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Central Thailand

Bang Pa-In
Hua Hin
Kanchanaburi (province)
Ko Kret
Nakhon Pathom
Samut Prakan (province)
Sri Sawat
Wikitravel. Central Thailand. 01.2008.


Ayutthaya (อยุธยา) - full name Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (พระนครศรีอยุธยา) - is an ancient capital and modern city in the Central Plains of Thailand, 85 km to the north of Bangkok.
Originally founded by King U-Thong in 1350 within a bend of the Chao Phraya river, Ayutthaya was the capital of the Thai kingdom at its mightiest. Conquered and sacked by the Burmese in 1767, today only the ruins of its splendor remain. The modern city was founded a few kilometers further east.
Ayutthaya was originally known as "Ayothaya" which refers to the capital of King Rama (see Ramayana). When King Naresuan the Great defeated the Burmese, he changed the name of the city to "Aytthaya" meaning "the undefeatable city".. Among Thai cities, Ayutthaya's English name is probably the least standardized - it is also known as Ayotaya, Ayothaya, Ayudhya, Ayutaya, Ayuthaya and Ayuttaya.
 Get in
 By train
The cheapest and most colorful way of reaching Ayutthaya is by train. All north and north-east line trains depart from Bangkok's Hualamphong Train Station and stop in Ayutthaya, a trip of about 1.5 hours. Second class (non-aircon) costs 35 baht (seats can be booked in advance), while third class is just 20 baht (no reservations). See Thailand "State Railway" for schedule and cost. 2nd Class AC = 315 baht
Ayutthaya's train station is to the east of the central island. The easiest way to get to central Naresuan Road is to walk straight ahead from the station and take the cross-river ferry for 3 baht.
 By bus
Buses operate every 20 minutes or so from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) directly to Ayutthaya. First class air-con buses charge 45 baht, while second class is 35 baht. Allow at least two hours for the trip since the buses stop rather frequently and there are often jams on the roads out of/into Bangkok. Also you can take a minivan from the Victory Monument direct to Ayutthaya. Takes ~1 hour and costs 60baht. Buses depart every 20 minutes or so
In Ayutthaya, the central BKS bus station is on the south side of Thanon Naresuan next to the Chao Phrom Market. songthaews to Bang Pa-In also leave from here. Some 1st-class buses to Bangkok, however, leave from the north side of the road some 500m to the west, on the other side of the khlong (canal); the queue for air-con buses is easy to spot.
From Kanchanaburi, take a local bus from the main bus station to Suphanburi for 45 baht (2 hours), then another local bus to Ayutthaya for 40 baht (1.5 hours). A taxi from Kanchanaburi costs 2000-2500 baht (2 hours).
There is also a central bus station east of town serving northern destinations. It can be reached by songthaew - ask around to find the appropriate stop.
 By minibus
Convenient minibus service (can get stuck in traffic, but makes no stops like regular buses) operates from the Victory Monument square in Bangkok. Take BTS Skytrain to the Victory Monument station, and go right on the elevated walkway - keep on it until you cross a large road, then descend - the buses are parked at the side side of the main traffic circle). The cost is usually ~80 baht, takes around 1 hour.
Minibuses from Kanchanaburi can be arranged by guesthouses or any tour operators for around 350 baht.
 By boat
Cruise boats run up the river from Bangkok, often stopping at Ko Kret and Bang Pa-In along the way. You'll need to book in advance as there are no scheduled services, just trips for tourists. It's a fairly lengthy trip (at least one whole day) and some of the larger boats offer (pricy) overnight tours. -- Boat from Ayutthaya to Bangkok leaves 11:30 daily (arrives Bangkok ~4:00PM) = 1350 baht/person PH: 08 97662672
 Get around
It is advised to rent a bicycle. You should get a copy of a map for free at the shop that rents you the bicycle. If you are physically larger than most Thais, be warned that the larger bicycles are not necessarily well maintained, so be sure that they work properly (seats well attached, handlebars don't slip in relation to front wheel direction) before you leave.
