An introduction to Chantaburi
Gem Centre of Thailand
|Off the tourist trails,
is literally a real gem of a place which travellers should not miss
Chantaburi, or "Muang Chan"
as Thais call it, is the gem centre of Thailand. Here, rubies, sapphires
and a dazzling array of semi-precious stones are cut and polished
for the international gem market. But there is more to Chantaburi
than meets the eye.
The town has a rich character. The French ruled it for a brief
period during the 19th century, and that part of the past is still
reflected in the architecture that shows Indochinese colonial-period
influences in buildings and street planning.
The French influence
is most obvious in the numerous cafe-style street restaurants, which
incidentally serve some of the town's finest foods. There is also
a large Vietnamese-Chinese community in the town.
riverbanks are many wooden stilt houses, typical all over Thailand.
But those in Chantaburi are in better state and are very photogenic.
The town is also home to the largest Christian church in Thailand,
the focal point of Catholics in the country.
Chantaburi is also well known for its abundance of tropical
fruits such as rambutan, durian, mangosteen, and zalacca. Its fruit
market is one of the best in the land, and Thais from all over come
to buy them as prices are very low and quality is very high. . The
area is likewise famed for rattan work. You can find products such
as baskets, mattresses, and fancy wicker works extensively displayed
in the shops and markets.
Just out of town is the Phliu waterfall
in the Khoa Sabab National Park. This place is ideal for swimming.
There is also an unusual chedi near the falls, which commemorates
the death of King Rama V's consort who was drawn in a boating accident
near Bangpa-In Palace.