Samut Songkhram Province

Samut Songkhram is the province of fertile land, of plants and food grains, the production source of vegetables and fruits, as well as a vast variety of seafood products. It is also an interesting historical source for the early Rattanakosin period.

Samut Songkhram is an ancient province with a long history. Originally, it is believed that this province was once a part of Ratchaburi province, and called Suan Nork at that time. Then, towards the end of the Ayutthaya period going on to the Thonburi period, it was separated from Ratchaburi province and was called Mueang Mae Klong. Samut Songkhram is located 72 Kilometres from Bangkok,

Bang Kung Camp

Bang Kung Camp  is located at Mu 4, Tambon Bang Kung. When arriving at the camp site, visitors will firstly see an imitation wall built in memory of the battle. Here is a historic navy camp site. Following the second defeat of the Ayutthaya kingdom in 1767, King Taksin the Great moved the naval force to set up camp in the district of Bang Kung since Mueang Mae Klong (the city of Mae Klong) was in the way used by the Burmese army. A wall was built to make Wat Bang Kung be in the middle of the camp as a spirit centre for soldiers. King Taksin the Great later commanded the Chinese from Rayong, Chon Buri, Ratchaburi, and Kanchanaburi to form a guard unit for the camp. The camp was, therefore, called the ‘Bang Kung Chinese Camp.’ The king named the guards ‘Thahan Phakdi Asa’ or the ‘voluntary loyal soldiers.’ In 1768, the Burmese king of Angwa led an army via Kanchanaburi to surround the camp. King Taksin the Great and Phra Maha Montri (Bunma) jointly fought and defeated the Burmese. It was the first battle against the Burmese after the Kingdom of Thon Buri had been established by King Taksin the Great. The victory was hailed as moral support to the Thai people while it created a sense of fear among the Burmese army. The camp site was left deserted for almost 200 years. In 1967, the Ministry of Education established a boy scout camp on the site to celebrate King Taksin the Great, and also built a shrine as a memorial to the king. The ceremony to raise the shrine was held on 20 June 1968. Within the camp compound, there is the Ubosot (ordination hall) commonly called as ‘Bot Luangpho Dam,’ which was built in the Ayutthaya period. The hall is wholly covered by four species of ficus plants: Pho (Bodhi), Sai, Krai, and Krang. Therefore, it is also called ‘Bot Prok Pho’ (ordination hall covered by Bodhi trees). The monument of King Taksin the Great is in the nearby area.

Wat Intharam

Wat Intharam  is located in Tambon Mueang Mai. This ancient temple was built in 1757 during the Ayutthaya period. It was renovated during the reign of King Rama III. There are many interesting points within the temple compound. Luangpho To, the Buddha image here is over 300 years old. The Ubosot (ordination hall), which was built from marble, has teak doors and window panels carved with proverbs. At the temple’s pier, there is a pond of Taphian carp and visitors can feed them. The temple sets aside an area as a mental rehabilitation centre using herbs and Dharma practice to treat drug addicts. Furthermore, an ancient boat museum project will be implemented here. For more information, call Tel. 0 3476 1888, 0 3473 5515.

To get there  Take Highway 325 (Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae). Turn left to cross the Phra Si Suriyen Bridge and then turn right to Highway 3062. Turn right again to Highway 2002, past Amphawa Hospital, and follow Highway 2007. Alternatively, visitors can take bus No. 8131 from Samut Songkhram to Wat Kaeo Charoen’s pier.

Wat Bang Khae Noi

Wat Bang Khae Noi  is located in Tambon Khwae Om by the Mae Klong River. This temple was built by Khunying Chui (Noi) Wongsarot in 1868. Initially, the Ubosot (ordination hall) was built on the bamboo raft tied to a Bodhi tree on the river bank. At present, the temple is well restored. The most interesting thing is the ordination hall’s inside walls which are woodcarvings depicting the Lord Buddha’s history, birth, enlightenment, and nirvana, as well as stories of the Lord Buddha’s Ten Incarnations or Jatakas. The beautiful and explicit design was made by craftsmen from Phetchaburi province where woodcarving is famous. For more information, call Tel. 0 3476 1222.

