Only 80 kilometres from Bangkok. Chon Buri is its nearest seaside province on the eastern coast. The area is rich in natural resources, complete with pretty beaches and clean air. It is a popular resort among local regulars who seek a brief recluse form weekly strain and stress. A gateway ot the East Coast, Chon Buri is also a centre of the Eastern Seaboard Development Project, with its industrial parks and fishing villages. Its local colours, delicacies, and traditions are its addtional charms.

     Around 2,500 BC hunter-gatherers left evidence of the consumption of shellfish, sharks and dolphins near Nong Nor, in the flood plain of the Bang Pakong river, just north of the present day provincial capital. At that time Nong Nor would have been located on the edge of a broad, sheltered marine bay, and the evidence shows that the inhabitants ventured out to sea on fishing expeditions, as well as hunting and collecting shellfish. The populace, who probably stayed there for only one season, also fashioned pottery vessels using much the same methods and implements used in some places in Thailand today. The location probably had abundant food resources, and there is no sign of cultivation of plants or domestication of animals.

     At Khok Phanom Di, about 14 kilometers north of Nong Nor, archaeologists have found a site that was occupied for more than four centuries, beginning around 2,000 BC, or 500 years after Nong Nor was inhabited. The findings suggest a prosperous and stable community, engaged in hunting, fishing and trading with inland agricultural communities. In addition to pottery remarkably similar to that found at Nong Nor, the inhabitants fashioned ornaments from coral and shells, and excavation of burial sites revealed grave offerings including one woman's dress which sparkled with more than 100,000 shell beads.

     In 1393 AD, Chonburi, along with neighboring Chanthaburi, was captured by the forces of Khmer King Kodombong, and much of the population was forcibly relocated to Cambodia. The great Siamese king, Ramesuan, retaliated by invading Angkor, making the Khmer kingdom a vassal state, and taking nearly 90,000 prisoners back to Siam.

     In 1766, when the Siamese capital at Ayutthaya was under siege by the Burmese, a famous Thai general, Phraya Taksin, was able to get his army to the battle front but according to some sources he was restricted in his attempt to end the battle because King Ekathad had issued orders not to use the big canons, fearing that the loud noise would disturb his wives. Phraya Taksin pondered the situation and concluded that he would have to retreat and regroup before he could defeat the Burmese. He assembled 500 of his bravest soldiers and broke through the Burmese lines heading in a southeastern direction. With Burmese forces in pursuit, he fought his way to Banglamung, in Chonburi province, where he rested his army in what is today called Pattaya/Naklua. Legend has it that this interlude is how Pattaya got its name. Phraya Taksin went on to defeat the Burmese, retake Ayutthaya, invade Angkor, and establish a new Siamese capital at Thonburi.

     For 600 years after the forces of King Naresuan took their rest and recreation there, Pattaya remained a small fishing village. In the early 1960's it was 'invaded' by American soldiers and sailors seeking R&R while on leave from serving in Korat and Vietnam. Since the 1960's it has blossomed into a cosmopolitan city dedicated to the pursuit of excitement, pleasure and adventure.

     Recent decades have witnessed rapid development of the coastal sections of Chonburi province. The Thai Government set up the Eastern Seaboard Development Program in 1981 to establish the country's new industrial development complexes. Laem Chabang Industrial Estate and Export Processing Zone was established in Chonburi Province. With the support of a deep-sea port, Laem Chabang Industrial Estate serves agriculture-based and other light industries such as electronics, auto parts, toys and sports goods shipped in container ships. Private investors have subsequently set up several other industrial estates in the province.