Travel to Chanthaburi Guide: Everything You Need to Know411
BY Dr. Theodore (Professor Bear)

Travel to Chanthaburi Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Chanthaburi, the City of the Moon, is better known for its mountainous land and waterfalls. Whether you have always been keen to explore countryside sea beaches and want to enjoy fishing or seeing the historical architecture, Chanthaburi is one of the best destinations in Thailand that you can ever think of. 

Even though Chanthaburi may not often be part of the hidden gems list for tourists to explore, this place is not to be missed at any cost. With an intriguing culture, this province is ideal for those who want to become travelers instead of mere tourists.

Red Hawk Catching Prey Surface Water Chanthaburi Thailand

Chanthaburi is a small yet eclectic city known for its gem trading center, savory foods, temples, and much more. 

So, may this Travel to Chanthaburi Guide, made to be comprehensive, will help you learn and understand everything you need to know during your planned trip.



What is Chanthaburi?

Chanthaburi Thailand Old Town Waterfront Famous Historic Tourist Destination

Chanthaburi is famous for its abundance of tropical fruits and as a center of gemstones. The eastern province of Chanthaburi is additionally blessed with lush green forests and scenic waterfalls. The Chanthaburi River flows through the city, which has been the home of ancient communities. Quiet fishing villages and peaceful beaches are also not far from the city.

In the early 20th century, Chanthaburi fell under French occupation, which had a lasting impact on the architectural style of many buildings. This influence is particularly evident in the design of numerous structures, including Thailand's most prominent Catholic cathedral, serving a significant Christian population. Chanthaburi is located approximately 245 kilometers from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) and covers an area of 6,338 square kilometers. Administratively, Chanthaburi is divided into the following districts: 

  • Mueang Chanthaburi
  • Tha Mai, Khlong
  • Laem Sing
  • Pong Nam Ron
  • Makham, Soi Dao
  • Na Yai Am
  • Kang Hang Maeo
  • Khao Khitchakut sub-district



Why Visit Chanthaburi?

Noen Nangphaya View Point Chanthaburi Thailand

Chanthaburi has something to offer everyone and is the perfect addition to your itinerary if you spend some time in the East. Many visitors travel there from Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) to Trat and the archipelago of eastern islands, including Koh Chang.

The capital itself, often referred to as Chan, is fascinating, as various cultural influences have shaped it, and is famous for its precious stone and gem trade. In addition to the gem market, the capital boasts a charming old town, Thai temples, food markets, and a Vietnamese-Chinese riverside quarter.

After a few days of exploring the capital, there's still plenty to do in the surrounding province. There are many national parks where you can hike and swim in waterfalls, including Namlok Philo and Khao Khitchakut, or, if you want to spend some time at the beach, you can head to the coastal towns, Laem Singh and Chao Lao.



When is the Best Time to Visit Chanthaburi?

Cathedral Immaculate Conception with Niramon Bridge Chanthaburi Thailand

The best time to enjoy and explore any destination on the Thai mainland is undoubtedly the cool season, spanning from November to February. Nevertheless, the rainy season, particularly in June and July, also holds its appeal, with rain showers typically lasting only a few hours daily.

The rainy season also presents the best time to experience Chanthaburi's beauty, as the waterfalls showcase their magnificence, and taking a refreshing swim in the pools becomes even more delightful.



Where are the Best Places to Stay in Chanthaburi?

Traditional Home Stay Sunset Chanthaburi Thailand

For accommodations, the town itself has a small number of options. But there are several good value options and even a small riverside resort, Wang Phla Resort. River Guesthouse is a solid option for budget travelers. 

Moreover, the KP Grand Hotel is perfect for those who want to take advantage of the facilities, which include a swimming pool, sauna, massage parlor, gym, and even a karaoke bar!

If you want to visit the coast, there are plenty of resorts, especially in Chao Lao. It's the perfect place to escape for a few days of relaxation and a good base for exploring the coast. Smile Beach Boutique Resort is an excellent option for smaller budgets. At the same time, families will enjoy Chao Lao Tosang Beach Hotel.



Where to Eat in Chanthaburi?

