Tag Archives: Pathum Thani

Rangsit Floating Market

One of the latest markets for people from Bangkok can be found at Rangsit Floating Market. It is just north of the city on the Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok Road. It is just a short distance from Future Park and is not too far from Dream World. I went there for the first time at the weekend. It has been open since March 2009 but I hadn’t heard of it until someone on Twitter suggested that I should go there. I am glad that I did.

It’s not really a floating market like foreign tourists would imagine it. It is true that there are a couple of boat vendors selling food. However, the majority of food is sold from normal stalls. Having said that, technically it is a floating market as the whole thing is on a series of linked flat barges moored to the banks. Anyway, it is good, open-aired, clean and has a nice atmosphere. For a weekend I was actually expecting large crowds, but it was to our advantage that, unlike other markets, we were easily able to find some seating.

I usually say that you judge a good food stall by the crowds. I think that in this case we have some delicious food being sold in a great location but suffering greatly from bad promotion to the public. I don’t think that many people outside of Rangsit really know about it. Which is a pity as the food was good. I don’t normally eat that much but I had three full meals here. Two of them were from this vendor that sold 12 different kinds of pad thai. My favourite was pad thai made with green papaya (see here). Very unusual but surprisingly good. The other was crispy noodle pad thai (see here).

It is probably not worth going all the way here for this one market. But, you could visit here on the way back from or to Dream World. Or if you are going to the shopping mall at Future Park. On this trip we also visited the Thai Royal Air Force Museum which is not that far away. However, I definitely want to go back again to try some more of the variations of pad thai. Noodles are also very famous here. In fact, they have a museum dedicated to the history of noodles. Unfortunately this is only in Thai.

The floating market is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can get there by buses 538, 559 or 188.

Map showing the location of Rangsit Floating Market:
View larger map

Dream World, Bangkok

One of the major theme parks in Thailand is Dream World in Pathum Thani Province, just north of Bangkok. If you are on holiday in Thailand with your kids and are looking for an entertaining day out, then I would seriously consider Dream World. It is a bit out of the way but there is certainly a lot there to entertain kids and adults of all ages. However, if you are expecting something of the standard of Disney World, then you will surely be disappointed. It really depends a lot on what you have seen and experienced before. I have been to many theme parks on four continents and I would say that this one is good value for money. I took Nong Grace there last week. As she was only five I thought that there wouldn’t be much for her to do. But, that was far from the truth. She was kept busy literally all day exploring the park and going on some of the kiddie rides.

The highlight for Nong Grace was definitely Snow Town. Of course, for Europeans, this might not be such a big deal, but Nong Grace has never seen snow before and was really thrilled to play in the snow. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have appropriate clothes to enter Snow Town as you can borrow for free Wellington boots and a parka jacket. However, they don’t give you any gloves and I think the next time we go we might bring some along. Nong Grace wanted to throw some snow balls but her hands were so frozen. The temperature in this giant freezer was a very chilly -3 degrees Celsius. A drop in temperature of about thirty degrees. Really, the snow was more like frozen water and it wasn’t that easy to make snow balls. But, they did have fluffy flakes at Snow Town and you should have seen her face when it started to fall from above. It was a priceless picture moment seeing a child experience their first “snow” fall. For bigger kids there is also a sledge ride down an artificial hill. We spent about 40 minutes there and I think we were lucky that there weren’t that many people during our visit. I could imagine that there would be long queues for the sledging.

Some of the bigger rides include “Sky Coaster”, a rollercoaster where you are flying through the air, “Super Splash”, a boat ride where you will definitely get wet, “Grand Canyon”, where you go on a trip down some rapids, “Hurricane” which does somersaults and flips, and an old favourite “Viking”, which swings round and round. Most queues I saw for these only had a dozen or so people waiting. Most visitors seemed to be school kids. At weekends and holidays you will probably see more families. Other great rides include “Bump Boat” and the more traditional “Bumper Car”. There are even go karts. Nong Grace had plenty of gentler rides that she could play on. If you are bored with rides then there are more traditional fairground games where you can win teddy bears and other stuffed toys. Also for young families, there are plenty of photo opportunities in the Dream Garden and also Fantasy Land where you can see the Gingerbread House and the old lady who lived in a shoe. Nong Grace’s favourite building was the Giant House from the story Jack and the Beanstalk. Everything was extra big which included not only the chairs and table but also things like a box of matches and a spoon and fork.

When we first arrived at Dream World, we first took the cable car ride which gave a great bird’s eye view of the park. This took us more than halfway. We then went straight to nearby Snow Town which turned out to be a good idea as most people were still playing the rides. Afterwards, Nong Grace played on some of the gentler rides and also the Bump Boat. For lunch she wanted to eat at KFC. But there are also other food venues at the park. We spent the early part of the afternoon looking around that area. She tried the Haunted House but closed her eyes for the majority of the time. She also played a fishing game and won a small teddy bear. At 2.00 p.m. we went to watch an Animal Show. Nothing that unique as we had seen it all before many times, but she loved the performing dogs. Straight after this we had to go to the main arena to watch the Stunt Show at 2.30 p.m. At the weekend there are extra shows. It was worth watching but it was all in Thai. We then slowly walked back to the front gates, stopping here and there to take pictures. We had hoped to watch the Parade but it started to pour with rain.

