Thailand is a country on Southeast Asia’s Indochina peninsula known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha, a revered symbol. Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is a metropolis where one can find both old and new, East and West, traditional and fashionable, blended together in a harmonious way. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canal and riverside communities. Commercial hubs such as Chinatown consist of labyrinthine alleys crammed with shop houses, markets and diners. Just 2 hours' drive from Bangkok is Pattaya, the renowned recreation centre on the east coast. Its fine sand, blue sky and limpid sea are among many other good things that prove irresistible to both foreign and domestic tourists. Although Pattaya is the cream of Chon Buri (81 km), other places of interest are plentiful in this province -- Khao Sam Muk, where stands the Chao Mae Sam Muk Shrine highly revered by Thais; Bang Saen, the nearest-to-Bangkok beach resort for families; Ko Sichang, a paradise island whose name has become the title of a song. Chanthaburi (245 km), a coastal province famous for its gemstones, fruits, hot pepper and Chanthabun mats.