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. Don't be startled by the roadside 7.9m-high (26-ft.) durian "sculptures" you'll see piled at food stands along the way.

Essentials -- Chanthaburi straddles the Chanthaburi River. The city's main avenue is Tha Chalab Road. The taxi stand and bus station (to Trat or Bangkok) are just west of the Chanthaburi Hotel on this street.