Samut Sakhon was formerly called Tha Chin probably because, in the old days, it had been a trading port dealing with a vast number of Chinese junks. In 1548, a town named Sakhon Buri was established at the mouth of the Tha Chin River. It was a centre for recruiting troops from various seaside towns. The name of the town was changed into “Mahachai” when Khlong (canal) Mahachai was dug in 1704 to join the Tha Chin River at the town. Later, the town was renamed Samut Sakhon by King Rama IV but it is still popularly called “Mahachai” by the villagers. Samut Sakhon is located 30 kms. from Bangkok.
It is situated at Mu 10, Tambon Tha Mai, near the basketball court in Ban Plong Liam School, on the bank of the Tha Chin River. Plong Liam is a chimney of a Portuguese sugar factory, called Captain Hit. It was built in 1824 during the reign of King Rama III. It is a chimney made of bricks and cement on a 4 metre-width and 4 metre-height square base. From the base rises an octagonal chimney. Each side is 1 metre wide and its overall height is 30 metres.
It is believed that the Portuguese who resided in Thailand during that period might support the villagers to plant sugar cane to supply sugar factories because in the past, this area was a good location for planting cane as evident from many sugarcane press factories, which are called by the locals as “Rong Hip”. Later, due to the geographical change, some of the canals linked to one another. The tide could run through 3 areas of Lat Tha Pla, Lat Hang Pla and Lat Ko, making sea water flood the sugarcane field. When there was no sugarcane to supply the factories, the Portuguese sugarcane press factories and sugar factories had to stop their businesses and have been left deserted until the present.
To get there: Take Phetchakasem Road, passing Phutthamonthon Sai 4 Intersection to the Flora Inn Intersection (1 kilometre before the elephant show space) and turn left for approximately 4 kilometres, passing Wat Tha Kham, cross the Chaloem Phrakiat Bridge to Wat Thian Dat – Suan Phak Intersection. Then, go straight on for approximately 3 kilometres to Wat Tha Mai and go further for 500 metres and turn right for 500 metres.
Wat Nang Sao
Wat Nang Sao is located in Tambon Tha Mai. Take Highway No. 35 (Thon Buri-Pak Tho) to Highway No. 3091 for approximately 5 kilometres and turn left into Soi Wat Nang Sao 2 for 1 kilometre. According to legend, Sakhon Buri is a beach town in the south of Ayutthaya city. During a war in then Burma, a group of Thai people immigrated along the Tha Chin River. The elderly and women hid in the ancient Phra Ubosot. Later, the Thais helped one another in fighting with the Burmese troops and gained victory. The immigrants then, settled in the area. Among them, 2 sisters who once had taken refuge in the Phra Ubosot, had an idea to renovate it. However, the elder one realized that the temple was too damaged and thus, built a new one instead. Therefore, the younger sister would like to do as promised that if they survived, they would have the temple renovated. Therefore, she finished the renovation and called it “Wat Phrommachari”. Later, it was called “Wat Nong Sao”. At present, it is eroded into “Wat Nang Sao”. The important ancient monument of the temple is a brick ordination hall on a curved base similar to a junk with one entrance which is called “Bot Maha Ut”. It has the ancient style of a terracotta tiled roof, whose beams were made of logs and twin sandstone boundary markers. In the area, in front of the temple next to the Tha Chin River is located a fish sanctuary, full of striped catfish. It is well-known among tourists who usually come to visit and feed the fish.
Saphan Pla is the biggest fish bridge and a modern one, second only to that in Bangkok. It is located in Samut Sakhon municipality. Modern facilities are utilized to transfer large amount of sea products in every kind. Also, it is a wholesale centre of sea fish.
The City Pillar Shrine
The City Pillar Shrine is situated near Pom Wichian Chodok and is a sacred place, as well as, a centre of the heart of the fishermen in the province. Every time before sailing off, they have to pay respect and light a firework in front of the city pillar shrine for good luck.
Khlong Khok Kham
Khlong Khok Kham is a very winding canal. Some parts of it are 90-degree curves. The tide is so strong that it is very difficult to control a boat. This caused an accident when Phrachao Suea or Somdet Phra Sanphet VIII (1703-1709) went along Khlong Khok Kham on his private trip by the Ekkachai royal barge. The barge hit a branch of a tree and Phanthai Norasing as the steersman took responsibility by being executed. A straight shortcut through the curving canal was dug by the order of Phrachao Suea at the execution spot. Chaophraya Ratchasongkhram was a leader of 3,000 soldiers in the operation of digging the shortcut in 1705, connecting with the Tha Chin River. The shortcut was 5 Wa-width and 6 Sok-depth and was finished in 1709 in the reign of King Thai Sa. The king gave its name as “Khlong Sanam Chai” and this was later changed into “Khlong Maha Chai”. However, it is called by the locals as “Khlong Than”. At the mouth of Khlong Maha Chai, next to Khlong Khok Kham is situated another shrine of Phanthai Norasing.
Wat Khok Kham
Wat Khok Kham is an ancient temple located by Khlong Khok Kham. It is accessible by going along Highway No. 35. Turn left to Wat Phanthai Norasing for 3 kilometres. The interesting part of this temple is the old ubosot decorated around with Sema boundary markers. At the front of the temple lies a renovated chedi in the Ayutthaya style of art. The wooden engraving design at the gables is beautiful. Besides, there is a Phanthai Norasing Shrine which was a temporary shrine and a store of antique objects concerning the story of Phanthai Norasing such as parts of the Ekkachai and Butsabok royal barges, etc.