Traveler Thai Woman Holding Show Durian Fruit before Eat Fruits Buffet Festival Garden Countryside Chanthaburi Rayong Thailand

Thanks to various cultural influences, some of the food in Chanthaburi is unique to the province, and food lovers will have a great time sampling dishes at the different cheap stalls and cafes around town. 

There are also several markets, including a night market and a fruit market, where you can taste many delicious tropical fruits, including mangosteen, durian, and rambutan. Once you've tried everything available in the capital, you can head to the coast for more culinary delights, as it’s famous for some of the best seafood in Thailand!



How to Get to and From Chanthaburi?

Young Backpack Traveler Getting into Bus Local Bus Karnchanaburi Province Thailand

The most convenient transportation system to Chanthaburi is catching a bus from Bangkok's Ekkamai terminal. However, some buses do leave from the Mo Chit terminal, too.

  • From Ekkamai, buses leave every hour between 2:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. A one-way bus ticket costs 205 THB, and the journey lasts roughly 5.5 hours. The bus departs at 9:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. at Mo Chit, and the ticket price is approximately 210 THB.


  • For minibusses, head to Thaluang Road, with departures every hour and tickets costing 220 THB. The journey time is only 4.5 hours in a minibus because they drive much faster, but not always that safely, so first-class buses are a better option.


  • Buses also depart from other Thailand destinations, including Pattaya, Rayong, and Koh Chang. Buses from Koh Chang take 3 hours to reach Chanthaburi, stopping at Trat on the way, and tickets cost around 140 THB. If you plan to visit Koh Chang after Chanthaburi, buses only go as far as Trat, so you’ll have to transfer to another bus there. Renting a car, driving, or using any private vehicle to explore the province is also possible.



How Do You Get Around Chanthaburi?

Chanthaburi Thailand Unacquainted Tourist Walking Old Town Chanthaboon Waterfront Chanthaboon Is Ancient Waterfront Community Located West Side Chanthaburi River

Once you have arrived in Chanthaburi town, there are several ways of getting around. First, there are 'taxis' in small pickup trucks that can be hailed at many major attractions. The fares are reasonable, but you should always negotiate a price reasonably before starting the journey. If you want to explore the town, it's small enough to navigate on foot, and you'll probably see a lot more.

Motorbikes are the best option for traveling to the coast or the national parks, and they can be rented from a shop close to the Eastern Hotel. The rental price is 300 THB per day, 1,000 THB per week, or 3,000 THB for one month. The shop owner will also give you a map of the area and highlight the main attractions.

In Laem Singh, motorbikes can be rented from Siri guesthouse for 300 THB daily. In Chao Lao, several hotels and resorts will arrange a motorbike for 300 THB daily, and many also offer free motorbicycle rental. However, if your resort doesn't, you can rent from a stand on the main road for 50 THB.


👨‍🎓 Quick Trivia!

Every January – March, people travel to the mountain in Khao Khitchakut National Park in Chanthaburi to worship Buddha’s footprint. It is a famous pilgrimage site for Thai Buddhists to practice their patience and minds.



What to See and Do in Chanthaburi?

Chanthaburi Thailand People Travel Visit Catholic Church Chanthaburi Thailand

Chanthaburi is a coastal treasure tucked away with a lot of potential. It has everything from serene beaches and waterfalls surrounded by forests to charming riverside and coastal villages and a mystical rock mountain revered by Buddhist pilgrims.

This eastern city has a lot to offer for every type of traveler. These are some of the underappreciated grandeurs of Chanthaburi. Still, the city is also famous for tropical fruits, especially durians, gemstones, and Chanthaboon mats. Make sure you go local and discover these treasures. 

For 11 years, the city was occupied by French colonial troops, so you can also find relics from those times—and long-standing Chinese and Vietnamese heritage from the immigrants. It promises to be an all-in-one travel experience, so spare more than a few days for this charming coastal city. 


#1 Uncover a Unique Cultural Blend at Chantaboon Waterfront Community

Landscape Chanthaburi River with Building Chanthaboon Waterfront Chanthaboon Is Ancient Waterfront Community Located West Side Chanthaburi River

The 300-year-old Chanthaboon Waterfront Community stretches along the Chanthaburi River and boasts a scenic location and exciting history. Time-honored houses dotted with street art line the narrow alleys.

