Chanthaburi: Gem of the East

How do you live?

Having daily conversations about what happened to work, or to a dream you kept chasing, or how you were stuck in traffic while looking anxiously at your watch, can be so stressful at times. I can recall how this started a brief argument with me and my person because I suddenly snapped at him, so we agreed not to talk about exhausting things in life to maintain the peace we found in each other. And so far, it’s working. But one thing I do to shoo the stress away is to escape the city.

Chanthaburi is a province on the east of Thailand that does not receive a lot of tourists despite its popular beaches and national parks to locals. It has vast ocean on one side, immense forests on the other, mountainous national parks, and numerous waterfalls awaiting exploration. It also possesses gems, from emeralds to sapphires, that can be found at their gem market during weekends.

We went during weekdays and it wasn’t surprising that it was only us walking on the road and there was no car to stop for a hitch hike. LOL. We walked for 24 minutes! A good workout indeed.

Exploring Chanthaburi with the girls

Places to visit:

Kung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Study Center

According to ORDPB, this study center was established in 1981 to conduct study and research on development and improvement of fishery and marine life propagation, as well as the conservation of the coastal natural resources.

We walked on a 1.6km wooden walkway through the mangrove forest and we were in awe. People who love nature will surely be interested to stay and spend the day observing trees and the simple fisherman life. There is even a kayak or a canoe that you can rent if you want to paddle around the area.

Wat Pak Nam Khaem Nu

Definitely a blue temple that will strike you with its very details on walls, staircases, and even the gong.

Wat Pak Nam Khaem Nu was originally built in 1946 but was deteriorated because of the sea water, so the monks and the villagers decided to rebuild it using ceramic tiles to make it more durable. Looking at all the buses jam packed with visitors, it was a great idea.

Namtok Phlio National Park

Chanthaburi is teeming with national parks. However, some only open depending on seasons. Since it was a wet season in Thailand, we decided to just visit Namtok Phlio with a beautiful waterfall, which the place was named after.

Locals are charged 40THB and 200THB for foreigners. One funny story is, my friend tried to speak in Thai and maybe the officer found it convincing enough, she only charged us 40THB each. Yay!

Sky View Café

The view of the blue ocean from the coffee shop combined with the lush green grass growing on the cliff topped with tiny yellow flowers is so beautiful, and it is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque part of hicksville. And, unequivocally my favourite.

This snack bar is located at the cliff of Ko Proet, Laem Sing, that’s 35.7 km away from our resort. You’ll have to pass narrow roads and walk for a few minutes before reaching it, but the view is astonishing! You might want to be in your best dress for a lovely photo. =)

Chaolao Beach

The sea was choppy with whitecaps. As you stare longer, you’ll see the unending harvest of waves swaying above the unrelieved blueness of the water while the roar of tides reveals the unrest and might of nature.

Somehow, the sea’s turbulence awakens the wanderlust in me and I felt invited to get into the water. The mist caused by the morning rain added mystery to what it already is, and I like it. Too bad, there is no surfboard to be seen which is a shame for the surf break is too impressive to just watch.

Hua Laem Pagoda

A small stupa that is constantly slapped by the raging tides whenever Poseidon is in fury stands on a protruding rock in the middle of the sea. It was said to serve as a guide and protection to all the fishermen whilst seafaring.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

A group of Vietnamese fled from their country due to religious persecution and found Chanthaburi a safe place. They first built a modest chapel in 1711, then a French priest came that led to relocation and extension of the church. Since Catholism continued to grow in the province, the church was reconstructed multiple times to what is now the cathedral inspired by Gothic architecture.

One highlights of the church is the statue of the Virgin Mary that stands on a golden dais on the right side of the altar. She was dressed in sparkling stones, with some imported from other countries, flaunting the workmanship of the locals since Chanthaburi is famous for its gem trade.

She was wearing a cerulean robe debecked with more than 200,000 glittering sapphires, with golden ornaments glinting in the light. Her hands were stretch forth as if calling every lost soul to come, and I stepped closer.

All in all, this 3-day trip with the girls is another memory to cherish. Nope, I won’t be saying ‘back to reality’ for the life I lived is not an illusion.

So, let me ask you again. How do you live?

More places to visit:

  • Khao Khitchakut National Park
  • Khao Chamao Khao Wong National Park
  • Somdej Pra Chao Tak Sin Maharat Public Park

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