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zaktim Chanthaburi - A travel report by Tim
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Chanthaburi,  Thailand - flag Thailand -  Chanthaburi
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zaktim's travel reports

Chanthaburi - diamonds on the soles of her feet

  9 votes

A large bustling regional Thai town that serves as the eastern transport hub, but also serves as the worlds largest common market for coloured gemstones. Jewels form all over the world are funnelled through the market in Chanthaburi, that is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. Thailand even publishes a separate contacts directory expressly for the gemstone industry! Beside that Chanthaburi is probably only a transit point, bit if you get stuck here the industry is worth a look. Your eyes will pop out of your head as you walk along Gems Street and see dozens of commercial traders discussing bags of big glittering sapphires spread out on the tables in their glass-fronted offices.

Favourite spots:
Gems street, say no more. But Chanthaburi is en route to the beautiful and popular Ko Chang.

What's really great:
The efficiency of it. No-one stuffs around in Chanthaburi, as the town runs to a rythym driven by uncompromising men.

Sights:
the pure magnitude and no-fuss attitude to trades that amount to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars of gemstones every Fri and Saturday is amazing. And this all happens with great transparency, in small offices with glass fronts and walls, as people show and debate the price of countless parcels of treasures.

Accommodations:
On Gems Street there are a couple of mid-range chinese-run hotels that are adequate, but I was only ever in transit, and never saw the main accommodation strip.

Nightlife:
-

Hangouts:
-

Restaurants:
like every town in Thailand, the best food and the best experiences are to be had at the omnipresent street cafes.

Other recommendations:
Trat, down the coast near the Cambodian border is a friendly little town and the kick-off point for Ko Chang and Hat Lek (border post). Stay at Guy guesthouse there and enjoy one of Alex the crazy frenchman's wonderful pizzas.

Published on Tuesday December 16th, 2003


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