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Established around the mid 16th Century during the Ayutthaya era, Chachoengsao was initially used as a recruiting ground for the armed forces but today it’s primarily an animated market town with a locally famous temple and a good floating market.
Scenically set on the Bang Pakong River, 24km upstream of the river mouth where it empties out into the Gulf of Thailand, Chachoengsao is best known as home to the bustling Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan (Wat Sothon to friends), which is home to a highly revered Buddha image. If you’re in Chachoengsao on the weekend, don’t miss a visit to the temple as it gets pretty hectic on Saturdays and Sundays.
The other main attraction of the province, Bang Khla floating market, is set also on the Bang Pakong River, but well to the east of the provincial capital. Given the location, it sees very few foreign visitors, so if you’re in town, be sure to make the effort to go take a look—it is a simple bus ride from downtown to reach..
Other attractions in Chachoengsao are pretty low key. Just to the north of the bridge on Panich Rd there are two sois running off to the right, both of which have good examples of traditional Thai wooden houses and the end of the second soi you’ll find a popular fishing spot from where there are decent views of the riverfront. Also on Panich Rd, mainly between Santirart and Prampracha Roads you’ll see some old attractive shopfronts. They sit in stark contrast to the concrete blockhouse style of more recent additions to the street.
Around 700 metres south of town, you can see the remnants of the walls of the old Chachoengsao fort which have been preserved in a public park of sorts. It is an easy walk to the fort and a pleasant way of killing some time if you’re waiting for the train before moving on.
Chachoengsao also seems to have a disproportionate number of food stalls for its size making it easy to spend much of the day sampling market and street food.
The river setting is scenic and an afternoon stroll down the boardwalk is a pleasant way to round off the day, making this a suitable destination for those looking for a slice of "real Thailand" — though be warned, very little English is spoken.