Chanthaburi, a town located on the banks of the Chanthaburi River in the east of Thailand, enjoys fertility in soil and natural resources. It’s also earned its fame of being the ‘City of Gems’ in Thailand. If you think gemstones is what this glittering town is all about, then you would literally be amazed at the abundant historic culture and delicious local Thai food in Chanthaburi that nowhere else could have offered.
A 3.5-hours drive from Bangkok brought us to Chanthaburi. Unlike all our previous trips, this time we genuinely experienced Chanthaburi, exploring its deep down inner beauty.
Exploration the hidden gems in Chanthaburi
One of the signature tourist attraction in Chanthaburi is Noen Nang Phaya. Standing at the observation deck, the immense charm of the ocean filled the eyes with amazement. Take a deep breath, feel the tranquil vibe of the sea. It’s refreshing even after a long road ride.
The ignorant me have never known that the largest cathedral in Thailand is situated in this charming small town. Since its establishment in 1711, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception has gone through several extensions. The current gothic cathedral was a meticulous design in 1909. The interiors of the cathedral captured our eyes, the stained-glass windows were paintings of Bible stories. There was a volunteer guide at the cathedral explaining all the beautiful stories and history behind each of the tile and wall.
After crossing a little bridge, we reached Chanthaboon Riverside Community. Here I was amid of an old-age street with a mix of historic, cultural architecture. It was like travelling to the old times on a time capsule. The fun of this community was the local street food stalls on both sides of the road. Never ever miss the egg waffles – it’s a memory of my grandparents’ times. It’s also a community full of local characteristics! It is literally an unspoiled tourist attraction and local culture.
The City of Gems
The fame ‘City of Gems’ was not earned without authenticity. Chanthaburi is famous for its production of ruby and sapphire gemstones. Its gemstone marketplace was bustling and lively with both local and overseas buyers. Not far in this marketplace situated the Chanthaburi Gem and Jewelry Center where we could find out all the characteristics of gemstones in the exhibition rooms and buy some beautifully handcrafted jewellery. In this Center, I also learnt how to polish a gemstone. It was literally an interesting visit.
I also visited BaoPloy Lekpetch and experience gemstone mining. From searching, digging, and washing, you might have a chance to found some raw ruby and sapphires. This experience was really once-in-a-lifetime, a piece of glittering gemstone jewellery is a result of careful hand-sourcing and crafting. It was an experience that nowhere else I could easily fine, except this town of gemstones – Chanthaburi. Now, I know why jewellery is a privileged gift.
Another tourist attraction that I highly recommend for visiting isKung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Study Center. This Center offers information about blue crab and oyster farming. There is also a chance for you to feed the sea turtles, sharks and snappers. For those who plan to visit Chanthaburi with their children, this study center should be on the top of your itinerary.
Food, Drinks, Entertainment and Accommodation
An unforgettable journey must include comfortable accommodation. We highly recommend Varee Diva Rimnaam located by the river or Maneechan Resort Chanthaburi. The latter resort is the number one accommodation in Chanthaburi, with a long history in providing the most attentive and friendly service and delicious local cuisine.
Chanthaburi is also famous for its juicy, plump oysters. If you are an oyster lover, we recommend you to try Paa Louise Lung Thom Homestay, which is located nearby an oyster farm. The fun of knowing how the oysters are farmed and harvested before serving them on the dining table was fascinating! Fresh and juicy! Every slurp was a satisfactory experience on our taste buds – fresh and juicy!
Despite fresh oysters, Chanthaburi is a small town full of gourmet gems. If you want to enjoy a feast of fresh seafood, Pu Paa Tha Chalab is your choice. One of their most popular signature dishes is crab meatballs. It was a mouthful of crab meat! Not very into seafood? No problem! Go straight to Junn Restaurant for its famous Stewed chicken with durian – smooth and surprisingly tasty The smell of durian became so mild that it turned into a kind of fragrant in the mouth.
Choices for good food do not stop at Thai food only. There is also beautiful western cuisine available in Chanthaburi. Peggy’s Cove is your choice! If you would like some entertainment in the evening, spending some time to indulge yourself in a joyful tune of live music, Koff House Bar & Eatery is where you could enjoy yourself!
Lovely Journey in Chanthaburi
Our sincere thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand for their sponsorship and surprising experience in Chanthaburi. The beauty of Chanthaburi is definitely its authentic localism and culture. The whole journey is an irresistible kind of Thai-ness. A kind of Thai-ness that I will never ever forget!
Who in Gourmet Bangkok team joined the event at Niche?
Jeknoi Changpuak ~ A lifestyle journalist, sharp brain, and Chinese guru Jeknoi was born in Taiwan and is a linguist. Ever since joining the Gourmet Bangkok Team, he has been contributing to our Chinese articles. He is a professional journalist and interviews successful businessmen and special persons for his column in various Chinese newspapers published in Taiwan. He is the owner and founder of 泰國菁菁寮 Jeknoi Changpuak.