Prapapan Chatmalai turned up for our meeting in Chanthaburi town resplendent in an elegant, red, Chinese-style dress. The 64-year-old told me she regularly walks from her house to the Chanthaboon Learning Centre where vintage photos of the riverside area in which she grew up are on permanent display. Since retiring from her job as a schoolteacher, Prapapan enjoys sharing information with visitors about the history of her neighbourhood and several distinctive buildings which have survived fire, floods and the passage of time.
The old riverside community of Chanthaboon has a charming, laid-back atmosphere.
"Our Chanthaboon waterfront community was founded over 300 years ago during the reign of King Narai [1656-88]," she volunteered, adding that the district was initially home not only to Thais, but also to immigrants from China and what is now Vietnam.