Go Local at Chanthaboon Riverside Community

signature graffiti at Chanthaboon Riverside

Weekend Getaways from Bangkok

By Sirimaya
Published: May 31, 2018

Take time to wander along the 1km-long maze of narrow alleys and footpaths that make up Chanthaboon Riverside Community

There is more than what meets the eye, from polishing gemstones to becoming a ‘master baker’.

Most people are happy just to stroll through the labyrinth of alleys and footpaths lined with two-storey wooden and brick shophouses, some featuring European-influenced curved window arches. Not to mention The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, arguably the largest and most beautiful church in Thailand.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at Chanthaboon Riverside

The quaint Chanthaboon Riverside Community looks like a living museum, a melting pot of cultural diversity, influenced by Chinese, Vietnamese and French. It’s usually busy on weekends with tourists coming to admire the cultural convergence of architecture and sample local delicacies.

But for travellers wishing to explore more than strolling around and taking pictures, there’s much to experience. Here’re our top picks for a two-day getaway:

Take a homestyle approach to making Thai cookies

Ban Khanom Ko, or Mae Gim Sia’s Dessert Shop, sells homemade sweet treats including Khanom Ko (glutinous rice cookies), Khanom Kleeb Lamduan (shortbread cookies), Khanom Yok Manee (pandan tapioca pearls) and Khanom Ping (tapioca coconut mini cookies). Here visitors can learn how to make Thai cookies. The shop’s owner, Auntie Toi, offers no regular class, but she is happy to arrange by  appointment. You pay for the ingredients plus gratitude, or just gratitude. Do buy some of the melt-in-your-mouth cookies too.

Try a hand at polishing gems

try a hand at polishing gemstones

Chanthaburi has been Thailand’s gem and jewellery hub for centuries. It’s not unusual to see traders in old shophouses like House 119 selling gem and jewellery. But if visitors who peep into the shop, will see rather old, yet well-preserved, gemstone grinding machines set in majestic wooden frames. Those who wish can try a hand at polishing gemstones to take it home for as little as 300 baht. The machine can handle four people at a time with advanced appointments for small groups welcomed.

Have a go at baking famous ‘egg cakes’

Khanom Khai Pa Taai, or Auntie Taai’s egg cake shop, is probably the most famous Thai dessert maker in the quaint riverside community. It is now run by Uncle Prin while his mother, Auntie Taai occasionally helps sell the freshly-baked cakes and cookies. There are no scheduled cooking classes here either, but visitors are welcomed to try their hand at baking ‘egg cakes’ with Uncle Prin’. Make sure to buy a bag of the fluffy egg cakes (20 baht) for a great on the go snack.

These are just a few highlights that travellers can experience while gaining more insight into the local Thai way of life at Chanthaboon Riverside Community.

Chanthaboon Riverfront
Getting there

Chanthaboon Riverside Community is about three hours from Bangkok. There are regular air-conditioned buses from Ekkamai and Mo Chit bus terminals.

Checking in

For a real taste of history, stay at Baan Luangn Rajamaitri Historic Inn (from 1,550 baht a night). This 150-year old heritage home of Luang Rajamaitri. It has only 10 rooms and is in high demand. A few steps away is Tamajun (from 1,500 baht), a lovely boutique hotel by the river. Unfortunately, none of its lovely rooms have windows.