The mix of Thai, French, Chinese, and Vietnamese styles makes it more beautiful. Some of these quaint houses have been transformed into local museums, hip cafés, and even boutique accommodations. This community also won the Asia-Pacific Heritage Award from UNESCO.

Speaking of Vietnamese influences, Vietnamese Christians took refuge in the city and thus came in the Roman Catholic influences. Looming close to the riverside community is Thailand’s most prominent Catholic church, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The Gothic tower was built in 1909 and is a sight to behold.  


#2 Go on a Pilgrimage to Paradise at Khao Khitchakut National Park

Stone with Footprint Lord Buddha Khitchakut Mountain Chanthaburi Thailand

Only from January to March is the passage to Paradise open to the public. Most Thai locals brave the arduous 4WD pickup truck ride and the long, challenging walk to the top of the mountain to respect Thailand’s highest Buddha footprint and write their wishes on the red clothes. 

It’s still a highly recommended destination for non-religious adventurers. The landscape is unlike anywhere else, especially the gigantic Floating Rock or Stone Pagoda. Buddhist motif-resembling rocks are also scattered along the way. However, Khao Phra Bat (Footprint Mountain), or the pilgrimage location, is just one part of the national park. Khao Khitchakut National Park also has more treats for nature lovers: waterfalls and wildlife.


#3 Get Back to Nature and Recharge at Phliu Waterfall

Beautiful Waterfall Namtok Phlio National Park Chanthaburi Thailand

The 3-tiered Phliu waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Eastern Thailand. It is part of Namtok Phliu National Park. Cave brook carp love the refreshing, crystal-clear water as much as you do, and you’ll find many of them at the waterfall.   

Namtok Phliu National Park is lush green; therefore, don't forget to walk the nature trail before or after taking a swim. Phliu Waterfall is King Rama V's favorite. Consequently, the area has a couple of royal memorials, including a pyramid covered in moss for one of his queens named Phra Nang Ruar Lom Stupa.


#4 Go Treasure Hunting at the Weekend Gem Market

Chanthaburi Thailand Unacquainted Tourist Walking Old Town

Gem Road, also known as Sri Chan Road, draws traders from across the globe who gather to bargain over gemstones every Friday and throughout the weekends. The exquisite stones featured at the weekend gem market are sourced from Thailand and other nations.

Even if you aren’t going to buy gemstones, observing the market is fun as gem experts and dealers move from table to table in search of the most valuable ones. Also situated in the area is the Chanthaburi Gem and Jewelry Center. It’s the biggest one in Asia, and through a 3D exhibition, you can learn more about the local gem industry and watch the gem experts at work.


#5 Pay Respect to the Helmet-shaped King Taksin Shrine

Statue King Taksin Wat Huay Mongkol Hua Hin

During the 18th century, when ancient Ayutthaya faced a siege by Burma, Phraya Wachiraprakarn (later King Taksin) resided in Chanthaburi. He aimed to enlist soldiers, gather provisions, and collect resources for the upcoming battle to liberate the Kingdom. With the King's success, monuments were erected to honor the city's significant past.

The King Taksin Shrine is a testament to the locals' reverence and admiration for the monarch, boasting a remarkable design. Apart from the roof, which mirrors the design of His Majesty's helmet, one can appreciate the Chinese-inspired architecture that pays homage to the King's Thai-Chinese heritage. A considerable number of the soldiers enlisted there hailed from Chinese ancestry.


#6 Laze Around on the Tranquil Beaches

Beautiful Sea Hat Chao Lao Beach

The city has many spectacular beaches, including Kung Wiman, Laem Sing, Chao Lao, and Laem Sadet Beach. These swimmable beaches might be on a different level than Trat and Rayong islands. However, they are still beautiful and also very laid-back. Explore the seafood restaurants in these regions and unwind on the sandy shores to your heart's content.


