250km (155 miles) E of Bangkok
Travelers heading east to rugged Ko Chang will pass through (or over, if they're flying) Chanthaburi province and its capital, Chanthaburi (known as Muang Chan). This region is known for its tropical fruit and lucrative gem mines. Durian, pineapple, lamyai (longan), and rambutan thrive here. As you drive through Chanthaburi, it’s hard to miss the piles of durian that are artfully stacked—with some reaching a whopping 7.9-m (26-ft.) tall. At the end of May or early June, the city holds a fruit festival to celebrate the region’s abundance of produce; check with the Tourism Authority of Thailand for exact dates. The city itself is a lot like the fruit festival: not worth making a special trip to see, but an enjoyable local experience if you’re passing by.
Essentials -- Chanthaburi hugs the Chanthaburi River. The city’s main avenue is Tha Chalab Road, and joggers and locals populate the road. The taxi stand is just west of the river, as is the bus station; the latter has departures to Trat and Bangkok. Buses take four hours to reach Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal and depart 25 times a day, costing 198B to 290B.