Chanthaburi has played a big role in Thai history. It was here that the man who would become King Taksin gathered and prepared his troops to retake Ayutthaya from the Burmese after they sacked the capital of Siam in 1767. The King Taksin Shrine, shaped like a house-size helmet from that era, is on the north end of town. The French occupied the city from 1893 to 1905, and you can spot some architecture from that era along the river. Gems and jewelry form an important part of the town's modern economy, and you will see plenty of evidence of the gem trade in and around town. Most visitors stop here on the way to Koh Chang, attracted by either gem shopping or the fruit season in May and June.
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