Thailand Travel Guide





Posted By : chauthihoaithuong/ 4 0

Surrounded by verdant chili and rubber plantations, this prosperous and friendly town is arguably Thailand’s most charming settlement. Known as a center for gem trading (see pp314–15) since the 15th century, Chanthaburi has attracted a wide ethnic mix. Vietnamese refugees form the largest group. They came in three waves: in the 19th century, fleeing the anti-Catholic persecutions of Cochin China; in the early 20th century, escaping French colonial rule; and after the 1975 victory in South Vietnam by North Vietnamese Communists. The Vietnamese quarter, running parallel to the river on Rim Nam Road, is lined with lattice-work wooden shop-houses. The monarch most revered in the town today is King Taksin. In the 18th century he expelled the Burmese from the town, their last Thai stronghold, thus reuniting Thailand. Two monuments celebrate Taksin and his famous victory: San Somdej Prachao Taksin on Tha Luang Road is a huge statue in the shape of Taksin’s hat. Taksin Park sports a dynamic bronze statue of the king in battle as seen on the 20-baht note.

On the bank of the Chan thaburi River is the Church of the Immaculate Conception, a French-style Catholic cathedral built on the site of an 18th A refreshing shower at the base of Krathin waterfall, Khao Kitchakut century missionary chapel. It is the largest cathedral in the country and a legacy of French occupation. The French held Chanthaburi hostage from 1893 to 1904 as a guarantee that Thailand would relinquish her hold on Lao and Cambodian land. To keep the country intact, King Chulalongkorn reluctantly agreed to surrender the territories.

The Gem Quarter (talat phloi), at the intersection of Si Chan and Thetsaban 4 roads, attracts gem traders from all over the world. On weekends a rainbow array of gemstones from Burma, Cambodia, and the rich mines of Chanthaburi province are traded at street stalls. However, most of the best quality stones are dispatched directly to Bangkok.

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