Chanthaburi

Chanthaburi riverside

Chanthaburi (จันทบุรี), 245 km from Bangkok, is the capital of the eponymous province in Eastern Thailand. It is a useful transport hub for accessing the islands Ko Chang and Ko Kut and also several of the border crossings with Cambodia.

Understand

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 and 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.

History

Chanthaburi has long been inhabited, with neolithic artefacts having been discovered in the region.

Chong was the first Mon-Khmer hunter-gatherer community to have settled in the eastern forests in what are now Chanthaburi, Trat and Rayong Provinces in ca. 13th century CE. 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 shrunk 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 CE at Ban Lum on the west bank of the Chanthaburi River. At the fall of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya in 1767, 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 distance from water sources was moved back to Ban Lum in the reign of King Rama V. Chanthaburi was 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.

Get in

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 (USD4 by motorbike taxi) from the border. If direct connections to Ban Pakard are hard to find, take any northbound bus on Hwy 317 (i.e., 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, songthaews 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.

By car

The province is accessible by 5 routes:

  1. Hwy 3, start from Bang Na, Bangkok, via Chon Buri – Bang Saen – Si Racha – Pattaya – Sattahip – Ban Chang – Rayong – Chanthaburi, a total distance of 330 km.
  2. Hwy 36, start from km140 on Sukhumvit Rd in Bang Lamung, Chonburi, turn left at Krathing Lai T-junction via Pira Circuit to end at Choeng Noen, Rayong Province, a distance of 60 km, then turn onto Hwy 3 for 108 km to Chanthaburi, a total distance of 308 km.
  3. Hwy 344, the Ban Bueng – Klaeng route, saving a distance of up to 70 km, start from km98 on Sukhumvit Rd in Chonburi, via Ban Bueng in Chonburi Province, Wang Chan and Klaeng in Rayong Province, a distance of 110 km. Continue on Hwy 3 for 58 km to Chanthaburi, a total distance of 266 km.
  4. Linking the northeast and the east, start at km200 on Hwy 33 from Kabinburi of Prachin Buri Province, turn right at km230 in Sa Kaeo Province onto Hwy 317, continue for 189 km via Wang Nam Yen, Soi Dao, Pong Nam Ron, Makham to Chanthaburi, a total distance of 219 km from Kabinburi.
  5. Motorway – Hwy 7, start from Si Nakharin Rd in Bangkok and end in Pattaya, Chonburi, a distance of 90 km. Then continue on Hwy 36 for 50 km and Hwy 3 for another 108 km, a total distance of 248 km.

By bus

From Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) on Sukhumwit Rd

Private operators:

Non-air conditioned bus. There are non-scheduled buses leaving the Eastern Bus Terminal, for more details: Tel. +66 2 3912504.

From Mo Chit 2 or Northern Bus Terminal (Chatuchak) on Kamphaeng Phet Rd

Private operators:

Buses are also available from Chanthaburi to other provinces including Aranyaprathet, Nakhon Ratchasima, Trat, Rayong, Sa Kaeo, Saraburi, Buriram, Prachinburi, and Tak. For more information, contact the Chanthaburi Bus Terminal at Tel. +66 39 322197.

By minivan

Victory Monument (Anusawaree Chai) in Bangkok has minivans to many nearby 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 km 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 06:00-20:00. 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. The cost is 200 baht each way (Sep 2011).

See

Not to be confused with Canterbury Cathedral

Do

Rayong-Chantaburi Route

Chanthaburi-Krathing Wrathing Waterfall Route

Buy

Eat

Local seafood products worth trying include The Kuai Tieo Mu Lieng (pork noddle soup with local herbs) and Mu Chamuang (pork sweet-sour curry).

Fruit: the best durian, rambutan, and mangosteens in Thailand. Durian snacks such as durian kwuan and crispy fried durian thot krop is nice.

Sleep

Go next

Thailand

Cambodia

Routes through Chanthaburi

Bangkok Ban Phe  W  E  Trat


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