Ban Maeo Thai Boran

Ban Maeo Thai Boran  is a house where species of genuine Siamese cats have been conserved. It is located at 2/1 Mu 7, Tambon Khwae Om. The house of traditional Siamese cats was created by lovers of Siamese cats to promote and support the conservation of Siamese cats to be a treasure of the nation. It also gives information on genuine features of Siamese cats, supports research, exchanges knowledge and views between members, and exchanges research experiences and breeding with relevant bodies. Khun Pricha Phukkhabut, the co-founder and caretaker of the traditional Siamese cat house, told that “my mother raised Siamese cats of the Wichian Mat species when I was young. At that time, I did not pay much attention to them. When I grew up, I was to feed them. There were not many cats in my house. My family continued to keep Wichian Mat cats and I had developed a bond with them. Later, some friends who were cat lovers talked about the conservation of the cat since it was clever, graceful, attractive, and had pleasing habits.” Apart from the species of Wichian Mat, Siamese cats also include Si Sawat, Supphalak, and Koncha. Inside the house, there is a breeding section divided into cages of various types of Siamese cats. This is an interesting place for the study on a genuine species of Siamese cats. For more information, call Tel. 0 3473 3284, 08 4003 4194.

To get there  Take Highway 325 (Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae). Turn left to cross the Phra Si Suriyen Bridge and then turn right to Highway 3062. Cross the Pracha Chom Chuen Canal, past Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong and Wat Bang Khae Yai, and see the sign of the traditional Siamese cat house.

Wat Bang Khae Yai

Wat Bang Khae Yai  is located on the bank of the Mae Klong River, at the mouth of the Bang Khae Canal in Tambon Khwae Om. It was built in 1814. Inside the temple, there are ancient monuments and artefacts. The large Ubosot (ordination hall) is more than 150 years old. At the front, the square Chedi (pagoda) with twelve indented corners is the art of the Ayutthaya period. The laterite principal Buddha image in the ordination hall is in the posture of Subduing Mara. There are seven Dharma Chedis built in 1872 with a boundary wall. On a separating wall in a monk’s cell, a tempera mural painting from the late reign of King Rama II depicts a battle between the Siamese and the Burmese, probably the one that King Rama II sent  troops to obstruct the enemy at Ratchaburi in 1821. Admission is subject to permission in advance.

To get there  Take Highway 325 (Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae) and turn left to cross the Phra Si Suriyen Bridge. Then, turn right to Highway 3062 for about 2 km, past Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong, and see Wat Bang Khae Yai.

Ban Dontri or House of Music

Ban Dontri or House of Music  is located in the temple compound of Wat Kudi Thong. A school building is used for instructing traditional Thai music. The Samut Songkhram Primary School Office has envisioned that the cultural value of folk wisdom should be preserved and inherited to the next generation for their pride in the future. A voluntary group of traditional Thai musicians in the past has been formed to give music lessons for a new generation, so that the spirit of the music city would be passed down. The House of Music has operated since 1 July, 1999. It is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call Tel. 0 3475 1500.

Ban Phaya So

Ban Phaya So  ‘So’ or a fiddle is a local musical instrument of the Central Region. Ban Phaya So is a house of the alto fiddle (So U) maker who combines the art of traditional Thai music with carving. A coconut that is used for making a fiddle will be carved with different designs, such as character figures, changeable rose flowers, name initials, names of the twelve astrological years, etc. Nowadays, this art is rarely seen. Visitors can see the art of carving and learn to play the fiddle at Khun Somphon Ketkaeo’s house, at 43 Mu 5, Tambon Bang Phrom, Amphoe Bang Khonthi. For more information, call Tel. 0 3476 1949, 08 1742 1786.

To get there  From the town of Samut Songkhram, follow Highway 325 (Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae) and take a left turn toward the King Rama II Memorial Park between Km 36-37. Ban Phaya So is around 3 km from the Park.

Talat Nam Yam Yen Amphawa

Talat Nam Yam Yen Amphawa  is an afternoon floating market by the canal near Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram (parking area is available). On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, during 12.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m., the Amphawa Canal is occupied by vendors who pack their boats with food and drinks, such as fried sea mussel, noodles, coffee, O-liang (iced black coffee), sweets, etc. There are also things for sale on wheelbarrows on the bank. Visitors can enjoy a cosy atmosphere and music broadcast by the community members, explore the market, have food, and hire a boat to see fireflies at night.

To get there
By car  Take Highway 35 (Thon Buri – Pak Tho) to Km 63. Drive through the town of Samut Songkhram to take Highway 325 (Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae). At Km 36-37, take a left turn toward the King Rama II Memorial Park. The Market is near the King Rama II Memorial Park.

By bus  Take the Bangkok – Ratchaburi – Damnoen Saduak bus to get off at Amphawa Market.

Wat Bang Kaphom

Wat Bang Kaphom  is located between Km 37-38 on Highway 325 (Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae). This ancient temple was built in the late Ayutthaya period. The old Wihan (image hall) is very interesting. On the upper part of the walls, there are unusual mural paintings in the form of stucco reliefs depicting the Lord Buddha’s history. On the lower part of the walls, there are niches with Buddha images inside. In the centre of the hall, a large replica of four superimposing Buddha’s footprints in different sizes is enshrined. It was presumed that the footprints were built in the Thon Buri period. Initially, they were covered by silver sheets which were later stolen during a war. The footprint at the deepest level which is made from mother-of-pearl-inlaid wood still retains its beautiful design. On the temple grounds, a small coffee shop offers traditional tasty tea and coffee.

Wat Chula Mani

Wat Chula Mani  is located on Highway 325 (Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae) between Km 34-35 in Tambon Bang Chang. This ancient temple sits on the bank where the Amphawa Canal connects with the Phi Lok Canal. The temple was built in the Ayutthaya period during the late reign of King Prasatthong. It was presumed that Thao Kaeophaluek (Noi), Mistress of the Bang Chang Market and a forebear of the royal lineage of Bang Chang, built the temple. The back of the temple was initially the residence of Khun Nak (Queen Ammarinthramat of King Rama I) and Khun Bunrot (Queen Si Suriyenthramat of King Rama II).

Chang-Eng Siamese Twins Memorial and Boat Museum

Chang-Eng Siamese Twins Memorial and Boat Museum  are located in Tambon Lat Yai on Ekkachai Road, around 4 km from City Hall. The statues were built in memory of Chang-Eng, the Siamese twins who made Thailand famous around the world. They stand in the middle of a broad ground decorated with trees and flowering plants. There is a large pond in the foreground. Furthermore, the biography of Chang-Eng, the Siamese twins, is on display in a hall. Chang-Eng, the Siamese twins were born on 11 May 1811, in Samut Songkhram. During 1828-1829, Captain Coffin and Hunter came to Mae Klong to conduct trade and they encountered the Siamese twins. They were allowed to take the Siam twins back with them to America and the United Kingdom for shows in public places where the life stories of Chang-Eng who were joined to each other at the chest were repeated again and again. Both of them lived a normal life to the age of 63. The name of ‘Siamese twins’ made Thailand famous worldwide.

In addition, the hall has an area for a ‘Boat Museum.’ Here, there is a variety of local boats collected for a study on the Mae Klong villagers’ way of life. The museum is open daily from 8.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 8.00 – 12.00 a.m. Admission fee is 15 Baht. For more information, call Tel. 0 3471 1333.

Wat Sathatham

Wat Sathatham is located at Tambon Bang Cha Kreng. The temple is made from golden teak wood and the inner walls are set with pearl-inlay. It was built in the year 2535 B.E. (1982) by Phra Khru Samutvisutthiwong, the former abbot. Inside the main building, Ubosot, there are paintings depicting Buddha’s life, paintings about the Ramayana epic, painting of famous monks. The temple is highly revered by the people of Samut Songkhram and people of neighbouring provinces.

Don Hoi Lot

Don Hoi Lot  This famous tourist attraction of Samut Songkhram is a bar on the mouth of the Mae Klong River. It was formed by the sedimentation of sandy soil called by villagers here as ‘Sai Khi Pet.’ The bar of 3 km wide and 5 km long covers two zones: Don Nok is on the mouth of Ao Mae Klong, accessible by boat; and Don Nai is located on the beach of the Chuchi village in Tambon Bang Chakreng and on the beach of the Bang Bo village in Tambon Bang Kaeo, accessible by car. In the area of the bar, there are many shellfish, such as Hoi Lot (razor clam), Hoi Lai (undulated surf clam), Hoi Puk (Ridged Venus clam), Hoi Pak Pet (tongue shell), Hoi Khraeng (cockle), etc. Hoi Lot is mostly found here and it has become a landmark of this place.

Hoi Lot is a species of bivalve mollusks, having muddy white meat in a straw-shaped shell and living in mud. Hoi Lot will be caught during low tide. A small stick previously dipped in lime will be put in a hole where the shellfish live. Because of the lime, they will be stimulated to appear and are caught easily. The lime should not be directly spread on the bar since it will kill all other shellfish in the area. The best time for a visit is around March – May because the low tide will last longer and the bar will emerge to be seen.  Tourists can hire a boat from the Aphon Pavilion (near the Krommaluang Chumphonkhetudomsak Shrine) to visit Don Hoi Lot. The charter boat fee is 60 Baht (not over 6 persons), or 10 Baht per person. To visit the bay mouth, it costs 200 Baht per boat (not over 5 persons). To admire the beauty of the mangrove forest, it is 300 Baht per boat (not over 7 persons). For more details on the times of the high and low tides, contact the Bang Chakraeng Sub-district Administration Organization at Tel. 0 3472 3749, 0 3472 3736.

Here, there is a Krommaluang Chumphonkhetudomsak Shrine, and traditional Thai music is performed monthly on the first and third weeks on its front lawn during 4.30 – 6.30 p.m.

Furthermore, many restaurants and souvenir shops here offer fresh and dried seafood, Hoi Lot, fish sauce, shrimp paste of Khlong Khon, coconut sugar, palm sap, etc.

To get there
By car
1. To the Bang Bo village in Tambon Bang Kaeo, take the Thon Buri – Pak Tho Road (Rama II Road), and before Km 62, follow the direction sign on the left to Don Hoi Lot for around 7 km.
2. To the Chuchi village in Tambon Bang Chakreng, take the Thon Buri – Pak Tho Road (Rama II Road), and at the foot of the Phra Phutthaloetla Naphalai Bridge or around Km 64, follow the direction sign to Don Hoi Lot for around 5 km.

By bus  A bus service is available all day from the market in Amphoe Mueang Samut Songkhram to Don Hoi Lot in Chuchi village.

By boat  A boat service of various sizes is available from the pier on the Mae Klong River to Don Nok. For a group of 60-250 people, contact Khun Phonthip Saengwanit at the Sun Huat Heng Sawmill in advance at Tel. 0 3471 1466, 0 3471 2558, 0 3471 2451, 08 1378 5858; Fax: 0 3471 4240 (Food can be ordered to serve on the boat.), or contact the ferry ticket booth at the pier by the Mae Klong River.

Wat Charoen Sukharam Worawihan and Fish Sanctuary

This temple is located at Bang Nok Khwaek and about 4 Kilometres from Amphoe Muang. Luang Pho Toa Buddha image, which is highly revered by people, is enshrined in the main building (Ubosot). The body of the Buddha image is made of laterite and cast in the attitude of Subduing Mara of Sukhothai period style. Measuring 178 cms. wide at the lap and 208 cms. high from the base to the tip of the tonsure. In front of the temple, there are various kinds of fish in the stream, especially silver and red-tail tinfoil barbs. To get there, take the Samut Songkhram – Bang Nok Khwaek Route, passing the Church of the Virgin Mary, cross the Bang Nok Khwaek Bridge and then turn right onto an access road for 500 metres.

The Church of the Virgin Mary or Asanawihan Maephrabangkerd

This church is located at Mu 7, Tambon Bang Nok Khwaek. The church is a holy worshipping place for Christian families living around the area. It was constructed in 1890 A.D. by Father Paolo Salmone, a French Missionary. The construction of the church took 6 years. Built in French Gothic architectural style. The windows are decorated with stained glass. Within the church, there is a Statue, a pulpit, a holy water basin, various kinds of candelabra, and carvings depicting various historical points in the Bible.

