During February of every year, a fair is held at the King Rama II Memorial Park in Amphoe Amphawan, Samut Songkhram. This is to celebrate the life and work of the poet king who reigned from 1809–1824. King Buddhalertla was an artist, composer and writer and was born in 1809 in Amphoe Amphawa. During his reign, a kind of renaissance took place in Thai arts and culture. The park was built here in order to honour his memory. In the grounds, you can find a traditional Thai style house, a large lawn and a botanical garden that has a copy of every plant that has ever been mentioned in Thai literature.
The annual fair took place at the weekend and we drove down there yesterday. Samut Songkhram isn’t really that far from Bangkok. I suppose it took an hour and a half to reach the city by car. Then Amphoe Amphawa was a further 4 kms away. The bilingual signposts for King Rama II Park were very helpful and we didn’t get lost at all. You can reach here by bus from the Southern Bus Terminal or even by train from Wong Wian Yai. You then take local transport to Amphawa Floating Market. It is only about a five minute walk from here to the park.
I have been planning on going to Samut Songkhram for quite some time. Even though it is Thailand’s smallest province, there are quite a few interesting places to see. This time I will have to give Joe Cummings credit as the Lonely Planet seems to be the only guidebook that talks about this province. However, there were a couple of major tourist attractions he missed out on that I will show you soon. As I mentioned earlier, you can also travel to Samut Songkhram by train along the Mahachai shortline. This is a trip for train buffs which I am planning on doing during the summer holidays.
If you want to visit the park then the annual fair is probably the best time to go there. There were many special activities arranged which kept us entertained for more than three hours. There were demonstrations of classical dance, puppet shows, handicraft making and my favourite, demonstrations of Thai dessert making. We didn’t realize that there was going to be so much food. We arrived at the park hungry after our long drive and immediately sat down to eat in the canteen. Then, as wandered around we soon regretted on eating so soon as there were so many new things to taste. We ended up buying a lot of Thai snacks as we couldn’t eat it all. We were so stuffed. And you know what? Our next destination in the afternoon also had a lot of very delicious food. I tell you, we could hardly move by the end of the day.
A demonstration of making khanom beuang
We had a really great time at the fair. There was plenty to see, do and eat. There was also a nice lawn to sit on. The park borders the Maeklong River so there was a nice afternoon breeze. If you come by car next year then try and arrive early. We were there at noon and it was very difficult to park. We had to park the car a fair distance away. Tomorrow I will tell you about our next destination which included a really cool “Unseen Thailand” attraction. You won’t find these in any Western guidebook.