#7 Discover Why Chalerm Burapha Chonlathit Road Matters Beyond its Destination

Chalerm Burapha Chonlathit Highway

The reason Chalerm Burapha Chonlathit Road is renowned as one of Thailand's most picturesque routes becomes evident effortlessly. Whether driving or cycling along this road, breathtaking ocean scenery will continuously grace your view. Take breaks to gaze, admire, and capture numerous photographs.

The journey is beautiful, but if we have to pick the most beautiful stop, it's Noen Nang Phaya Viewpoint, where you can feel the breeze and enjoy the view from the top of the hill.


#8 Explore Kung Krabaen Bay's Coastal Ecosystem at Royal Development Center

Reflex Picture Beach Sea Blue Sky Kung Krabaen Bay Chathaburi

Fishery and fine view at Khung Kraben Bay Royal Development Study Center. A project to preserve the marine ecosystem and develop the local community in the area, Kung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Study Center blends in with its surroundings. Stroll on the mangrove forest nature trail, where you’ll spot the residents like mudskippers and crabs. Once you reach the bay, you’ll see the breathtaking view of the fisheries.    

You can kayak through the mangrove to get closer to nature. There are many kinds of birds; if you’re lucky, you’ll spot dugongs in the area. Also nearby is the Khung Kraben Aquarium, complete with a glass tunnel and various marine life, such as sharks and stingrays.


#9 Delight with Durians and Other Culinary Creations

Thai People Greengrocer Peeling Durian Fruit Travelers People Fruits Buffet Festival Countryside Chanthaburi Rayong Thailand

We know Durian is the King of Fruits, but where's the King of Kings? Well, it's right here in this coastal city! It's home to the best durians in Thailand. If you're looking for challenges, join the durian eating contest at Chanthaburi Durian Festival and enjoy many other kinds of fruits from May to July. Fresh fruits aside, the small eastern city is packed with delicious local food. Among them is the one-of-a-kind pork menu, Moo Chamuang. Moo means pork, and chamuang is a kind of herb. 

When pork belly meets chamuang leaves and other ingredients, you get a sweet and sour pork belly curry. Explore Chanthaburi and discover the Eastern Thai culinary experience you'll never forget. You can choose between the signature Chanthaburi meal, fish, and crab lovers. 


#10 Trace the Darker Era of the City

Thai Temple Specifics Blue Temple Chanthaburi Province Thailands Wat Paknam Khaem Nu One Chantaburis Landmarks

Since France colonized the city, you'll find a couple of historic buildings from those times that survive till today. The first is Tuek Daeng (Red Building), which initially served as a Thai fort but was later repurposed into living quarters and a command center for the French military.

A compact exhibition centered on historical themes is within it, accompanied by a French cannon. Adjacent to this structure stands another building known as Khuk Khi Kai called the Chicken Dung Cell. As the name suggests, the upper floor was a chicken coop, and it's clear what was dropped onto the prisoners as punishment for revolting against the French.


#11 Make Life Colorful with Chantaboon Mats

Detail Asian Loom

Chanthaboon mats are some of the most famous mats in Thailand. Handwoven from reeds, Chanthaboon mats come in all colors… and shapes! The locals’ creative prowess has resulted in many other products like bags, slippers, and tissue boxes.


#12 Visit the Home of Red Hawks at Bang Chan Fishing Village

Soil Less Village Is Located Tambon Bang Chan Chanthaburi Thailand

Bang Chan is home to not only friendly fishermen but also red hawks. Let the locals take you on a rafting experience and watch hundreds of red hawks flying above the mangrove. The locals also open their homes to visitors, so Bang Chan Fishing Village is another homestay experience you can’t miss. 



Food Awesomeness in Chanthaburi

High Angle Woman Eating Tasty Noodles

Foodies heading to Chanthaburi are in for a treat. This is the home of the famous Sen Chan noodles, which many Thai food enthusiasts regard as the best noodles to use in phat Thai. The Chanthaburi take on this classic Thai dish is known as sen chan pad, with the essential ingredient of local blue swimmer crabs. Look out for Kui Tiao near Liang, a beef noodle dish with a tasty broth.

