Thursday, 10 May 2018 12:02

IN THE LAND OF SMILES

After exploring the hidden towns of Chanthaburi and Rayong at the invitation of Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chitrangada Gupta, our Social Media Head, came back mesmerised by the beauty of these places.

RAYONG & CHANTHABURI

We’ve all heard how Thailand is the ultimate place for a bachelorette or for a destination wedding for us Indians and it’s the best place for a group of friends to make a special trip just for shopping. Yes, all of us do want to indulge and spend hours inside Siam Paragon, Emporium, or other mass popular Platinum and Indira market  right? But there is more to see and do as a family in Thailand.

Dig deeper and see what jewels does the country that has over 76 provinces actually hide. Well, that’s what we decided to do this time. As part of the mega fam trip organized by the (Tourism Authority of Thailand) we went and saw these three cities that are relatively unknown. And we found treasures that are really memorable. From super luxury to super beautiful nature we saw it all.

Let’s start with a province we never even heard about and we are sure you haven’t either. Chanthabhuri  is a province in the east of Thailand, just 245km away from Bangkok. Trust us when we say this, take the road from Bangkok to Chanthaburi you won’t regret it. It’s beautiful, clean and serene. The city was occupied by the French troops in the 1893 and was returned in 1905 when Thailand gave up ownership of the western part of Cambodia and hence a small part of the population living in the city is Vietnamese. Chanthaburi is the centre of gemstone mining exclusively for Rubies and Sapphires. When you walk across the city you’ll see all types of shops selling these precious stones.   It’s funny how cities you never knew existed could hold stories within. Another fact about this beautiful little city is that it’s one of the largest producer of Durian. Durian is a tropical fruit which is quite popular among the Asian countries.

The Durian fruit sold in the market

When you’re in Chanthaburi, there is this one small yet lively town – Chanthaboon Water Front Community that needs to be seen and appreciated. About 300 years ago, the traders and farmers started trading alongside the Chanthaboon riverside which also became easy transport links and this is how Chinese and Vietnamese traders came to the area. The entire town is placed on the riverside. You don’t really need a map to go around this town because that’s how easy it is to see it. You’ll see a lot of local shops serving you with the Thai delicacies and some really pretty and quaint coffee shops. With the Vietnamese and Chinese refugees coming in, it brought in Catholicism and a Catholic church was built in the town.

Some very artistic high quality tatoo is done in Thailand and for many this is an important part of their trip

Our next stop was the highlight of our trip and one place that we would definitely want to visit again – Rayong. If we want to describe Rayong, it would definitely be that how it’s probably the best kept secret Thailand has. Now why we say it’s a secret is because only a few people would know about this mesmerizing city that will leave you in awe. Rayong is on the east coast of Thailand and is about an hour long drive from Chanthaburi and about 5 hours from Bangkok.

 Chanthaboon Water Front Community, an art wall depicting the old world charm

A glimpse of the Chanthaboon Water Front Community

Our first stop in Rayong was the Suan Lamai fruit orchid which also to our surprise had a sheep farm. If you’re a fruit lover and are always ready to try some exotic fruits – YOU NEED TO STOP HERE. This huge belt of green pasture land has every kind of fruit that Thailand produces. From Durian to Rambutan you’ll see everything growing here. It will not only help you try some fresh exotic fruits but you can certainly go and enjoy the beauty that this town on the countryside has to offer.

The tranquility of Chanthaboon Water Front Community will make you revisit this place

The sheep farm

The Suan Lamai in Rayong provides interesting photo up and can be an instagrammer's delight :)

Rayong is also one of those towns in Thailand along with Phuket and Hua Hin that is popular for Indian destination weddings. Surprisingly 25% of the total Indian weddings that happen in Thailand take place in Rayong.

You cant be in Thailand and miss out on the foot massage which is popular with the locals and tourists

If you’re a beach baby and can spend hours on the beach irrespective of the weather, Rayong is the place for you. This city is the perfect weekend getaway for all the Thais. If you happen to visit Rayong on a weekend all you’ll see are Thai families spending their afternoons on the beach with their picnic baskets and sunglasses. It was a pleasure to see such a family oriented culture in Thailand.

Rayong is the perfect place for you if you need a relaxing vacation with your family. You won’t see busy streets with a lot of people, you’ll see and get to experience how nature can be healing too.

The next spot and a MUST DO when in Rayong is to visit the Kru Kung Museum. Master Kung was an art teacher who has preserved every little thing that you can think about since the past 60 years. He started collecting when he was all of 18 years of age. From old cameras to wall clocks has been placed in what is now known as the Kru kung Museum. The main idea behind this museum was to make the new generation know the importance of the older generations in older times. Master Kung wanted to display everything in this digitalised world to make the younger generation aware. And how little things were so important to them back then.  He doesn’t even believe in advertising or promoting this gem that he has created with his own hands. He believes in the power of “word of mouth”. It’s quite rare to find an antique museum in Thailand, a place which is known for everything fancy.

Old cameras at the Kru Kung Museum

You’ll need an hour and a half to go through the entire museum, get ready to see things that you never thought even existed. The museum is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, the entrance fee is 80THB for an adult, 30 THB for a child and 150 THB for foreigners.

The writer Chitrangada Gupta

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