Chonburi, located just 89 kilometers southeast of Bangkok, is a tourist destination that is well-loved by both local and foreign tourists. Being a coastal town (its name means “City of Water”), Chonburi is one of the best places to get fresh seafood. In addition, Chonburi’s tropical climate makes it an ideal place to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand for a good part of the year. April is particularly popular for beachgoers, with sultry temperatures reaching 35°C (95°F).
If you happen to be vacationing in Chonburi province or are planning to visit soon, here are a few ideas for things to do.
Buddha Mountain or Khao Chi Chan Buddha is often the first on the list of popular Chonburi tourist spots. The 130-meter-high image was carved in 1996 in honor and celebration of the 50th anniversary of King Bhumibol’s reign. Using lasers, the computer-designed pattern was etched onto the side of the limestone mountain. This process was done entirely at night so that the workers can clearly see the lasers and ensure the accuracy of the design. As a final touch, the grooves were filled in with gold leaf.
Surrounding Buddha Mountain are landscaped gardens, giving the site a relaxing, tranquil atmosphere. There is also a temple at the foot of the mountain where visitors will often see monks performing their daily duties and rituals. Since this place is a religious site, make sure to dress appropriately when visiting this landmark.
Koh Larn (Coral Island)
เกาะ ล้าน or Koh Larn (also Ko Lan or Coral Island) is one of the most popular beach destinations in Chonburi. The beaches of Koh Larn are surrounded by mountains, giving you views of both deep, sparkling blues and lush, bright greens. Because it’s popular with tourists, Ko Larn has no shortage of restaurants that serve fresh and delicious seafood and a variety of other dishes. You can also participate in various water activities like diving, parasailing, snorkeling, and underwater “sea walking.” What’s great about Koh Larn is that it’s away from the city (about 7 kilometers from the coast of Pattaya) but not too far for it to be inconvenient.
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
If you love plants and flowers, one of the best destinations in Chonburi for you would be Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Gardens. It has nine different divisions, dedicated to various kinds of plants and famous gardens around the world: European Garden, French Garden, Stonehenge Garden, the Ant Tower, Butterfly Hill, Cactus and Succulents, Flower Valley, Orchid and Bromeliad Garden, and Variegated Plants. There are also cultural shows held at Nong Nooch, as well as religious ceremonies and even martial arts demonstrations. Inside the 500-acre garden are two restaurants, a mini zoo, as well as a hotel and Thai-style houses for rent.
Wat Yansangwararam, Wat Yan for short, is a Buddhist temple complex covering 145 acres. It features various buildings with different architectural styles, along with several sprawling gardens and a large man-made lake. The first building you will see upon entering Wat Yan is the Viharn Sien Temple, which is also a museum that houses a collection of Chinese artifacts that date as far back as 3,000 years. There is also the main Wat Yan Temple, with a pavilion that contains a replica of Buddha’s footprint. There are also temples with Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and even Swiss influences inside Wat Yan. You can also find monuments in the complex, including one of King Prajadhipok, who was the last absolute monarch and first constitutional monarch of Thailand. Finally, there are also certain areas inside Wat Yan where you can catch a glimpse of Buddha Mountain.
Nong Mon Market
Nong Mon Market is one of the busiest in Thailand and perhaps also the most well-known. That’s because it has the biggest variety of dried foods, like squids, shrimps, and salted fish, which you can’t always buy from any other marketplace. It’s also a popular place to get souvenirs and Thai desserts, like khao lam, palm juice, and khanom chak. In terms of street foods, you can enjoy local favorites like chaeng lon, hoi cho, and tod man pla. Nong Mon Market is a popular pitstop for tourists coming from Bang Saen or those heading to Chan, Trad, and Rayong.
Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark
Cartoon Network Amazone is the first Cartoon Network-themed amusement and waterpark in the world. It has a total of 10 entertainment zones, which are classified based on their intensity and whether they’re suited for young children. Some of the attractions include Cartoonival and Riptide Rapids for the least intense experience, Rainfall Rainicorn and Banana Spin for the medium level, the Omnitrix and XLR8-TOR for the most heart-pumping experience. There is also a massive food court that serves a variety of dishes from different culinary traditions, and here are also private cabanas if you want to take a break from the wild adventures. Of course, kids will enjoy seeing the likenesses of popular Cartoon Network characters like Ben 10 and the Powerpuff Girls here.
Chonburi is certainly one of the best places to have a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. The next time you want some time off, head down south and experience beauty and adventure in this exciting coastal city.