Samut Sakhon Science Centre for Education
Samut Sakhon Science Centre for Education is situated in Tambon Khok Kham, 1 kilometre from Wat Khok Kham. It is under the Office of the Non-Formal Education Commission, Ministry of Education. It was established in 1997 in an area of 18 rai. Inside the building lies an exhibition on astrology and space under the title of the Earth and Solar System, Exploration to the Moon, Life of Fixed Stars with a projector presenting stars in a small dome, a presentation in the Mini Theatre, and an exhibition entitled “Human Beings and Measurement and Calculation”, telling about the long history of measurement and calculation. Outside the building, scientific gardens are organized such as geological garden, health garden, physics amusement park, organic agricultural garden and herb garden. The activities are blended with the original and natural geography. It is open daily from Monday to Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. For more details, please contact Tel. 0 3442 1014.
Ban Don Kai Dee (Benjarong Village)
Ban Don Kai Dee in Krathum Baen District of Samut Sakhon Province where the famous Benjarong porcelain is made . The ceramics produced here are of the finest quality and are much sought after by collectors, universally admired for the beauty and grace of their unique form, design and colour.
The unique design benjarong of Ban Don Kai Dee is called Sakharabenjayamanee, or the Five-coloured Gemstones of Sakhon City. The design is based on the province’s historical background and the Thai symbolism of auspicious colours. Samut Sakhon, the home province of Benjarong manufacture, is a coastal fishing province and thus has always been associated with the sea. This is why the Benjarong ware of Samut Sakhon with the Sakharabenjayamanee design has the blue-green colour as its main background, to represent the sea, the soul of the city.
The people of Ban Don Kai Dee have formed themselves into a strong handicraft group and prepared their village to welcome visitors, not only to buy their products, but also to join in activities they have organised for them, such as demonstrations of the different processes in the making of Benjarong, tours of the village and visits to nearby orchards and to the coast, as well as to trying their hands and cooking local food.
For visitors who would love to prolong their stay in the village, standard home stay accommodation at very reasonable prices with food is also provided by many Ban Don Kai Dee families. Another important aspect that make Ban Don Kai Dee most suitable is the helpful and hospitalble nature of the village people.
To get to the village : Take Highway 35 (Thon Buri – Pak Tho) and turning left to Highway 3091. Ban Don Kai Dee is 2.2 kilometers from the clock tower.
Ao Mahachai Mangrove Forest Study Centre
The Ao Mahachai Mangrove Forest Study Centre offers a nature trail along a mangrove forest around the Tha Chin Estuary. From the town, take Sutthiwawithi Road for 2.5 kilometres, then turn left and proceed for 6.5 kilometres to the centre.
This is one of Thailand’s largest traditional fresh seafood markets, but visitors can find much more than seafood, especially if there is time to spare. Handicrafts such as wicker furniture, pottery and local sarongs are among the colourful offerings in the market. Crossing the river from Mahachai to the west bank, visitors will arrive at Tha Chalom, a large fishing village and industrial land for marine products.
This fortress is located near the city pillar shrine in the town. It was constructed in 1827 during the reign of King Rama III to prevent sea invasion by an enemy. It can be seen as ruins nowadays. The cannons, which used to be housed in the fortress, are now displayed at the city pillar shrine and the city hall.
Samut Sakhon is the biggest producer of brine salt. Its picturesque salt farms, which sprawl across the border with Samut Songkhram and along the Thon Buri-Pak Tho Highway, have provided a back drop for many holiday snapshots.
Phan Thai Norasing Shrine
This is regarded as the symbol of honesty. It was erected to be a memorial to Phanthai Norasing, a man of integrity of the Ayutthaya period. The historic event occurred in 1704 when Phra Chao Sua, a king of Ayutthaya, made a royal visit by the Ekkachai royal barge via the curved Khok Kham Canal. Phanthai Norasing, who was the coxswain, could not operate the steering, thus causing the prow to be broken by hitting the limb of a tree. To foster the palace law, the coxswain then begged the king to slaughter him although he was forgiven. After his death, the king built a shrine in Khlong Khok Kham and commanded to have a new canal, later named Khlong Mahachai, dug to eliminate the sharp curves of Khok Kham Canal. A cruise along the canal via mangrove forests and fishery villages is organised by Khun Narin Bunruam Tel: 0-3441-2490.
Wat Chong Lom
This temple fronting the river mouth is located at Tambon Tha Chalom on the western side of the Tha Chin River. It was constructed during the Ayutthaya period. Religious buildings in the temple have been beautifully renovated. The windy area by the sea is used as a rest area for the locals.
Wat Yai Chom Prasat
Located on Highway No.35 with a left turn after crossing the Tha Chin River, this is an ancient temple presumed to have been built during the Ayutthaya era. The doors and windows of both the old and new chapels were neatly and beautifully carved in various floral designs. It is believed the craftsmen were Chinese, as the carvings include some Chinese trees.
a) From Bangkok, take Highway No. 35 (Thon Buri-Pak Tho) to Samut Sakhon via Bang Khunthian District Office and Mahachai Intersection.v
b) From Bangkok, take Highway No. 3 (Phetkasem Road) to Bang Khae, then turn into the outer ring road before proceeding along Ekkachai Road to Samut Sakhon.
Regular buses leave Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal daily between 4.30 a.m. and 9.30 p.m. Call 0 2435 1199-200 for more information.
Visitors can take a regular train which departs from Wongwian Yai Railway Station to Mahachai Railway Station daily, and then connect a ferry from Mahachai to Samut Sakhon Town. Call 0 2465 2017 for more information.