent past, but nothing that could take away the old world charm of these alleys, brimming with stories that are waiting to be told. There is also a Learning House here which showcases the neighbourhood photos, paintings and architectural designs, that give us a glimpse into the Chinese and French influence in all the buildings located here. It is one culture-filled trip that you should not miss.
4. Cathedral Of The Immaculate Conception
This Gothic-style church in Chanthaburi province is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in the whole of the country. In a country, which is dotted with Buddhist shrines and monasteries, it is quite surprising to see such a magnificent church, which dates back to more than 300 years. The present building though was renovated in the recent past but still retains the charm. The story goes that it was in the 1700s that the Catholic community first made its presence felt here in this province and made it their home. The church itself looks stunning with its colourful glass-stained images and the high ceilings, et all. An interesting fact and probably the highlight of this cathedral is that there is a statue of Virgin Mary, decorated with gems and jewels, which is what Chanthaburi is mostly known for. This truly stands out from the rest. There are also statues of Saints Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Virgin Mary. This being one of the biggest cathedrals of Thailand, certainly deserves a visit.
5. Namtok Phlio National Park
Located in the Chanthaburi province, this national park is a pretty sight for sore eyes. There are mountains and there are waterfalls in abundance here and is a beautiful nature trail to go on. It is one of those things to do around Chanthaburi in Thailand and a brilliant one at that. Among the waterfalls, Namtol Phliu, is the most popular one. It is huge and stunning at the same time, which has two streams that later join together and flow through the many rocks and high cliffs of this National park. It is also home to varieties of fish like the Mahseer barb; some of the visitors visit this place just for this spectacle. There are many other interesting things that you will come across during your hike here. One of them happens to be a brick pyramidal memorial in the name of Phra Nang Chao Sunanthakumarirat, who was King Rama V’s beloved queen, who died in a boat accident. There are also a couple of other waterfalls, just as rich and splendid as the main waterfall, which includes Makok and Khlong Nalai waterfalls. There are plenty of trees of various species to keep you company all the while.
6. Nong Bua Thai Dessert Market
Your trip to Chanthaburi will not be complete without visiting Nong Bua. If you are a foodie, you will fall in love with this place, which serves up some of the best local delicacies - be it spicy or sweet - you will find it all here. This was previously a fisherman village, where people frequented this place to sell and buy fish. Today, it is known for the authentic and delicious food and drinks that they sell here. There is some very special food and desserts waiting for whoever visits this market. Also, it is a starting point for a boat trip in the Bang Sra Kao canal, which starts at the end of this market and ends at the King Taksin Shipyard. The market is a perfect place to learn more about the diverse culture of this charming land, and what better way to discover that than through their local delicacies!
7. Chanthaburi Gem Market
This is definitely not your traditional market, where you go to the stores and buy yourself a gem of your choice. Getting the gem of your choice here is total hard work and is quite quirky, to say the least. Known as the Talad Ploy, this market is open on the weekends when buyers and sellers from all over the world descend upon this market. First, you need to find yourself a trading desk, which will be rented out to you for a commission and then you put out a sign as to what you are looking for. Potential sellers will come to your desk and display the items that they have, and if all goes well, you have yourself a deal! The gem market here is mostly known for its sapphires and has it in abundance, in its purest form. Behind the market, there are by lanes, where you find a number of ‘burners’, which are the treating centres. This is the Thai way of heat treatment and glass-filling. If you want documentation of what gems you have bought, there is a gemological lab, where you can get identification reports within a couple of hours. This is truly one-of-a-kind experience that you will not want to miss out on.
There are a lot many things to do in Chanthaburi like visiting the King Taksin park and the likes, which are as exciting a place as any that we have listed. This is just a glimpse of what you can look forward to in this charming little province. So, pack your bags and plan a trip to Thailand for an adventurous vacation like never before!
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