Photo: A classic old town.

Chanthaboon old town

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Over three centuries, the Chanthaboon riverside community went through periods of growth, uncertainty and decline. Nowadays this photogenic “old town” stands as a success story in historical and cultural preservation—and we think it’s the highlight of Chanthaburi town.





The city’s oldest settlement runs for a full kilometre, following the path of the Chanthaburi River and Sukhapiban Road. At the northern end, Wat Bot Muang’s 19th-century ordination hall and gold-painted chedi tower above the lane—do stroll out on the nearby bridge for a view of them reflecting on the water alongside a cluster of heritage houses.

Take a wander. Photo taken in or around Chanthaboon old town, Chanthaburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

Take a wander. Photo: David Luekens

The narrow lane tugs you in with Sino-European row houses, including many built well over a century ago during Chanthaboon’s days as an important trade centre. Thai farmers, Chinese merchants, French soldiers, Shan gem miners and Vietnamese refugees all contributed something to the area, and, in some cases, the goods that continue to be sold here.

Pause to gaze at original brick-and-mortar textures, patterned tile floors, louvered shutters, grooved pillars and intricate woodcarvings. Exquisite details like these still shine despite never having been restored on many of the houses.

Looking out from Baan Luang Rajamaitri. Photo taken in or around Chanthaboon old town, Chanthaburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

Looking out from Baan Luang Rajamaitri. Photo: David Luekens

Baan Luang Rajamaitri is the most noticeable out of the few houses that have received major restorations. This gorgeous 150-year-old house now stands as a museum featuring historical documents in English and Thai among antiques and old photos on the ground floor. The rest of the building serves as a “historical inn” offering well-equipped rooms and river views.

About halfway down the lane, it seems as though the heritage quarter suddenly ends as concrete structures built around the 1970s replace the older (and far more attractive) architecture. In fact, these were added after a fire gutted this area. Keep heading south, perhaps after a stop at the old Phokasiri Market for a bite, and the picturesque houses pick ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Chanthaburi.



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A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Chanthaburi.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chanthaburi.
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