In a nutshell
For those looking to explore temples, eat street food, and observe local life, Chachoengsao is a great choice that isn’t too far from Bangkok.
Why go to Chachoengsao
Chachoengsao is a good place to visit for a day trip if you want to escape the city, and the temples alone are enough reason to make the journey. Although most visitors do only come here for the day, there are enough things to see and do here that you could easily stretch out the trip to two or three days.
The capital is a great place to hang out, stroll along the riverfront, visit markets, and of course, exploring Wat Sothon is a must.
Outside of town, the main attractions are temples, each of which offer something unique to visitors. Wat Saman Rattanaram is home to a large, bright pink, reclining Ganesha, which is certainly worth a photo or two! Wat Pak Nam Jolo is small, but decorated exquisitely with gold leaf. Wat Hong Thong is a temple complex built on a pier in the water, and it’s a great place to go for some peace and quiet. Finally, if you like both nature and temples, Wat Bang Khla is home to hundreds of bats that roost in the trees surrounding the temple complex.
Close by, Bang Khla Floating Market is one of the best places in the province to try some delicious Thai food, whilst cruising down the river in a rowing boat. It’s also presents a lovely opportunity to interact with local people and observe their daily life.
We would definitely recommend not to miss Chachoengsao Parrots Park, but it sometimes gets contradictory reviews on the web; so we leave it up to you to decide.
When to go to Chachoengsao
The best time to visit Chachoengsao is during the cool season from November to February. However, the rainy season is also a good time to visit, especially in June and July, when the rain is likely to only be for a few hours each day.
Where to stay in Chachoengsao
As mentioned, most visitors usually only come to Chachoengsao on a day trip. However, there are still a few good value accommodation options if you are keen to stay longer. Malone Maranatha is a Moroccan style hotel that seems quite luxurious but is only around THB700 per night. Or, there’s the JK Living Hotel and Service Apartment and The Chill Classic House, both of which are very close to the train station and the main part of town. For something a little more upmarket, The Brown House is a hotel, gift shop and coffeehouse all rolled into one, and the friendly staff here will make sure to help you with day trips and restaurant recommendations.
Where to eat in Chachoengsao
For a small town, Chachoengsao has a very large number of food stalls, so there’s plenty of opportunity to try some cheap and delicious Thai food. The markets also have food vendors selling Thai snacks, and there are several good quality Thai restaurants on the riverfront (Ruen Romsai food, the main choices are Japanese shabu shabu (Mushroom Suki & Shabu, Super Shabu, and Teddy Shabu Shabu), or Italian and steaks at Sadudee 23.
Over by Wat Sothon, there are lots of small Thai restaurants with outdoor seating, and in the morning there is a large market selling snacks and refreshments to the temple visitors.
How to get around Chachoengsao
Getting around is straightforward, as the part of town you’ll want to visit is small enough to travel on foot or by bicycle. If you are heading for Wat Sothon, it’s better to jump in a songthaew for a few baht. There’s also a town bus that stops at the main attractions in town too, if you are feeling lazy!
To travel outside of town, there are plenty of tuk-tuks, and the drivers are friendly and won’t try to overcharge you, but still, to visit the temples and market, which are situated between 15 and 30km outside of town, make sure to agree a price beforehand.
Alternatively, use your own wheels as attractions are well scattered around and having your means of transportation will facilitate sightseeing greatly.
How to get to and from Chachoengsao
The quickest – though no most comfortable but definitely interesting! – way to reach Chachoengsao is to take a 1.5-hour train from Bangkok, which departs every hour, and only cost THB13 (third class) one way. The train station in Chachoengsao is on Mahachukapudi Rd, and is only a short songthaew ride to the main part of town.
Alternatively, you can also take the bus from Bangkok, but the journey time is longer at 2.5 hours, and the fare is THB140 one-way. Buses depart from Bangkok’s Eastern terminal between 07.00 and 19.30 daily, with one bus every 1.5 hours, usually. In Chachoengsao, the bus station is around 3km outside of town, so it’s still pretty easy and convenient to get into the centre of town. Other than Bangkok, there are also buses heading to and from Pattaya, and then onwards to Rayong.
Is Chachoengsao a safe place to visit?
Although Chachoengsao does have its own hospital, it’s best to head to one of Bangkok’s hospitals if you require serious medical attention, as the facilities are better and there will be more English-speaking medical staff.