Nakhon Pathom is a small province located just 56 Kms. from Bangkok. The province features an ancient religious structure called “Phra Pathom Chedi”, the first religious landmark that signified the influx of Buddhism into Thailand. Nakhon Pathom is also renowned for its abundant fruits varieties and famous dishes.
Formerly situated by the sea, the city prospered during the Dvaravati civilisation. According to archaeological findings, Nakhon Pathom was the first city to possess influences of Buddhism and Indian civilisations. From the Phra Pathom Chedi and other remains discovered in the city area, it is believed that the city was a centre of civilisation in that era. People of different races settled in Nakhon Pathom. However, a change in the course of the river caused a draught that forced the people to migrate and settle on the banks of river, and these communities developed into towns. The new town was called “Nakhon Chaisi” or “Sirichai”, leaving Nakhon Pathom deserted for hundreds of years until the reign of King Rama IV. While His Majesty was in monk hood, he travelled to Nakhon Pathom and found the Phra Pathom Chedi that he regarded to be the largest pagoda of all.
When King Rama IV ascended to the throne, he commanded that a bell shaped Chedi be built to cover the former Chedi. The surrounding area was also renovated and improved. He also commanded that a water canal be dug to facilitate commuting, which was called Chedi Bucha canal. During the reign of King Rama V, the construction of railways to the south began, at that time Nakhon Pathom was still a heavily forested area. King Rama V also commanded that the town be relocated from Tambon Thana, Amphoe Nakhon Chaisi, to the Phra Pathom Chedi area as it used to be. Nakhon Pathom has been there ever since.
During the reign of King Rama VI, a palace was built at Tambon Sanam Chan as a temporary residence on his travels and many roads were constructed. A large bridge was also built over the Chedi Bucha canal, which His Majesty named “Saphan Charoensattha”. Later, he commanded that the name of Nakhon Chaisi be changed to Nakhon Pathom, but the name of the prefecture was still called “Nakhon Chaisi” until the reign of King Rama VII when the calling of the prefecture was ended. Nakhon Chaisi is now one of the districts in Nakhon Pathom.
Nakhon Pathom covers an area of 2,168 square kilometres or 542,081.6 acres. It is divided into 7 administrative districts or Amphoe, they are: Amphoe Muang Nakhon Pathom, Amphoe Buddhamonthon, Amphoe Sam Phran, Amphoe Nakhon Chaisi, Amphoe Bang Len, Amphoe Kamphaeng Saen, and Amphoe Don Toom. Most of the areas are plains with no mountainous land, plateau are found in the west east of Amphoe Muang and Amphoe Kamphaeng Saen. The plains along the Tha Cheen River (Nakhon Chaisi River) are the location of Amphoe Nakhon Chaisi, Amphoe Sam Phran, and Amphoe Bang Len. These fertile lands provide agricultural area for people, thus most of the residents earn their living from agriculture; plantations, farming, growing food crops, and fruit orchards. Moreover, Nakhon Pathom is well known for pomelo, some call the Nakhon Pathom the sweet pomelo town.
How To Get There
By Car : From Bangkok, driving on the old route of Petchakasem Road (Highway No.4) passing Aom Noi, Aom Yai, Sam Phran to Nakhon Pathom or driving on a new route from Bangkok, passing Buddhamonthon, Nakhon Chaisi to Nakhon Pathom.
By Bus : From the Southern Bus Terminal on Boromrajajonnani Road there are two lines of buses.
Old Route (Bangkok-Aom Yai-Sam Phran-Nakhon Pathom), there are several lines of 2nd class air-conditioned buses: Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok-Ratchaburi, and Bangkok-Bangli. There are 2 lines of non air-conditioned buses: Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok-Ratchaburi, and Bangkok-Suphanburi.
New Route (Bangkok-Buddhamonthon-Nakhon Chaisi-Nakhon Pathom)
There are 2 lines of 1st class air-conditioned buses: Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom and Bangkok Dan Chang (blue bus) or taking the 2nd class of air-conditioned buses of Bangkok-Damnoen Saduak and Bangkok-Ratchaburi.