It is located about 100 metres further from Somdet Phra Ammarin Bridge. You can also get there by renting a long-tailed boat from the pier at Amphoe Sam Phran District Office.

Khai Bang Kung

Khai Bang Kung is located at Mu 4, Tambon Bang Kung. It is a famous old Naval Forces Camp that is etched into Thai history. It was a location of great strategic importance to and great heroism of the Mae Klong people over invaders during late Ayutthaya going on to the Thonburi periods. Both Thai and Chinese soldiers, under the leadership of King Taksin The Great, annihilated and repelled the invading Burmese army. This powerful camp was indeed feared by the Burmese.

Khai Bang Kung (Bang Kung Camp) was left deserted for almost 200 years. Then, in 1967, the Ministry of Education established a Boy Scout camp here in honour of King Taksin The Great. King Taksin’s Shrine was also built to commemorate his historic deeds. The Shrine erecting ceremony was held on June 20, 1968. The old Wat Bot and Wat Bang Kung are also located in this Camp area. Within the main building is a large stucco Buddha image that locals called Luang Pho Bot Noi. There are also murals of late Ayutthaya period depicting the story of Lord Buddha’s life. Getting there: take the route of Samut Songkhram – Bang Nok Khwaek (the same route to King Rama II Memorial Park). Before reaching the Church of the Virgin Mary, take a left turn to cross the Somdet Phra Ammarin Bridge, and then turn left again and continue for another 10 Kilometres.

Boat Tours

From Amphoe Mueang Samut Songkhram town, visitors could travel by boat to see scenic views of Mae Klong riverside. Along the banks of the Mae Klong, there are coconut groves and ancient style Thai houses, which are rare nowadays, in the areas of Tambon Kwae Om and Tambon Muang Mai. The adjacent areas of Amphoe Amphawa and Amphoe Bang Khonthi features lychee orchards. The lychee contest is held yearly from April to May.

Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong

This temple is located on the bank of Mae Klong River, on the west side of the end of Phrachachuen canals mouth. It is accessible by boat from Wat Amphawan pier or King Rama II Memorial Park pier. An interesting attraction in the temple is the Kudee Thong (golden hermitage). According to a legend, Khun Nak’s millionaire father asked the abbot of Wat Bang Li to foretell Khun Nak’s fortune. The abbot predicted that Khun Nak would become a Queen. Khun Nak’s father then vowed that he will build the golden hermitage for Wat Bang Li if the prediction came true, hence the reason for the name of Wat Ban Li Kudi Thong. Later, Wat Bang Li was flooded and part of the land was gouged out by water, so the Kudi Thong was taken down and reconstructed at this temple.

Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram

Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram is located near King Rama II Memorial Park. This temple belongs to the Bang Chang family. It was constructed by Princess Phrarubsirisopharkmahanaknari, the mother of Queen Amarintharamat. The area behind this temple was the residence of Luang Yokkrabat and Khun Nak. It is believed that area about the position of the chedi at present of Wat Amphawan is the place where Khun Nak gave birth to a son (Khun Chim) who later became King Rama II.

Later, Wat Amphawan was renovated by King Rama III, IV, and V. At present it is a second class royal monastery. The beautiful main building and precious antiques inside the temple are of an early Rattanakosin period architectural and arts style.

Amphoe Amphawa

The Amphawa district is an important place and is much involved with Thai history from the Ayutthaya period to the early Rattanakosin period. In the past, it was called Khwaeng Bang Chang, the small community prospered in both agriculture and commerce. There are credible evidences that suggest that during King Prasatthong era, Kwaeng Bang Chang had a market called Bang Chang Market. Ms. Noi was the head of the market who had a title of Thao Kaeo Phaluek. She was a member of the Bang Chang family a very rich family. Later, the family was granted the surname of Na Bang Chang by the King.

In the year 2303 B.E. (1760), during the reign of King Ekkathat in the late of Ayutthaya era, he promoted Nai Thong Duang (later to become King Rama I) to the position of Luang Yok Krabat governing Muang Ratchaburi, the fourth-grade city under Ayutthaya. Later, Luang Yokkrabat married Khun Nak, a daughter of the rich Bang Chang family, they settled behind Wat Chulamani. Some time later, the house was gutted from a fire, so they relocated to a new house behind Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram, where they stayed for 3 years.

In 2310 B.E. (1767), the Burmese conquered Ayutthaya, Luang Yokkrabat and his family escaped to the deep of the jungles. At that time, Than Kaeo (Somdet Krom Phra Srisudarak) an elder sister of Luang Yokkrabat gave birth to a daughter named Boon Rod (who later became Princess Srisuriyenthara Borommarachinee, the queen to King Rama II). When Phraya Wachiraphrakarn gathered an army and was able to repel the Burmese, he was crowned as King Taksin. So Luang Yokkrabat and his family moved back to their hometown.

At that time, Khun Nak gave birth to their fourth son, Chim (who later became King Rama II). After that Luang Yokkrabat served King Taksin. He received the title of Phrarajawarin Chao Krom Phra Tamruajnokkwa, then was promoted to Prince Phrayamahakasatsuek and later on was crowned as King Rama I, the founder of Chakri Dynasty. Khun Nak, his wife, was promoted to Queen (Somdej Amarintharamat). Khun San, Khun Nak’s mother, was promoted to Princess Phrarubsirisopharkmahanaknari.

But because Queen Amarintharamat was a native of Bang Chang, she had many close relatives who owned fruit orchards at Bang Chang. When promoted to Queen Amarintharamat, she became a noble Bang Chang. Therefore her relatives are related to the noble Bang Chang Family. Somdet Phra Amarintharamat always visited her relatives, so it was called Suan Nok which means the suburb that belonged to members of the queen’s family. Bangkok, the region of the royal family was called Suan Nai. The catchphrase of Bang Chang Suan Nork, Bangkok Suan Nai was used until the reign of King Rama IV.

Wat Khao Yee San

Wat Khao Yee San is an old temple. It is believed to have been constructed in late Ayutthaya period. The interesting attraction is a boat shaped building (Wihan) situated on top of the mountain. There, enshrined, are the 4 traces of Lord Buddhas Footprints. The Mondop and wooden doors are of a supreme craftsmanship. There also is Luang Pho Poo Pu Sriracha Shrine, which is highly revered by all. The worship fair of Luang Pho Poo Pu Sriracha is held annually in the middle of November.

Orchid Farm

This Orchid Farm is located on Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae Road. It is a tourist stopping point with a beautiful orchid farm and butterfly farms. It is open from 08.00.-11.00.

King Rama II Memorial Park

This park was built under the project to honour King Rama II, run by the King Rama II Phraboromrachanusorn Foundation under royal patronage. It is built to commemorate his great patron to the arts and culture, which become a national heritage. Phra Rajsamutmatee, the abbot of Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram, offered the area of 11 Rais (4.4 acres) for the construction of the park. This area was very important because it was a royal birthplace King Rama II.

In the park, there are many places of interest including King Rama II Museum – 4 buildings built in traditional Thai architectural style. The museum displays the ancient art objects dating back to early Rattanakosin era, the lifestyle of the Thais during King Rama II period. Other attractions are: Ho Klang (main hall) houses the statue of King Rama II and artefacts. Ho Non Chai depicts the Thai men lifestyle. Ho Non Ying depicts the Thai women lifestyle. Chan Ruean (corridor) depicts the traditional Thai style house. Kitchen and Bathroom depicts the traditional Thai kitchen style and bathroom of the middle class. Furthermore, there is an out-door theatre, a botanical garden containing various species of trees found in Thai literature, shops selling local goods and various kinds of fruit.

Getting there: take Highway No. 35 (Thonburi – Pak Tho route), at Km. 63 marker, turn right to Highway No. 325 for another 6 Kilometres (pass through the Samu Songkram town), drive on another 1 kilometre on a left side to the park. From Samut Songkhram town, there is Bang Mun Nak Line bus, catch it at the Muang Municipality Market. The park and museum are open daily from 09.00-18.00. The Admission is 5 baht for children, and 10 Baht for adults. Contact tel: 0-3475-1367, 0-3475-1666 for more information.