Nong Grace had a great time and said she definitely wanted to go again. The park has a two price system; however, the foreigner’s ticket is actually better value for money if you play everything. The Thais have a choice of paying an entry fee of 150 baht and then pay for the rides as they go. These range from 20 baht to 80 baht. They can also buy a saver ticket for 365 baht which allows them to play everything once. There are several tickets for foreign tourists. The super value one is 450 baht and gives you unlimited rides on all the attractions. The price is the same for kids. I think that is good value for people who are planning on doing everything more than once. You buy your ticket from the Information Office instead of the normal ticket window. They speak excellent English and they will clearly tell you what is included or excluded for each kind of ticket. The park is open daily from 10 a.m. You can reach there by bus numbers 523 from northern bus terminal and 538 from the Victory Monument. You can also join tours to go there for about 1,000 baht each. Alternatively, take a taxi.

Click here to see pictures of Nong Grace at Dream World.

We would like to thank the Public Relations Department at Dream World for sending us a VIP Pass. We genuinely had a great day out and we will be going back again in the future. If you are a manager of a tourist attraction, then please feel free to contact us to arrange a site inspection. We are also interested in tours and homestays. However, we reserve the right to print negative reviews if we feel that the public won’t get good value for money.

Openbilled Stork Temple

Open-billed stork

A few years back I heard about a temple on the banks of the Chao Phraya River that has an invasion of openbilled storks during our winter months. It has been on my list of places to visit for too long and so I finally decided today that I should go and take a look. Wat Phailom is in Pathum Thani which is a neighbouring province just north of Bangkok. I decided to drive there on the Kanchanaphisek Outer Ringroad. Samut Prakan is on the southernmost section which is still being built. The temple is at the far northern end. In theory it looked like I was going the long way round but due to the good road, I was able to reach the temple area in about an hour and ten minutes. Getting there was the easy part. Working out how to cross the river without a bridge was another matter.

The night before I left home I did my homework. I didn’t want to go all this way just for one temple. I was interested to see what else Pathum Thani had to offer. However, just about all the guidebooks let me down. They had nothing. The Lonely Planet had about two inches of column space on Wat Phailom and nothing else.  So, I decided to Google “pathom thani” on the Internet. Not surprisingly there wasn’t much. I ended up doing a printout from our own website. I then left this morning armed with this and my A-Z of Bangkok and Vicinity (PN Map).

Openbilled stork
Openbilled stork

I decided not to leave the Outer Ring Road at Pathum Thani as I knew from the map that the temple was further north. I decided to leave at the exit for Highway 3111. I headed a short way south until I reached Wat Samakkhiyaram. I parked my car beside the Chao Phraya River. On the other side I could see a temple which I presumed to be Wat Phailom. According to the Lonely Planet I could catch a ferry across. I couldn’t see any boats at all. I wandered around until I found someone I could ask. He confirmed for me that Wat Phailom was indeed on the other side of the river. H said he would take me there for 20 baht. I asked if he would wait but he said “no”. However, he said he would give me his mobile phone number and I could ring him when I was ready. Fair enough. So, I crossed the river in a small long-tailed boat.

He didn’t take me straight across as expected to the big temple building but rather to another jetty a little further downriver. I asked him about this and he said that there were three different temples all next door to each other! Certainly confusing. But, no mistaking that I was heading towards the right direction. Flying overheard were hundreds of Openbilled Storks. I disembarked at the small landing and waved goodbye to my boatman. It looked like I had the place to myself. I walked up a path until I reached the entrance to a boardwalk on my right. A notice in Thai said that this boardwalk is sometimes covered 1–2 metres deep during the floods and is in desparate need of repair. It called for funds. It also called for extra caution as the planks looked very rotten in places.

Openbilled stork

By this time the murmuring of the bird’s chatter started to rise in tempo. I turned a corner and I was immediately in the middle of a set for a Hitchcock movie. You know, that one called The Birds. They were everywhere and they were large. And they were making a lot of noise. There was also a distinct smell of ammonia in the air though it wasn’t overpowering. Up ahead I saw a watchtower and decided I would climb to the top to take a closer look. As I ascended to the tree tops I became mesmerised by the unfolding scene in front of me. There was so much action going on and it was happening 360 degrees around me. I couldn’t believe how close I was and they were just ignoring me. It was such a wonderful experience being up in the tree tops with them and being able to observe them. I thought I would be popping over the river for 20 minutes but I ended up staying more than an hour.

The open-billed storks are so called because of a small curve in their long beaks. When they close them there is a gap inbetween. This helps them to grip onto the freshwater snails which is a favourite food of theirs. They come to Thailand during the Winter months. They are usually here between about November and March. Sometimes as late as June. The storks nearest to me were busy building a nest. Just one tree probably had 20 or more nests. Some of the nests even had eggs. I was just wondering how long it would be before they hatched when I spotted another nest with birds that had already hatched. This was so marvellous. I was seeing everything. From the making of the nests, laying eggs and then finally the freshly hatched eggs. I am not sure the exact number of storks, but there were literally thousands. This was a major habitat for these birds. And here I was, the only person observing them on this Sunday morning.

After I climbed back down from the tower I wandered around the temple a bit. I passed a solitary monk who was watering some plants. I then decided to head back to the river. Apart from the monk I didn’t see anyone else. I rang the boatman and asked him to come and pick me up. While I was waiting for him I made plans for a return trip. I decided that the next time I would come in the late afternoon to get a different light. The colours of the setting sun would be good on the birds. I made it safely back to my car. My day wasn’t over yet though I had already experienced the highlight. My next stop was Wat Chedi Thong a short way up the road. This had a good example of a Mon style pagoda which was over 160 years old. As I was now not too far from the Bang Sai Royal Folks Arts and Crafts Center I decided to go and pay a return visit. I will tell you more about this another day.