Chanthaburi is a laid-back riverside town where you can shop for sparkling gemstones and explore a picturesque historic district. The town is set on the banks of the Chanthaburi River and surrounded by national parks that protect lush forests, cascading waterfalls and herds of wild elephants.
Things to do in Chanthaburi
Chanthaboon Waterfront Community stretches along the riverbank and recalls the town’s fascinating past. Many of the beautifully restored French colonial buildings have been reimagined as trendy cafes, museums and galleries. You’ll also see Chinese and Vietnamese influences in Chanthaburi architecture. Stop by the Chanthaboon Learning House to view historic photographs, artwork and exhibits on the town’s local history.
Chanthaburi is a gemstone trading hub and hosts a bustling weekend market where you can watch shimmering emeralds, sapphires and rubies change hands. The town is dotted with jewellery stores where you can purchase gemstone souvenirs.
Chanthaburi is a gateway to Khao Khitchakut National Park, where you can explore the jungle-covered Soi Dao Mountains and visit an ancient hilltop temple. There’s a chance to see wild elephants roaming the park, as well as more than 120 species of birds, including the coral-billed ground cuckoo. Namtok Phlio National Park is laced with trails that take you to tumbling waterfalls and emerald-green pools. The park is dotted with moss-covered stupas built during the reign of King Rama V.
Chanthaburi is famous for colourful tropical fruits, including the notorious durian, which you can sample at street food stalls - durian curry is a local specialty. You’ll also find vendors selling classics like Pad Thai and mango sticky rice.
Getting around Chanthaburi
Chanthaburi is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot, especially in the Chanthaboon Waterfront Community. Tuk-tuks and “songthaew” shared taxis are a fast and affordable way to get around town while scooter rentals offer the freedom to explore surrounding sights and attractions at your own pace. Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok is a three-hour drive away.