by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)
Capital of the Chonburi province and hub of the Eastern Seaboard’s industrial zone, Chonburi has earned itself the epithet “Thailand’s Detroit”. The town’s Nacha Sa Thai Chue Shrine, a four-story building located near the river pier, draws large crowds. This brightly colored Chinese temple houses several deities.
The Wat Yai Inthraram, located near the old market, belongs to the Ayutthaya period as is evident from the architecture of its bot and wihan. The wat’s hightlight is a series of beautiful murals adorning the walls of the bot. Another temple, Wat Dhamma Nimitr, which houses a 121-ft (37-m) high image of the Buddha covered in gold mosaic tiles, is also well worth a visit.
This pleasant beachfront town makes for an ideal day trip, and is a favorite destination for Thais seeking an escape from the big cities and their endless suburbs. It is not unusual to find entire families from Bangkok vacationing here; weekends are especially busy.
Kids play fully clothed in the warm waters of Hat Bang Saen (Thais prize pale skin and usually avoid sunbathing), while adults, especially women, can be found huddling under parasols on the sand, enjoying their picnics. The beach is an ideal place for a walk, particularly at dusk.
This is the time when vendors start grilling seafood along the boardwalk. Deck chairs, inflatable tyres, and bicycles are available for hire. Nong Mon market, near the center of the town, has stalls offering produce from every corner of Thailand. Highly recommended is the delectable khao larm – a traditional dessert made of sweet sticky rice, coconut milk, taro, bananas, and peanuts – served in a bamboo cylinder.
Bang Saen does not have much of a nightlife and is quiet in the evenings – an ideal alternative to nearby Pattaya!.
Famous for its seafood and the spicy nam prik si racha (Sri Racha pepper sauce) – Thailand’s answer to Tabasco sauce – this sleepy seaside town is the jumping-off point for trips to Ko Si Chang. Several piers run off Jermjompol Road, Sri Racha’s main waterfront street. At the end of each pier are breezy open-air restaurants, ideal for sampling delicious local delicacies such as hoi nang rom (oysters) and hoi thot (fried mussels) dipped in the famous fiery sauce.
Please click here to view part two of Towns and Villages on Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard