Category Archives: Nakhon Pathom

Jesada Technik Museum in Nakhon Pathom

Literally in the middle of no-where, in Nakhon Chaisi District of Nakhon Pathom Province, there is a sprawling private transport museum for lovers of any vehicles, both on land and in the air.  This large collection of vehicles can be found at Jesada Technik Museum and is the brainchild of Mr. Jesada Deshsakulrith, a Thai businessman. The museum first opened to the public in 2004 though Jesada bought his first vehicle back in 1997.

I was completely lost when I stumbled upon this red double decker bus from London and the yellow school bus from America. Beyond no doubt, I had arrived. Jesada Technik Museum is ironically not served by any public transport. You will have to find your own way there from Nakhon Chaisi (see map). It is open every day from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. Surprisingly there is no entrance fee to the well kept museum though donations are welcome.

The inspiration for the museum came after Jesada visited automobile museums in the USA and in Europe. He decided to collect antique and hard-to-find cars for his own collection. He started with a 1958 Bubble Car bought in Switzerland. His collection has now grown to 500 pieces which includes Airplanes, Helicopters, Tanks, Buses, Sedans, Bubble Cars, Motorcycles, Tricycles and Bicycles from around the world. There would have been a Russian made submarine as well but it apparently sunk while on the way to Thailand.

It is a credit to Jesada that all of the vehicles have been kept in excellent condition as you can see from these pictures. Not only on the outside but the inside as well. The upholstery is in very good condition. Also don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a “dead” museum as many of these vehicles are in good working order and have taken part in car rallies. I have also seen one of the red double decker buses out and about too at charity events. They actually have three London buses, one of which is open-topped.

The transport museum is probably not worth visiting on its own. Best to do it in conjunction with something else in the area. Visit our Thailand Photo Map website to see what else there is to see in Nakhon Pathom Province. Nearby is the riverside Thana Market which is a great place to have lunch.

Wat Lampaya Floating Market

There are quite a few floating markets around Bangkok these days. It is becoming more popular among the Thai general public. Most of the new ones I have been to recently are aimed at the domestic market. Wat Lampaya Floating Market in Nakhon Pathom Province is another classic example of this. When I was there recently I didn’t see any other foreigners despite the fact that it was quite popular with tourists and local people. I think I should be clear here that Wat Lampaya Floating Market is more of a riverside market. It is true that the restaurants are floating and that there are some vendors selling food on boats. However, all of these are permanently moored. It is not like the picture postcards that you might have seen of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. But, this one is more practical as everything is in the shade away from the harsh sun.

The floating market is situated on the Tha Cheen River next to Wat Lampaya. This is the same river as at Don Wai Riverside Floating Market. In fact there are very similar markets. They both offer good food. They are both open at the weekends from 6 a.m. to late afternoon. They also both offer boat tours along the river. On the bank of the river they are selling a lot of fruit and vegetables. There are also stalls selling plants, handicraft, clothes and other OTOP products. On the floating platforms there are restaurants and many food stalls. As well as feeding yourself you can feed some of the fat fish in the river. I found everyone to be very friendly and they were keen to chat with me. We were there shortly after 10 a.m. It wasn’t too crowded at that time so it was easy to move around. Most people came here for lunch. So, if you want to avoid the crowds then come early.

Without the boat tours, I don’t think it is really worth your trouble coming here. It is just another food market albeit one with a good view of the river. I like the way the boat tours are set up. They are more like the dining tours that they have on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok but a lot cheaper. What you do here is wander around the market and buy any food that you want to eat on the boat. We bought a variety of food that we could share including fried chicken, fish cakes, hoi tod, pad thai, satay pork and minced pork in an omelette. We also bought some drinks. Then we chose our boat tour. They have three different tours. The first one is at 10 a.m. and the last goes at 2.30 p.m. It doesn’t really matter which one you go on as the journey is more important than the destination.

It is best to buy your ticket at least half an hour before the boat is due to leave. This gives you a chance to reserve the seats and table that you want and then to go and do your food shopping. The tours are 60-70 baht for adults and 20-30 baht for children. The tours go to Wat Sukwattanaram (10 a.m., 12.30 p.m. and 2.30 p.m.), Wat Bang Phasi (11 a.m. and 1.30 p.m.) and Wat Bang Phra (11.30 a.m. and 2 p.m.). They have pictures of each tour which will help you decide. But for us, we just chose the most convenient tour which was the one for Wat Bang Phasi. Wat Bang Phra is the famous one where they have the annual tattoo festival in March. We had in fact just been there. The trip to Wat Sukwattanaram looked interesting as the pictures showed a Thai Farmers Museum. Maybe I will do that one on my next trip here.

Our boat trip along the Tha Cheen River took about 90 minutes. We cruised north up the river for about 30 minutes. We then had a 30 minute break at the temple and then another 30 minutes to come back. It was nice to have that break though the temple itself wasn’t that interesting. I guess the highlight of the temple were the wild animals in cages. But I just felt sorry for them. I like doing boat tours and it is a good way to relax and enjoy some natural air-conditioning. It was an extra bonus that we could eat and drink as well. As it was a weekend, we were able to observe river life along the banks. There were some people in small boats and young children splashing in the water. Others were sleeping outside their wooden houses or doing some fishing for their mid-day meal.

I expect I will come here again. Though it would be best if you have something else planned for the rest of the day. It took me about 115 minutes to drive there from Samut Prakan. We drove on Highway 4 towards Nakhon Pathom. We turned right at Nakhon Chaisi and then left onto Highway 3223. The journey there is signposted in Thai and English. If you live further north in Bangkok you could try Highway 346. I have marked the location on Google Maps. I also suggest that you buy the map book “Bangkok & Vicinity: A to Z Atlas” published by PN Map as the floating market is marked. Your other options are to rent a taxi for the day for about 1,200 baht (it cost me 400 baht in petrol alone) or take a local bus from either Nakhon Pathom market to Lampaya or a mini bus from the Southern Bus Terminal near Kung Luang Restaurant.

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Wat Bang Phra Magic Tattoo Festival

The annual Wai Khru ceremony at Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Chaisi district took place yesterday. For many foreigners this has become known as the Tattoo Festival. Thais from all over the country come to pay respect to their “teacher”, Luang Poh Pern, and also to have their magical tattoos recharged. I first went to this festival, held in March every year, back in 2006. I have already written a detailed report of this which you can read here. This year I was back again to bring a friend who was curious to see and experience this amazing festival.

The ceremony was scheduled to start at the auspicious time of 9.39 a.m. However, like last time, it is a good idea to come early. We were there just before 7 a.m. At that time it is easier to park and also to find a good place to sit or stand to watch the proceedings. Although we had arrived early, there was already close on a thousand people there. Many of them were sitting on the ground facing the shrine for Luang Poh Pern. Others were making offerings to this former revered abbot of the temple. He was famous for making magical tattoos that could protect their wearer. Now his monks continue this practice.

I was only there for a few minutes before the first howl of rage was heard. This was echoed at others areas of the parade ground. Some of the devotees, in a deep trance had been taken over by the animals tattooed onto their bodies. Sometimes a monkey. Sometimes a tiger. If they were a tiger they would roar and clench their fingers like claws. If they were a snake they would crawl on the ground. Some were calmed by their friends who stroked their head or rubbed their ears. Others gave a loud growl, startling everyone sitting quietly around them, and then go charging towards the shrine at the front of the parade ground. At the shrine there was a line of soldiers and volunteers waiting to catch hold of them.

By 9 a.m. there were literally thousands and thousands of people packed into every available space. Many more than previous years. There were also more foreigners than I had seen before. It is not really getting out of hand yet, but I am worried that we are turning this sacred ceremony into a kind of freak show. I tried my best to be respectful and stand quietly to one side. All of the pictures you see here were taken from afar with a zoom lens. However, there were quite a few foreigners, and Thai photographers too, who stood at the front between the praying devotees and the shrine. Others also walked around to take pictures of anyone that had turned into an animal. They quite often stuck their cameras into the face of these people in order to get a good shot. There were announcements in Thai several times for people not to stand at the front. One of the photographers was knocked off his feet by a charging “tiger”.

The next festival is in March next year. It always taken places on a Saturday. I will post in the forums as soon as I have the date. If you go next year then please try and be respectful. By all means take a few pictures at the front. But, once you have done that, go and sit at the side or the back. Please don’t walk around the crowd taking pictures while they are praying and meditating. In Thai culture this is really bad manners. It was good to see this time that there were many foreigners who were sitting quietly with the Thais. Click here to see some of my other pictures from this year. I have also marked this temple on Google Maps for Nakhon Pathom Province.

Giant Dragon Temple at Wat Samphran

When you are travelling around Thailand and you use guidebooks such as Lonely Planet, you should never make the mistake of using it as a bible. Just because the guidebook lists five temples for a city, it doesn’t mean that other temples are not worth visiting. Sometimes you can find hidden gems that turn out to be the highlight. This temple called Wat Samphran that I discovered by accident is a classic example. You won’t find it in any guidebooks but the sight of this massive dragon wrapped around a building that is something like 17 storeys high is really mind blowing.

The other week I was driving along a familiar route to Nakhon Pathom. At Samphran, not long after the entrance to the Rose Garden, there is a statue for the Thai Police Force. A sign on the left said that this road leads down to the Police Academy close to the Nakhon Chaisi River. So, I thought I would go and do something different. I didn’t notice this dragon temple on the way down. I ended up at the Samphran District Office alongside the river. I made a note of the floating restaurants here. There weren’t many people there when I visited, but I thought it would be a nice place to eat towards the end of the day. Other than that, not much going on. So, I drove back up towards Highway 4. That was when I spotted this large building with a giant dragon wrapped around the outside.

I was compelled to go and take a look. However, if you want to take a picture like the first one, then you need to do so from afar. When I arrived I was greeted by some friendly nuns who excitedly gestured for me to go and take a closer look at the building. Inside there was a lift which was closed but I decided it would be worth climbing the stairs to the top. About a few floors up there was an entrance way which took us into the actual body of the dragon. I was tempted to climb to the top this way but it was dark and there were no signs of any lights. So, I continued climbing up the stairs. I think I got as far as the tenth floor when my way was blocked by a padlocked door. The place was pretty dirty on the inside and so I am not sure if many people actually use the inside of this building. On a couple of floors though it looked like some monks were living there. But there was an odour of something that smelled like bat droppings.

If you go to visit this temple then make sure that you also explore the grounds. There are also many other giant sculptures of various animals like an elephant, rabbit, dolphins and another large building in the shape of a tortoise! There are many hidden treasure here so explore the place thoroughly both upstairs and downstairs! To find the temple, take Highway 4 from Bangkok. Go past the Samphran Elephant Ground and the Rose Garden. You will soon go over a large bridge that crosses the river. A short while later you need to turn left where you will see a sign that says Police Academy. There is a statue here too. The small entrance to Wat Samphran is less than halfway down this road on the right. I have marked it for you on google maps. The next time you are exploring in Thailand, throw away the guidebook and get off the beaten track!

Rose Garden in Thailand

One of the major tourist attractions that can be done as a day trip from Bangkok, is the Rose Garden Riverside in Nakhon Pathom Province. Located along the Tachin River, the 70 acre resort is only an hour’s drive from Bangkok. But don’t be fooled by the name. It is not just a botanical garden. Although it started as a Rose Garden and restaurant over 40 years ago, over the years it has evolved and developed into a cultural center, together with a hotel, restaurants and a spa. Today, foreign tourists mainly go to the Rose Garden to watch the internationally acclaimed Thai Village Cultural Show as part of a day long tour that includes a visit to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We went there a couple days ago and had a really enjoyable time. We also had a delicious lunch in a restaurant with grand views of the fast flowing river.

Tourists who turn up on the tour buses usually arrive at 2 p.m. just in time for the elephant and cultural shows. However, there is plenty of activities at the Rose Garden to keep you busy all day long. We were there for about six hours and the time went by very fast. In the morning we took part in the art and craft activities in a program called “Living the Thai Culture”. This takes place between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. and costs 480 baht per person. Situated around the Thai Village, there are about twelve different bases where you can learn more about every day traditional life in Thailand. These include: Dancing and Musical Instrument, Garland Making & Fruit Carving, Traditional Pottery, Thai Martial Arts, Silk Processing, Traditional Weaving, Umbrella Painting, Thai Country Kitchen, Orchid Nursery, Thai Herbal Pavilion, Bamboo Dancing and Rice Farming.

Although this new attraction has been going on for three years, not so many people seem to know about it. So we nearly had the Thai Village to ourselves which actually worked to our advantage. At each base, we were given a personal demonstration. We were then actively encouraged to try these for ourselves which is almost a unique experience amongst tourist attractions in Thailand. How often do you get a chance to plant rice?. If you didn’t want to get your feet wet in the rice paddy, you could have a go at grinding the rice. If you are feeling artistic you could try making a fish mobile from palm leaves or carving a flower out of a carrot! Or if you feel a bit more energetic, you could have a go at the bamboo dancing or the sword fights called krabi krabong. At other bases we learned how Thai herbs are used in traditional medicine and also how to look after orchids. Seeing the silkweaving process was also fascinating and a learning experience for all of us. Although you can turn up at any time, it is best to arrive before 10 a.m. as you will need the full two hours to experience all the activities.

After our busy schedule during the morning, we were now hungry for a good lunch. The resort has seven different venues that cater for people of all budgets. From the basic 40 baht a meal to the more lavish international buffet of 460 baht per person. We chose the Inn-Chan Restaurant which provided fine views of the river. I remember seeing this restaurant the other month when I was on a boat tour from the Don Wai Market. We came as far as the Rose Garden before turning around. The Rose Garden also have their own converted rice barge which you can join for a tour up the river to a local temple. After our delicious lunch, we set off to explore the grounds. We walked around, but you can rent a bicycle for 60 baht per hour or even hire a boat to go on the lake for 40 baht for 30 minutes. As well as the large variety of exotic flowers in the garden, there are also many traditional Thai houses. One of them is used for wedding receptions. Another for a spa. The other seven houses can be rented out by hotel guests. The attention to detail every where is really impressive and something you don’t often see in Thailand. I particularly liked what they did with their interpretation of a floating market. Unlike Damnoern Saduak, the surroundings helped make our pictures more beautiful.

The highlight of any visit to the Rose Garden is of course the Thai Village Cultural Show. Most tourists turn up just for this event. Gates to the Thai Village open at 1 p.m. This is the same place which we explored in the morning. So we didn’t go in until later. This afternoon session costs 480 baht and so you have to pay again if you want to do both. However, many of the activities are not available in the afternoon as the people are getting ready for the performance. But there is still a lot to see, so it is worth going in as soon as you can. For example, you can ride an elephant for as little as 50 baht per person. Then there are the shops and interesting displays. There is a short elephant show at 2.15 p.m. and then the main cultural show is at 2.45 p.m. Then straight after the cultural show, there is a second chance to see the elephants in action. A small tip, some people skip the first round of the elephant show and go straight to the auditorium in order to make sure that they get a good seat. A sign says rows nearer the stage can get hot due to the spotlights. The best seats are obviously the ones in the central block.

The Thai Cultural Show is certainly impressive and gives you a long lasting memory. I was last here about seven years ago and I could remember it all. There is a cast of over 120 people who very cleverly tell you about many different aspects of Thai culture and the Thai way of living through a series of performances. For example, a Harvest Dance, Bamboo Dance, and a Thai Mythical Dance. We are also introduced to the different traditional clothes and dancing methods of all regions of Thailand. Then there are demonstrations of Thai sports such as short pole fighting and Thai boxing. There is even a grand procession for a young man who is about to be ordained. He rides in the procession on the back of an elephant. Another highlight is the Thai wedding ceremony. There is certainly a lot to take in during this 40 minute show. If you haven’t witnessed anything like this before in Thailand, then you will find that the Rose Garden offers an easy introduction to Thai culture.

You can easily book tours to the Rose Garden from your hotel. Or, you can go independently. If there is a small group of you, then you can rent a taxi from Bangkok for not much more than 1,000 baht. You can visit the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in the morning, then either Nakhon Pathom or the Thai Human Imagery Museum before finishing at the Rose Garden. The tours are good, but some members of our forum reported that they were dropped off at the Rose Garden a bit late and missed the start of the show. They will also take you to a gem factory on the way back which is not advertised. You can also go by bus. Any bus leaving Bangkok for Nakhon Pathom can drop you off at the Rose Garden. Or you can do this on the way back from a trip to Kanchanaburi.

I have marked the location on the map at If you need help in planning this or any other trip then please post your questions at our forums.