For more information, contact the Southern Bus Terminal on Boromrajajonnani Road. Non air-conditioned buses tel: 0 2434 5557-8 and Air-conditioned buses tel: 0 2435 1199.
By Rail: The State Railway of Thailand operates daily trains to Nakhon Pathom. For more information contact Bangkoks Hualampong Railway Grand Station tel: 1690, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020 and the Thonburi Railway Station tel: 0 2411 3102.
Buffet for Elephant and Elephant Queen Pageant
Buffet for Elephant and Elephant Queen Pageant is annually held on a National Labour day (May 1st) at the Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo to show gratitude to elephants living in the grounds. The Elephant Queen Pageant is held to find a rather plump lady who could interpret and display the elephants gentle character.
Loy Krathong Festival
Loy Krathong Festival is held annually on the 15th day of the waxing moon in the 12th month of the lunar calendar (November). The festival is held at Sanam Chan Palace, and features beauty pageants, Krathong contests, hanging lantern contests, and local entertainment, among others.
Nakhon Pathom Food and Fruits Fair
Nakhon Pathom Food and Fruits Fair is annually held during the Chinese New Year, around January-February, within the grounds of Phra Pathom Chedi to promote agricultural products and industrial products of the province. It aims to also promote the fruits that are grown in Nakhon Pathom such as pomelo, sweet coconuts, guavas, and bananas. Other food products like Chinese pork sausage, crispy sweet pork and shredded pork, are also sold at the fair. It also features Chinese buffet arrangement contests and fruit contests.
Phra Pathom Chedi Festival
Phra Pathom Chedi Festival The fair takes place annually from the 12th day of the waxing moon to the 4th day of the waning moon in the 12th month of the lunar calendar. It is held on the grounds of Phra Pathom Chedi. During the fair, there are countless stalls selling local products and produce. At night, various entertainments are provided.
Songkran Festival is annually held from 13-17 April around Phra Pathom Chedi. During the festival, there are many activities such as the of Songkran procession floats, Chinese Dragon and Lion Dances, Bathing of the revered Phra Ruang Rodjanarit, sand Chedi building, Thai opera, and local entertainments.
Wat Rai Khing Festival
Wat Rai Khing Festival is annually held from the 13th day of the waxing moon to the 4th day of the waning moon in the fifth month of the lunar calendar. There are many goods sold, from various government units and also from farmers. The fair also features fruit contests and there are many kinds of entertainment at night.
Wat Lamphaya Floating Market
Wat Lamphaya Floating Market, situated in front of Lamphaya temple, on the Tha Chin River. The floating market was initiated by the Tambon Lamphaya Cultural Council and Lamphaya temple. It is a centre of trade for fruits and vegetables as well as agricultural produces including rattan ware, woven cotton, dyed cotton, and inexpensive food. Local food like noodles with beef, Thai desserts, and steamed curried fish patty, are sold by local vendors who do their trade in their boats. In front of the temple is another haven for the various species of fish including big catfish-like fresh water fishes, black ear, and giant gourami. The cruise services along Tha Cheen River are also available. Several types of boats cater to the needs of the visitors, which include:
Ancient rowing boat : cruising along Tha Chin River: leaving from Wat Lamphaya, paying homage to Chao Mae Thapthim Shrine, the most revered shrine of Tambon Lamphaya. The trip costs 20 Baht/person. It takes around 30 minutes;
Towed boat: a round trip along Tha Chin River: departing from Wat Lamphaya to Wat Sukvatanaram. Feeding fish can be done in front of Wat Lamphaya. The trip costs 50 Baht/adult and 20 Baht/child.
Passenger boat: leaving from Wat Lampaya to Wat Bang Phra (Wat Luang Pho Poen). The trip takes two and a half hours. An adult fee is 50 Baht, a child fee is 20 Baht.
This floating market is open only on Saturdays and Sundays, from 06.00-15.00.