Bencharong House

The Bencharong House is located on Samut Songkhram – Bang Phae Road. This is where beautiful Bencharong crockery that represents the exquisite craftsmanship and the beauty of Thai Art, are produced. The Bancharong crockery is suitable for household use as well as for house decoration. Visitors could see the Bencharong crockery production process.

Tha Kha Floating Market

The Tha Kha floating market takes place on the 2nd, 7th, 12th days of both the waxing and waning moon of the lunar calendar, and also operates on every Saturday and Sunday from 6.00 a.m. to noon. This is a rendezvous of vendor boats that carry local food, vegetable, and fruit for selling. Boat rental services are on offer for travelling to the villages and fruit orchards around Tha Kha Floating Market. Visitors wishing to go the Tha Kha Floating Market can go by car, taking the Highway No. 325 (Samut Songkhram – Bang Pae), take a right turn at Km. 32 and proceed for another 5 Kilometres You can also take the local buses servicing the Mae Klong Damnoen Saduak Route and the Tha Kha – Don Sam Route from the market in town in front of the Thai Military Bank.

Wat Ban Laem or Wat Phet Samut Worawihan

This temple is located in Samut Songkhram town. The former name is Wat Sri Champa. It is the most important temple of the province. According to history, in B.E. 2307 (1764) the Burmese invaded Muang Phetburi but Ayutthaya’s troops protected the city. Ban Laem people in Phetburi migrated to escape from the Burmese and settled down at Amphoe Mae Klong, further up from Wat Sri Champa, and called this village Ban Laem, the same name as their former village in Muang Phetburi.

The people all ptiched in to renovate Wat Sri Champa and gave it the new name of Wat Ban Laem. Most of the Ban Laem people were fishermen. One day, they went to catch fish as usual using a net in the Mae Klong Gulf, two Buddha images were caught in the net: one was a seated image, another was a standing image. The sitting image of the Buddha was enshrined at Wat Khao Ta Krau, Phetburi province. For the second standing image of the Buddha, the image was 1.67 metres high and holding an alms-bowl, unfortunately, the bowl could not be recovered. This Buddha image was enshrined at Wat Ban Laem and was called Luang Pho Ban Laem. This is a very sacred Buddha and many miracles have been associated with this Buddha image amking the image highly revered by all.

Wat Ban Laem which once was a small and disregarded temple, prospered and was enlarged mainly from the donations made by the people out of their faith and from their merit making and worshiping Luang Pho Ban Laem. Later, this temple was promoted to the status of royal temple of the class Worawihan and was granted the name of Wat Phet Samut Worawihan by the King. To replace the lost alms-bowl of Luang Pho Ban Laem, Prince Phanuphanwongworadej presented a blue glass-bowl which can still be seen today.

In the temple compound, there is a monk museum, exhibiting Buddha images, amulets from various periods, artifacts, antiques, and a pulpit from the Ayutthaya period.

In front of Wat Ban Laem, boat trips are available for a trip along the Mae Klong River to King Rama II Memorial Park and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Contact Mae Klong Travel Company (under the care of the Chairman of Samut Songkhram Chamber of Commerce) at 0-3471-3053, 0-1916-3494.

Car

By Car: From Bangpakaew T-intersection onto the Thonburi – Paktho Road, take Highway No. 35, through Mahachai – Nakluea intersection, at Km. 64, turn right into Muang Samut Songkhram.

Bus

By Bus The Transport Co., Ltd. services Bangkok – Samut Songkhram buses daily from the Southern Bus Terminal on Baromrajajonnani Road. Call at 0-2435-5031 for air-conditioned buses and at 0-2434-5557-8 for non-air conditioned buses.

Train

By Rail : From Wongwianyai Railway Station, there are daily Bangkok – Samut Songkhram trains. Get off at Samut Sakon Province Railway Station, take a boat to Ban Laem Railway Station and get on the train to Samut Songkhram. You can also take a train from Wongwianyai Railway Station, and get off at Mahachai Railway Station and take a bus to Samut Songkhram. Call Wongwianyai Railway Station at 0-2465-2017 for more information.