One night is not enough in Chanthaburi. I was invited to Chanthaburi by Tourism Authority of Thailand on a post TBEX Asia 2015 FAM trip. We stayed in the Old Town Chanthaboon. It right by the Chathaburi River. The town is supposed to be 300 years old, prominent in the time of King Narai (1665-1688).
We were staying at the Rajamaitri Historic Inn which is right in the middle of the old town! As we had reached by early evening, I had time to go out and explore on my own. The old community is stretched along the Sukhaphiban Road. From the Inn I turned right and eventually walked to this site!
It was close to a shrine. While I reached the shrine, it started to rain. I sat in the porch but thankfully the rain stopped after a short while. I walked around and saw this long boat tied around to the steps. There was no one around!
The boat was tied close to this grand structure. It was a brooding weather. It felt like tall armed knights would come out anytime, cut the rope and sail away in the boat tied to the shore! If they noticed me they might carry me along! But then right in front of the shrine was a busy road, which cut short my day dreaming about knights in the brooding weather!
The Old town Chanthaboon was a thriving community of Thais, Vietnamese and Chinese in the old times. King Rama V is said to have visited it twice. But the community gradually went in decline. Then in 1990 there was a fire followed by a flood in 1999. But in 2009 restoration efforts started.
Prapapan Chatmalai took us to show the Chanthaboon Learning Centre in the morning. I was lucky she gave me a lift on her scooty to the center. She is an active member of the community. She is involved in the committee responsible for the restoration of the old town. I hope I will be as active as her in my 60s.
The Chanthaboon Learning center has pictures of the town displayed over the building. I saw something similar in the center first. I tried to copy it but I need to go back and try this shot again! You can still see what a beautiful old town Chathaboon is.
Many walls have graffiti and it adds to the charm of the place. You can see more pictures of Chathaburi in my previous post.
Our final stop was The Church of Immaculate Conception which has been built by the Vietnamese community.
I could have happily stayed for another night at both Rayong and Chathaburi. But then I hope there is going to be a next time.
The historical facts about the town has been taken from this Bangkok Post article about Chanthaboon.
Even though I spent just one night in Chanthaburi I did a lot with my group. I was invited to Chanthaburi by Tourism Authority of Thailand as a post TBEX Asia 2015 FAM trip. I would love to spend more time both at Rayong and Chanthaburi, I did check out many tourist places in Chanthaburi Thailand. The same is true for Rayong.
Our first stop was Kung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Study Center which works for the conservation of turtles and other sea creatures! The visitors can indulge in making artificial reef, collecting crab eggs and feeding the fish and turtles and more.
Quoting from the TAT brochure ” Kung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Study Center was founded in 1982 and it is responsible for studying and researching the natural ecosystem in order to find proper ways to develop the coastal areas in Chanthaburi Province.”
I managed to click the barn swallows at the study center in middle of everything. There was a time I used to click birds quite regularly but now I do it much less!
Our second stop was the view point at Chanthaburi by the sea. As you can see it was a pretty place. There are a few small restaurants and street vendors around the venue.
Along the fence of the area couples come and tie a love lock! Now you know what to bring if you are visiting the are! We went for lunch at a local restaurant after this.
Our next stop was Ban Semet Ngam Chanthaboon Mat Handicraft Center. I did weaving at the TBEX venue itself. Poor Tinin was surprised with all the hands working around him! He often thought they were out to grab him! But he came back alright!
We reached Rajamaitri Historic Inn in the late afternoon. That gave me time to go out and explore the Old Town Chanthaboon Waterfront area. The first picture of this post is from the evening walk.
I turned right from the hotel and literally walked into Chao Mae Kuan Im Shrine which is a Chinese Temple. There were a few cats and I around the premises.
Right next to the shrine was this street art. I spotted art on the walls at many places in Chanthaburi.
Walking a little further I stumbled upon the Wat Bot Muang which is Buddhist Shrine. I walked through the premises and excited via the gate across. That led me to the modern part of the city. There is a big difference between the two! In Old Town Chanthaboon you literally step back in time!
While we were having dinner at the next door restaurant we saw the lanterns floating by on the Chanthaboon River. It was part of the Chinese week long vegetarian festival.
After dinner I was settling in my room when I heard this loud noise on the street. It was the procession of the Chinese vegetarian festival coming back to town. They wear white for the duration of the festival.
As the procession went ahead I too retired for the night. We were starting early by visiting the old market in Chanthaburi.
I did get up early to go to the market. The Old Town Chanthaboon Waterfront is a photographers delight. The model you see are friends from TAT. Kook on the left is a talented photographer. He was not too thrilled to be invited to pose for the camera! Taya should actually try to be a professional model, she is so good at facing the camera! In real life she works with TAT Dubai.
In the old market, which is said to be 100 years old, I had this orange Thai Tea. When I asked my Thai friends why the tea was orange they said because it was from Sri Lanka! I told them I have been to Sri Lanka but I never saw orange tea there. So the mystery remains unsolved.
Our last stop was the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception is a grand place. It has been built by the Vietnamese Christian Community which fled Vietnam due to the pursecution by the then Buddhist King. The migration is supposed to happen about 400 years ago. The statue of the Virgin Mary is covered in gold, gems, and enamel. Her dress is made of blue and white sapphires! Chanthaburi is famous for its gems but I could not explore that aspect of the town.
I have used about 15 pictures in this post and I am still not done with the story. But before I can write more, there will be a break as I am heading to Thailand (again) tomorrow. This time I am leading an all women’s group with Byond Travel to Krabi and Bangkok.
I also took a break (a rare family vacation too) in Goa about which I have not even started. So stay tuned for a lot of stories in the last few days of November and the month of December.
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