Getting there: the market can be reached several ways:
By Car: 1) take the Pinklao-Nakhon Chaisi route, turn right onto a bridge that leads to Salaya, continue driving, passing Mahidol University, then take a left turn in front of Buddhamonthon District Office, and then take a right turn at Buddhamonthon Police Station for another 24 Kms. Wat Lampaya is on the left. The trip takes around 45 minutes;
2) taking the Bang Bua Thong route, keep going for about 10 Kms., look for a sign that points to Bang Len, take a left turn there and proceed for 20 Kms., at the next intersection (before reaching the bridge crossing the Tha Chin River), take a left turn and keep going for another 9 Kms. Wat Lamphaya will be seen on the right.
By Bus: the Transport Company operates a Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom bus. Get off at Nakhon Pathom Market and then take a Song Thaeo (public pick-up truck) of Nakhon Pathom-Lamphaya line, and get off at Wat Lampaya. Take a Song Thaeo, route Lamphaya-Thung-Noi, from a market in Nakhon Pathom town and get off at Wat Lamphaya.
There are also mini-van services available from the Southern Bus Terminal, near Kung Luang Restaurant. The van leaves every 30 minutes, from 05.00-18.00. A one-way fare is 40 Baht. For more information contact Wat Lamphaya, Tambon Lamphaya Cultural Council tel: 0 3439 1626, 0 3439 1985, 0 3439 2022.
This is an old religious site built by the government and the people to commemorate the 2500th year of the existence of Buddhism. Accessible by Phutthamonthon 4 Road, it occupies a large area with beautiful landscape and contains many interesting structures. A huge standing Buddha image cast in bronze gold measuring 15.8 metres marks the centre of the area. It is surrounded by four commemoratives sites concerning Lord Buddha's birth enlightenment, the first preaching sermon, and Nirvana (death). Other interesting places include a Buddhist museum, a hall keeping marble Pali canon and meditation halls.
Sireeuchachati Herb Garden
Situated in the Mahidol University, Salaya Campus, Nakhon Pathom Province, the Sireeruckachati Herb Garden serves as a collection and conservation center for study and research of medicinal plants available in Thailand. Within an area of 4 acres, plants are grown in grasshouses, decorative gardens and forest gardens. Each plant is accompanied by its names and usage. The garden is opened daily to public from 7.00 am. to 5.30 pm. For group tour that needs a tour guide, please contact: "The Committee on Growing Medicinal Plant Project; Faculty of Pharmacy, 447 Si Ayutthaya Road, Bangkok 10400; call 0-2644-8696 or visit www.pharmacy.mahidol.ac.th
Kasetsart Uninversity, Kamphaeng Saen Campus
Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus (Botanical Garden), located on Malaimaen route or 21 Kms. from Nakhon Pathom town. In the university compound, there are number of projects to educate farmers and the general public that include scaled-down projects such as an agricultural technology project, an irrigation system initiated along with the Royal project, an Entomological Park where various species of butterflies are housed, a pilot vegetable plantation plot, and Suan Saen Palm (garden of a hundred thousand palms), which collects various kinds of ornamental palms. For more information contact Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus, Nakhon Pathom tel: 0 2942 8010 ext. 3104.
Phra Pathom Chedi
Phra Pathom Chedi, the largest pagoda in Thailand. Phra Pathom Chedi is the official provincial symbol of Nakhon Pathom.
The present Phra Pathom Chedi was built during the reign of King Rama IV in 1853, under his royal command, the new Chedi was constructed to cover the former Chedi of which the shape was of an upside down bell shape with a Prang top. It is assumed that the former Chedi dates back to the year 539 AD due to the fact that the upside down bell shaped Chedi has a similar style to the Sanchi Chedi in India which was built in the reign of King Asoka. The construction of the new huge Chedi was completed in the reign of King Rama V in 1870 AD. In all, it took 17 years to build.
The completed Chedi is a circular one that features an upside down bell shape Chedi (Lankan style). The height from ground to a top crown is some 120.45 metres, and a total diameter at the base is 233.50 metres. The sacred Chedi houses Lord Buddhas relics. During the reign of King Rama VI, Wat Phra Pathom was renovated and later the temple became the royal temple of King Rama VI. Within the monastery compound, there are various interesting historical items, including the Phra Ruang Rodjanarith ,an image of Buddha bestowing pardon, is enshrined in a vihara located to the North and in front of Phra Pathom Chedi. The casting of this Buddha image was casted during the reign of King Rama VI: the images head, hand, and feet were brought from Muang Srisatchanalai, Sukhothai.