Alternatively, you can hop around town by tuk-tuk or motorbike for 20-30 baht a pop. Ayutthaya's tuk-tuks are larger than the Bangkok variety and you can easily squeeze in four or more on the two songthaew-style facing benches. Only "official" tuk-tuk drivers can pick up passengers from the train station (their photos are displayed on a board at the southern end of the platform) and they are required to work to a fixed scale of charges. Ayutthaya "Tuk-Tuks" are very small and are only to be seen in this town...very friendly drivers...2 hours = 150 baht...can 'squeeze" people in but hard to see out...most destinations are very close
TOT runs "trams" around the main tourist attractions for 20 baht/day...can 'hop-on hop-off'
The local bus to Lopburi leave the main bus station every 20 minutes and pass Wat Nah Phra Meru.
Tours to nearby natural and man made attractions can be made with local tour agencies. Some of the more reliable ones are Ayutthaya Boat and Travel [1] or Nutty's Adventures [2]. They both organize one day excursions and several day trekks in Ayutthaya Province. The single-day excursions range in price from roughly 500 to 2000 baht. You can also hire a Rice Barge, and cruise through Ayutthaya and see it's sights first class.
Most of Ayutthaya's sites are on the protected western half of the island, while the modern city sprawls to the east. There are additional sites off the main island.
The temples with entry charges are usually in ruins, so there is no dress code, although visitors are still requested to refrain from blatant stupidity like clambering up the Buddha statues. Working temples tend to charge no fees and there are often no officials to check that dress is appropriate.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet (Sri Sanphet Rd) is the largest temple in Ayutthaya, known for its row of chedis (Thai-style stupas). Housed within the grounds of the former royal palace, the wat was used only for royal religious ceremonies. It once housed a 16-meter Buddha covered with 340 kg of gold, but the Burmese set fire to the statue to melt the gold and destroyed the temple in the process. Entrance fee of 30 baht.
Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopitah (Sri Sanphet Rd) is next to Wat Phra Si Sanphet and houses a large bronze cast Buddha image. No entry charge.
Ancient Palace (access through Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, no additional entry charge) is mostly low-lying ruins set in large grounds, with only a few free standing buildings remaining.
Wat Thammikarat (U-Thong Rd) is a working wat, but also contains the ruins of a large chedi and a huge wiharn which has a large tree growing picturesquely out of the side of one wall. No entry charge.
Wat Ratchaburana (Naresuan Rd) stands out for having a large prang recently restored to its original condition, clearly visible if you come in from the east. A major find of golden statues and other paraphernalia was made here in 1958, although much was subsequently stolen by robbers — the remnants are now in the Chao Sam Phraya Museum. You can climb inside the prang for nice views and a little exhibit. The mysterious staircase down, leads to two unrestored rooms with original paintings still visible on the walls. Entrance fee of 30 baht.
Wat Phra Mahathat (Naresuan Rd), across the road from Wat Ratburana, is a large temple that was quite thoroughly ransacked by the Burmese. Several Leaning Prangs of Ayutthaya are still feebly defying gravity though, and the rows of headless Buddhas are atmospheric. This is also where you can spot the famous tree that has grown around a Buddha head. Entrance fee of 30 baht.
Wat Phra Ram (Sri Sanphet Road) consists of one huge prang and some smaller chedi and outbuildings, all in disrepair though the top of the prang is complete. Staircases to the side of the prang give views of Ayutthaya. Entry charge of 30 baht.
Phra Chedi Sisuriyothai (U-Thong Rd) is a white and gold coloured chedi built as a memorial to a previous queen. Set in a small, well-kept gardens. No entry charge.
Wat Phu Khao Thong (about 3km out of town, west off the Ang Thong Rd) is a huge white, and slightly wonky, chedi set in a big field. The actual nearby wat is still working and has small grounds with a smiling fat buddha image set in the ruins of a small viharn. You will see the Monument of King Naresuan the Great on the way. No entry charge.
Wat Cheung Tha (about 1km out of town, east off the Ang Thong Rd) is a small working wat with small grounds with chedi and viharn ruins and some buddha images. No entry charge.