Chanthaburi province is known as the ‘Orchard of Thailand’ because of the amount and variety of fruit produced here. This includes two of the most prized fruits in Thailand: Durian, the so-called ‘king of fruits, and Mangosteen, the ‘queen of fruits. The importance of fruit to Chanthaburi is recognized in the decorative street signs that can be seen in and around the Chantaboon old town area. The symbols also depict the rabbit emblem of Chanthaburi.

That’s it for things to do in Chanthaburi, Thailand, but that’s not all you can do on your journey. Check out our list of the main attractions and some essential tips ahead.



Main Attractions in Chanthaburi

#1 King Taksin Shipyard

Statue King Taksin Wat Huay Mongkol Hua Hin

The beginning of the King Taksin the Great Shipyard History Museum came about through the efforts of the Development Committee of King Taksin the Great Shipyard. They gathered funds to acquire land to construct a lasting exhibition honoring the King's endeavor to recapture the former capital from the Burmese.

The museum is situated on the very site where the remains of these ancient warships were discovered. Within its confines, you'll find enduring displays that go into the royal biographies and activities of King Taksin the Great. The exhibition also encompasses the historical context, progression, archaeological findings, and the history of Chanthaburi province.


#2 National Maritime Museum

Model Sailing Ship Museum Window

Where else could one unravel the mysteries of the ocean depths but at the National Maritime Museum in Soi Dao? This initiative by the Fine Arts Department of Chanthaburi seeks to heighten recognition of the hidden sea treasures.

In 1994, the museum's establishment was prompted by the Fine Arts Department's recognition of the significance of safeguarding the numerous archaeological remains that are naturally conserved within the saline waters. Although not extravagantly splendid, the museum hosts a wealth of insights into underwater archaeological research conducted in Thailand. Furthermore, it features a series of displays that vividly illustrate the nation's origins and the evolution of maritime trade.


#3 Kung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Study Center

Chanthaburi Thailand Wooden Bridge Walkway Kung Krabaen Bay Mangrove Forest Chanthaburi City Thailand

The study center is dedicated to the in-depth examination and exploration of the natural ecosystem, aiming to identify sustainable and suitable approaches for developing the coastal region in Chanthaburi Province. This captivating facility offers visitors the opportunity to delve into the natural environment of Chanthaburi.

The center features numerous small pavilions strategically placed at intervals, each offering intriguing insights into the mangrove forest ecosystem. Explorers can embark on two distinct trails adorned with diverse trees and plant species. The final stop on this educational journey is a pavilion, providing a serene resting spot with a magnificent view that extends over the bay. From this vantage point, tourists can marvel at the picturesque line of mangrove forests perfectly paralleling the river.


#4 Soi Dao Waterfall

Hikers Young Men Backpacker Looking Waterfall Forest Phu Soi Dao National Park Thailand

Embark on a journey through the Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, and you'll find yourself at the fascinating Soi Dao Waterfall, a true gem of the region. This cascading wonder stands in striking contrast to the surrounding green forest, with its white torrents of water. The waterfall's charm originates from its unique composition, featuring 16 tiers that stretch from its tip to its base.

Trekking alongside the waterfall presents an opportunity to ascend to its summit. The ascent is challenging, yet the reward awaiting at the top is undeniably worth the effort. The path is decorated with uncommon herbs, plants, and flowers, while leeches are frequent inhabitants of the region. Be cautious as you navigate the damp soil while admiring the magnificence of the Soi Dao Waterfall.


#5 Khuk Khi Kai

Pair Two Sparrows Perched Wood near Wired Fence

Khuk Khi Kai is a notorious prison located close to Laem Sing Beach. It was built in the late 1800s and translated to ‘bird-drop prison,’ Khuk Khi Kai has a somewhat notorious history. This square building is about seven meters tall, measuring roughly five meters on each side. The prison jailed Chanthaburi's Thai rebels who resisted the French occupation. Its walls feature ventilation holes but lack windows or any means of external communication. Constructed from bricks, its appearance is brutal.