Under royal command, a wax sculpture of the Buddha image was moulded. The casting process was held at Wat Phra Chettuphon in 1913. Later, the Buddha image was enshrined in the vihara, located on the north side at the top of a huge staircase. The King granted the name of Phra Rung Rodjanarith Sri-intharathit Thammamopas Mahavachiravuth Rachpuchaniyabopitr to this Buddha image. At its base, the relics of King Rama VI are housed. Additionally, there are:
Wat Phra Pathom Chedi Museum The museum is located at a lower level in the east of the church. It houses artefacts and historical remains which were discovered during the excavations in Nakhon Pathom including the coffin and funeral ritual set that were used in Ya-Leis cremation ceremony. Ya-Lei was a dog very dear to King Rama VI, that was shot and died. The King was much saddened and commanded to building of a monument for Ya-Lei as a token of his grief. The museum is open daily from 09.00-16.30 except Monday and Tuesday.
Then there is the National Museum of Phra Pathom Chedi This is also worth a visit. The National Museum of Phra Pathom Chedi is located to the south of the Pathom Chedi compound. It is a 2 storey modern Thai building that houses artefacts and historical remains, most of which dates back to Dvaravati period and were found during excavations in Nakhon Pathom. For more information, contact Khun Sunthorn, Pali Union Education Foundation tel: 257-745 or Khun Panom Taeng On, Phra Pathom Chedi Treasury and Preservation Office tel: 242-143. The museum is open daily from 09.00-16.00 except Monday, Tuesday and National Gazette holidays.
Phra Prathon Chedi
Another historical site located in Wat Phra Prathon Chedi temple, Tambon Phra Prathon. It is located 2 Kms. to the east of Phra Pathom Chedi down Petchakasem Road. The former shape of Phra Prathon Chedi was an upside down bell like other Chedi that was built in Dvaravati period. As Wat Phra Prathon Chedi is located in the middle of the ancient city of Nakhon Chaisi thus several artefacts were discovered during excavations. Some of the discovered items include Buddha images, heads of Buddha images and Buddha images in terra cotta, as well as a bronze figure of a garuda gripping naga under its claws, which is the official symbol of King Rama VI.
Thai Human Imagery Museum
Located at Km.31 Borom Ratchonnani Road on the way to Nakhon Pathom, the museum houses life-like sculptures created by a group of Thai artists. These breathtaking human figures with various characteristics and the replicas of important people are displayed in many sections such as the Great Buddhist Monks, Former Kings of the Chakri Dynasty, and One Side of Thai Life.
Open : Weekdays from 9 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. Holidays from 8.30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Don Wai Riverside Market
Don Wai Market, situated in Tambon Bang Kratuek. Behind the Don Wai temple is a market that still retains an appearance of a market dating back to King Rama VI period. The old building is made of wood and located on the banks of the Tha Chin River. Food vendors travel by boats to sell their goods here. Agricultural produce are sold daily from 07.00-18.00. Boats are available for rent for scenic river trips.
Getting there: you can get there via two routes:
From Bangkok, take the old Petkasem Road route, the entrance to Don Whai market is opposite the Elephant Show ground and Sam Phran Crocodile Farm. Take the route to Wat Rai Khing, when you reach the Wat Rai Khing, go on for another 10 Kms. passing also Wat Tha Put. Don Wai temple will be seen on the left.
From Pinklao-Nakhon Chaisi route (new route), take the Buddhamonthon V Road, there is a road sign to Wat Rai Khing, take that road, keep on going for another 4 Kms, you'll see the second sign to Wat Rai Khing, turn right here and go on for another 4.5 Kms, then take a left turn at the T-intersection that leads to Don Whai Market, it will on your left-hand side.