Wat Nah Phra Meru (about 1km out of town, east from Wat Cheung Tha) has a large viharn containing the biggest bronze buddha image in Ayutthaya, cast dressed in full royal regalia. The viharn is set in well maintained grounds with buddha images, a small koi carp pond, and three ruined chedis, one of which has a large bodhi tree growing out of the top of it. No entry charge.
Wat Phanancherng (on the Bang Pa-in Rd, about 1.5km out of town) is a working wat which contains the oldest large cast bronze Buddha image in Ayutthaya, though it was covered in scaffold in June 2006 for refurbishment. There is a small room to the right of the main hall which contains a nice collection of Buddha images and the room is painted with many individual unique pictures, in bright colours offset with gold. Entry charge of 20 baht.
Wat Yai Chaimongkon (on the Bang Pa-in Rd, 1km east of Wat Phanancherng) is a large working wat, with ruins that appear on some of the well known photos of temples in Thailand. It features a large reclining Buddha in saffron robes in its own ruined wiharn, and, most spectacularly, a huge chedi swathed in golden cloth set in a courtyard which is lined by Buddha images all wearing saffron robes. Very photogenic. Entry charge of 20 baht.
Chao Sam Phraya Museum (Rojana Rd) is where you can find some of the Buddha heads that are so conspicuously missing at the sites themselves. Opened in 1961 and looks the part. Perhaps the most interesting displays are the golden regalia from Wat Ratchaburana, on the 2nd floor of Hall 1. Open Wed-Sun from 9 AM to 4 PM, entrance 30 baht.
Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre (Rojana Rd), across the road and to the east of the Chao Sam Phraya museum, is a more modern museum that tries to depict life in Ayutthaya with models. A good place to start or end your tour, but a little pricy (by Thai standards) at 100 baht.
Chankasem National Museum(U-Thing Rd.) northeast corner of island
Phra Ram Park (behind Wat Mahathat) is a large wooded area with paths and bridges over waterways leading the way past various statues, buddha images and buildings. No entry charge.
Khun Phaen Residence (Sri Sanphet Rd) is a renovated traditional teak house set in a good-sized park with water and various seating areas. The elephants doing the tourist circuit stop here for photos, with Wat Phra Ram in the background. No entry charge.
Monument of King Naresuan the Great (in front of Wat Phu Khao Thong), is a large bronze statue of King Naresuan on a horse. Situated on the entrance road to Wat Phu Khao Thong.
Chao Phrom Market. Corner of Naresuan and Uthong Roads (on the east edge of the island). A bustling provincial market. There are particularly many protective Buddha amulet vendors here.
Siam Restaurant (Chee Kun Rd) serves unremarkable Thai and Vietnamese food, but makes up for it with an excellent location with views of Wat Mahathat as you eat, air conditioning, and possibly the best toilets in the city. Most mains 50-100 baht.
Boat noodle In front of telephone authority building. Original boat noodle was cooked on a boat. It's noodles and soup with meat and vegetables. They are served in a little bowl and most people would eat more than one to relieve their hunger. Expect to pay about 10 Baht per bowl.
Vegetarian Restaurant,Khlong Makham Rieng Rd (50 metres south from the junction with Naresuan Rd), is one of the usual Thai rahn a-hahn jair. With 8 different meals available and side orders of gluten and gluten. Daily early-2PM. 15-25B.
The usual excellent night market fare is also available, ask your guesthouse for the most recent night market locations. At the same time, you may wish to ask some advice on what to order if you don't speak any Thai.
The main traveller oriented area is Soi Torgorsor, between Pamaphrao Road and Naresuan Road opposite the western end of Chao Phrom Market. It has a number of bars staying open until late, some with projection screens for sports.
There are a large number of traveller-oriented guesthouses on an Soi Torgorsor between Pamaphrao Road and Naresuan Road, opposite the western end of the Chao Phrom Market. Accommodation in the upper price brackets is limited though, and many people choose to day-trip from Bangkok.
