A saunter through the area will delight travelers as they stroll through streets lined with ancient shophouse buildings decorated with beautiful patterns and gingerbread-style houses influenced by trade with foreigners in the past. These buildings are a testament to the precision, skill and imagination of Chanthaburi’s resident artisans. Buildings of note include House No. 69 or the community knowledge distribution center, Baan Luang Rajamaitri, the two-story golden teakwood residence of “The father of Eastern rubber”, and a century-old Jang Kuang An Ancient Drugstore selling Thai and Chinese herbs. Remember to also stop off and worship at the Tua Lao Ia Shrine for increased fortune and luck, and visit the resplendent Mae Phra Patisonthi Niramon Church (the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception), one of the oldest Catholic churches in Thailand. Inside is a statue of The Virgin Mary splendidly decorated with a jaw-dropping collection of diamonds and other precious stones.
Aside from preserving the original charm of the waterfront community, Chanthaburi Old Town residents also engage in community tourism activities. They have opened accommodations to welcome tourists who are fascinated by the classic, peaceful waterfront atmosphere and renovated a 100-Year Old Market into a bustling hub that offers local products, quaint handicrafts and the famed local dish “Khao Khluk Phrik Kluea” (Rice mixed with Spicy and Sour Seafood Dipping Sauce served with Quick-Blanched Seafood). Travelers can also support community products and help generate income for the locals while traveling with a responsible mindset and not harming the environment or littering the streams. It’s vital that we keep Chanthaburi Old Town as beautiful and impressive as it is at present so that future generations can appreciate it.