Cruising along the Tha Chin River is available at Don Wai Market by riding a converted cargo boat and a passenger boat. There are 2 cruise lines: 1) from Wat Don Wai passing Wat Rai Khing, and Wang Pla. 2) from Wat Don Wai passing Wat Rai Khing, Wang Pla, Wat Sanphet, Wat Decha, the police cadet academy, and the Rose Garden
Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo
Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo, located on the Phetkasem Road at Km.30 marker, 1 Km. before the Rose Garden. It occupies an area of 62 Rais (about 24.8 acres). There are various kinds of animals on display and show. There are daily elephant shows, elephant ride around the compound, elephant musical shows, crocodile-wrestling shows, and magic shows.
Getting there: you can get there in 2 ways:
By Car: drive on Phetkasem Road to km.32, the Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo sign will be on the left:
By Bus: take a regular bus line number 123 from Tha Chang, get off at the Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo or take a bus from the Southern Bus Terminal (old route) on Petchakasem Road (Bangkok-Aom Yai-Sam Phran-Nakhon Pathom) or take a 2nd class air-conditioned bus of Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok-Ratchaburi, Bangkok-Bang Li lines or take the non air-conditioned buses of Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok-Ratchaburi, Bangkok-Suphanburi lines.
Open : Daily from 8 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.
Admission : Adult 300 baht, Child 250 baht.
Tel : 0 2284 0273, 0 2284 1873, 0 2295 2938-9.
The Rose Garden
This tourist attraction is located on Petchakasem Road 32 Kms. from Bangkok. It is located adjacent to the Nakhon Chaisi River and occupies an area of 137.5 Rais (about 55 acres). There are a multitude of beautiful floral displays of great variety. Thai-style houses; parts of the area are hotel, lodges, and golf course. It also features an attractive Thai cultural show that commences daily in the afternoon. It is open daily from 08.00-18.00. An entrance fee to the garden is 10 Baht. Admission as well as shows fee cost 300 Baht for all. For more information call 0 2295 3261-4.
Getting there: there are two ways:
By Car: take Phetkasem Road, drive to Km.32 marker, a sign of the garden will be on the left;
By Bus: take a non-air conditioned bus line number 123 from Tha Chang, get off at the Rose Garden or take a bus from the Southern Bus Terminal (old route) on Petchakasem Road (Bangkok-Aom Yai-Sam Phran-Nakhon Pathom) or take a 2nd class air-conditioned bus of Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok-Ratchaburi, Bangkok-Bang Li lines or take a non air-conditioned bus of Bangkok-Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok-Ratchaburi, Bangkok-Suphan Buri lines.
Wat Rai Khing
Wat Rai Khing is located in Tambon Rai Khing 32 Kms. from Bangkok. It is a civilian monastery built in 1791. Somdej Phra Phuttha Chan (Pook) named this temple after the district. When construction was completed, the Buddha image was brought from Wat Sala Poon and enshrined here, later the locals named the image Luang Pho Wat Rai Khing. The Buddha image is in the attitude of Buddha Subduing Mara. The Buddha image is of Chiang Saen style and is assumed to have been built by Lanna Thai and Lan Chang craftsmen. According to legend, this Buddha image was found floating in the river, so the townspeople lifted the Buddha image out of the water and enshrined the image at Wat Sala Poon.
Prince Vachirayan Varoros granted temple the name of Wat Mongkol Chinda Ram (with the words Rai Khing in parenthesis after the name) but the locals call the temple Wat Mongkol Chinda Ram Rai Khing, later it was shorten to Wat Rai Khing. The temple is well known among Thais, faithful Buddhists frequently pay a visit to Wat Rai Khing to pay homage to the sacred Buddha image. Every Saturdays and Sundays, food and fruits are sold in front of the temple. This temple is also renowned for its natural fish sanctuary, a habitat of hundreds of thousands of Sawai fish (big catfish-like freshwater fishes). Visitors can buy bread here to feed the fish.
Additionally, there is a museum that collects and displays various kinds of artifacts including ancient bowls, mural paintings, and old books, all of which were donated by the townspeople.
Getting there: there are 3 ways: from the intersection in front of Pho Kaew Police Station, from the intersection in front of the Rose Garden, and from the intersection at Buddhamonthon 5 Road. For more information on the museum, contact tel: 0 3431 1384, 0 3432 3056.