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Introducing Si Racha

A subdued seaside town, Si Racha is a mix of fishing-village roots and modern industry. Waterfront condo towers eclipse a labyrinth of rickety piers and the cargo ships docking at the Laem Chabang port share the shipping channels with simple, multicoloured fishing boats.

Thai towns, especially those with a modern veneer, are adept at disguising themselves to look like every other Thai town. In Si Racha’s case, you need a bit of back-story to know that the many Japanese restaurants in town are catering to the international workforce of the nearby Japanese car manufacturers, and the BMWs that are cruising the streets indicate that those too are being produced nearby. In fact, surrounding the Laem Chabang port, Thailand’s busiest deep-water port, is a host of industrial factories, petrochemical facilities and chemical plants – the muscle of the Thai manufacturing economy. As a result there’s money in this town: the new municipal building is landscaped like a resort and the health park is impeccably maintained.

From a tourism perspective, Si Racha is attractive for what it doesn’t have; there are no guest houses, girlie bars or traffic jams. It is also an easy commute to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport if you’re looking for a quiet and untouristed place to layover.