Oriental Eden

05:25pm, Wednesday 5 October 2011

For hundreds of years, foreigners have been beguiled by the exotic fruits, spices, and islands of southeast Thailand.

Long before Siam's ancient capital of Ayutthaya was built, sailing ships from China, Persia, Portugal and Spain swept along the coasts of the South China Sea to the port of Chanthaburi in the Gulf of Siam. After loading their ships with silks and porcelains from China, lacquer and gum from Vietnam, they came to Siam where they gathered precious gemstones, ivory, timber and spices in addition to essential supplies of food and water.

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