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Published: October 7th 2009
Mae Ram Phueng Beach
Near Rayong - very beautiful beach and no tourists today except for me
CHANTHABURI - as my guide kept saying “Beautiful too much”
Chanthaburi near the south eastern coast of Thailand is a very beautiful place to visit with many nice beaches, historical landmarks and waterfalls.
I was fortunate to have a Thai friend and guide show me around for a few days. This is not an area regularly visited by foreign tourists and I saw only a few other farangs. There is not much English spoken although the roads were fairly well sign posted in English. Some of the hotels can organise tours but I have not seen much advertised on the internet and I would have been struggling to get around and see what I did without my fabulous guide.
We hired a car from Budget in Pattaya for the drive to Chanthaburi with stops at the wonderful beach at Rayong with its’ many resorts. We drove for many kilometres without seeing any tourists on the Rayong coastline so it is definitely low season. Aparently on the weekends there is more activity there.
On arrival in Chanthaburi we visited the huge water/exercise park near the town centre. It was close to sunset and there were many locals out
Boats at Ban Phae Beach
A very nice place near Rayong
walking, running and playing football. These parks are great and would be ideal if recreated back in Australia. The lakes are always full of fish of all sizes in huge numbers which you can hand feed.
Next stop was the ear doctor because I had a blocked ear. I waited for only twenty minutes, no appointment required and soon the nice doctor had fixed my ear for the sum of 200 baht, the best $A7.50 that I have ever spent. Oh what relief to have that ear unblocked. What was in my ear you may ask? Well beside some wax I had forgotten my ear plugs a few nights before and foolishly put some tissue in my ear to soften the loud music at a nightclub. Don't put tissue in your ear hehe !!!
At night we went to the Catholic church which is the largest in Asia and now being remodelled. My guide laughed and stirred me up because we went out on my guarantee to see this wonderful Church which is usually lit up but tonight was in total darkness. “You silly Leon, you take me to see such wonderful sight in Thailand, bright lights, oh
so nice haha” Ok I am wrong again, I will listen to my guide next time.
I stayed at the Maneechan Resort on the outskirts of Chanthaburi and it is highly recommended with breakfast and dinner included for a discounted 1650 baht per night. Maneechan has a huge swimming pool, sports club and wireless internet included as well which is really great value for a resort of this class.
We visited the small Na Rai waterfall before heading to the spectacular Philio waterfall which is a must see in the Philio National Park. We climbed to the top of the falls and swam with the many huge fish in the fast flowing areas at the base of the falls. I really liked this waterfall and I am sure that I will return again and spend a whole day just there relaxing and taking in the sights of this amazing place.
There was still much to see and we headed for Laemsing and Chao Lao Beaches and a fantastic drive along the ocean road. We saw ancient forts and prisons, this place was once a stronghold of the French and the rebellious Thais were locked up in very poor
conditions. The scenery here is very special, breath taking in fact; this really is a place every tourist should see. It was then on to Khlung Wiman beach and the aquarium with some wonderful examples of colourful sea life to view.
There are many Thai price seafood restaurants on the side of the road and we had a great meal of seafood rice for a very good price. The best thing too here is everything is in close proximity to the city of Chanthaburi with the beaches and waterfalls in a 20 to 45 km radius. There is nonstop scenery and you can have many rest stops, this was one of my best days touring Thailand.
We were exhausted and the night time was spent resting and singing at the karaoke bar in town. The locals are friendly and it is wonderful to have a guide who can also sing and dance very well.
The next day we stopped at the King Taksin shipyard near the mangroves, no big boats to see but still interesting to view some of the very old model boats and local handicrafts. Not far away was the National Maritime museum housed in
an old fort and well worth a look. All the displays are described in Thai language but there is a huge wooden boat inside the building which you can explore.
On the side of a mountain is the Kao Su Kim temple which houses some of the most beautiful teak furniture, jade carvings and ornate vases and ornaments that I have ever seen in Thailand. Most of these were gifts from Thailand’s trading partner China to King Rama V. I knelt before a monk who spoke English with me and wrapped a piece of string around my wrist for good lucK.
Last stop for this tour was the Krathing waterfall. We only reached step 8, apparently there are 18 steps but we were tired after two days of touring and it was getting dark. Again this is a very nice waterfall and I will have to spend a full day there to explore it properly.
The next day I drove back to Pattaya in the pouring rain which is quite an experience after three wonderful days and good weather in Chanthaburi. There is much more to see in Chanthaburi which is also a major gem mining centre
for Thailand, so I will have to return another time and explore the gem mines and other parts of the national parks.
The rest of my time on this trip has been spent relaxing on the beaches at Jomtiem and with my adopted Thai family near Korat. I have just spent an enjoyable Sunday playing bingo with some of the village kids and an adventurous drive through the muddy pot holed roads to the market. I really feel at home here whether I am in the big city or in the middle of outback Thailand. I have also been to some nightclubs and discos and especially love the music of Issan which I can enjoy with my friends at the Tum Ngaan Kon Issan club in North Pattaya or the Tar Wang Den club in Korat .
I will be going back to Australia soon and I will be going to Northern Thailand and through Isaan in the north east on my next visit.
Kop khun khrap - Thank you
Sawatdee khrap - Goodbye
Pob gan mai - See you again soon
Click on the pics if you want a larger view of the
Klong Na Rai Waterfall
Small waterfall on the way to Philio National Park
48 photos (click Next to see more pics).
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