The name "Khuk Khi Kai" originates from its porous roof structure. The prison lacks a solid roof and has a mesh-like covering, exposing the prisoners to the elements. "Bird-drop" refers to the roof used as a chicken coop, resulting in bird droppings collecting within the prison. This method was torture, subjecting prisoners to the smell and sliminess of the droppings, which they couldn't escape.


#6 Wat Phai Lom 

New Normal Travel Concept Happy Traveler Asian Man with Mask Camera

While the main building maintains a modest and humble exterior, the striking contrast lies within its premises, where the awe-inspiring reclining golden Buddha statue occurs. This attracts a considerable inflow of pilgrims to this revered destination. 

As visitors explore the broader complex, which dates back to the 18th century, they'll also stumble upon a captivating ordination hall decorated with intricate frescoes. The overall atmosphere of Wat Phai Lom displays peace, offering a soothing ambiance to all who venture there.


#7 Wat Khao Chawang 

Temple Roof Buddhist Shrine Chanthaburi

Wat Khao Chawang is more than just a sacred site. It stands as an architectural marvel that frequently leaves observers fascinated. It is the sole temple in the surroundings to have employed wood as its principal construction material.

Nearly every day, many tourists and students go to the temple, driven to witness and learn about this gradually disappearing craft. Wat Khao Chawang offers understanding regarding detailed and distinctive traditional design styles. It's not challenging to locate someone eager to provide a guided tour or go into explanations of these remarkable architectural wonders.


#8 Wat Mangkon Buppharam

Thai Buddhism People Buddhist Pray Benefaction Worship Buddha Chinese

Wat Mangkon Buppharam, or Leng Hua Yi, is in the Liam district of Chanthaburi. You should go to Wat Mangkon Buppharam if you want your life blessed by the Gods to make it happy and prosperous.

Built in Chinese architecture, the temple pays homage to Chinese deities, which can be seen as statues within this sacred site. The renowned Wat Mangkon Kamalawat in Bangkok shares a spiritual lineage with Wat Mangkon Buppharam. Both temples are respected by Thai-Chinese devotees. It is believed that those who pilgrimage to these temples will receive blessings of prosperity.


#9 Wat Phlab 

Chantaboon Waterfront Community Chanthaburi Thailand

Wat Phlab (also recognized as Wat Phlap) is a sacred site in Chanthaburi, rich in history and home to two age-old pagodas that showcase different design styles. The origins of this site date back to the latter stages of the Ayutthaya era. It's also the home of captivating religious imagery and traditional wooden pavilions, all duly designated as Ancient Monuments in Thailand.

Interestingly, one of the old structures on this premises once played a crucial role in a sacred ritual, the "Ceremony of Murathaphisek," during the inception of the Chakri Dynasty. This ceremony involved the blessing of sacred water, used for significant royal events like the coronation ceremony, during which it was ritually poured over the monarch's head.



Is Chanthaburi a Safe Place to Visit?

Panorama View Tourist Attractions Chanthaburi Thailand

Although Chanthaburi is considered a safe town for tourists, travelers should always be careful with their valuables, especially at the beach. For the best healthcare facilities in Thailand for any illness or injury, there are two hospitals in Chanthaburi town, Chanthaburi Hospital and Bangkok Hospital. There's a tourist booth on Si Chan Road, next to the river, for general information about the city.

In conclusion, this comprehensive Chanthaburi travel guide equips you with all the essential knowledge and insights, ensuring a memorable and well-informed journey to this beautiful destination. From its cultural gems to natural wonders, local delicacies, and practical tips, you're now prepared to make the most of your visit to Chanthaburi. Bon voyage!


Chanthaburi   The Complete City Travel Guide


🧑‍🎓 Vocabulary Time!

the forming or devising of a plan or idea


: possessing a unique meaning or quality that distinguishes it from others, making it exceptional


: a very interested in and enthusiastic about someone or something


arousing one's curiosity or interest; fascinating


: proficiency or mastery in a specific activity or field



Written by
Dr. Theodore (Professor Bear)

Hi! I'm Dr. Theodore Bennet (Professor Bear), your scholarly travel companion who brings history to life with immersive tours and expert guides. With a Ph.D. in History and years of travel writing experience, I offer authoritative insights for unforgettable journeys.


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