Chanthaburi Old Town & Waterfront
Chanthaburi (จันทบุรี), nicknamed ‘Muang Chan’ (moon city), is about 245km south east of Bangkok. It is the capital of the same-named province in Eastern Thailand. The old name of Chanthaburi is Chanthaboon. Thus, the old riverside community of Chanthaboon has a charming, tranquil and laid-back atmosphere. This community was founded during the reign of King Narai (r. 1665-1688).
Chanthaburi Old Town
Hence, not only Thai people lived in this district but also Chinese who came from the region that today belongs to Vietnam. The Chinese and Vietnamese were traders and merchants whereas the Thais were predominantly farmers. The location next to the Chanthaburi River was a great advantage to the community’s trade. Thus, until today, the community is well-known for its gem and jewellery trading market.
In fact, Chanthaboon has a lot to offer. There are amazing beaches, abundant natural resources, waterfalls and mountain tops…
What is more, the Old Town amazes the visitor with its historic shop houses built in a Chinese or a colonial style. In addition, the place is also famous for its local cuisine and the fact that there are Buddhist temples next to Chinese shrines. In addition, there is even a Catholic church.
The significant minority of Chanthaburi citizens are Vietnamese and most of them are Catholics. Thus, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, build in 1711, is an important local landmark. This church was expanded several times whereby the Neo-Gothic structure dates from 1905. The church has amazing stained glass windows and murals. In addition, the church has been the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop since 1944.
Indeed, this place is rich in history. For instance, there is the 150-year-old heritage home of Luang Rajamaitri which has been renovated as a Boutique Hotel. Thus, today it is called the Baan Luang Rajamaitri Historic Inn.
It is situated on the first street of Chanthaburi. Luang Rajamaitri was a benefactor of the community and the second son of Luang Pramanrajsab (Jeenjampa) Noble of Gold Department, Rattan Factory. Luang Rajamaitri supported the education of children by offering them free accommodation and tuition fee.
Well, indeed walking along the narrow lanes along the riverfront feels like taking a time journey. Most of the buildings are over 100 years old and are in a run-down state. Nevertheless, the site is charming and stands for slow-paced and relaxed life as opposed to the busy life in capital Bangkok.
In a nutshell, we may say that Chanthaburi Old Town is definitely worth a visit. If you like the charm of a nostalgic community, this is definitely the place for you 🙂
(*photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)