Ayutthaya Guest House - a friendly place offering aircon rooms with TV for 400 baht, and fan-only with TV for 300 baht, all en-suite. With internet access and a 'order what you like' restaurant. The three 300 baht rooms along the side alley have air vents open to a public restaurant next-door. For budget travellers, they offer in a nearby building some rooms for 100 baht each, neat, friendly doubles with fan.
Other guest houses:
Thong Chai Guest House - on a road directly opposite Wat Ratchaburana and a little away from the main action, but closer to the sights. Offering fan-only rooms at 200 a night with private bathrooms, this is a more Thai-oriented guest house.
P-U Guest House - despite its name, the place provides very clean rooms for a decent rate (~300 Baht for twin with fan and private bath, some knowledge of Thai may net you a small discount). It's hidden off Soi Torgorsor, keep walking north until you see the P-U sign on the left, it's at the end of the small lane.
Baan Lotus - Pa-Maphrao Rd. PH: 66 035 251988 Rebuilt teak houses with AC (600 baht) and fan (500 baht) rooms. Rents bicycles
 Stay safe
Ayutthaya has a lot of hungry stray dogs in poor condition. They can particularly be a problem in the off-season when there aren't so many people in the streets. While largely docile and harmless, to avoid being chased around by a pack of them it is best not to walk around alone, particularly at night. For those accustomed to travel in developing areas, there should be no problem.
 Get out
The eccentric palace of Bang Pa-In, 20 km to the south, is 40-minute songthaews ride away.
Bang Pa-In
Bang Pa-In (บางปะอิน) is in Ayutthaya Province, 60 km north of Bangkok.
 Get in
The Death of Queen Sunanda
In 1881, Queen Sunanda Kumariratana and her only daughter Princess Karnabhorn Bejraratana were on their way to the Bang Pa-In Palace when the royal barge carrying them capsized. According to Thai law at the time, touching a royal was punishable by death, so onlookers looked on helplessly as they drowned - and were instructed to do so by a guardian on another boat. King Chulalongkorn, shocked by the events, demoted and jailed the vizier who obeyed the letter of the law at such cost and erected a memorial to her in Bang Pa-In.  
By bus
Air-con 2nd class buses depart from stall 99 of Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) every 30 minutes or so and cost 43 baht (Nov 2007), no advance ticket needed. You may also be able to hop on board along the way outside MRT Phayon Yothin station. Being a second-class bus, it stops at every bus stop, shopping mall and grilled chicken stand along the way, so the journey takes the better part of two hours.
From Ayutthaya, minibus/songthaews connect to Bang Pa-In from the central BKS station, a 40-minute journey.
 By train
Bang Pa-In is on the northern line to Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai. Three trains per day in each direction stop at Bang Pa-In, and the journey from Bangkok takes 1.5 hours. You'll have to make an early start to catch the 07:00 from Hualamphong though.
 By boat
There are no scheduled services, but many of the tourist cruises to Ayutthaya stop at Bang Pa-In on the way.
 By taxi
A taxi from Bang Pa-In to Ayutthaya costs a fixed 150 baht.
 Get around
Tuk-tuks of various interesting shapes and sizes shuttle between the BKS station, the train station and Bang Pa-In Palace for 30 baht (Nov 2007) a pop.
Bang Pa-In's number one sight is the Bang Pa-In Palace [1], also known as the Summer Palace. Originally built by Ayutthayan King Prasat Thong in 1632 but abandoned after the sack of Ayutthaya in 1767, the site was partially restored by King Mongkut (Rama IV) in the 1850s. The site as it stands today, however, is largely the work of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who expanded the area into a Versaillesque garden filled with European-style buildings in 1872-1889. Last restored in 2001, the palace and its grounds are maintained in immaculate shape and well worth a visit. Entry 100 baht, open daily 08:00-16:00. The grounds are not too large to be covered on foot, but you can also rent a golf cart to scoot around in for 150 baht/hour. As at all royal sites, proper dress is required, but you can buy a 100 baht wrapwround skirt from the stall in front of the entrance if needed.
Divine Seat of Personal Freedom (Aisawan Thiphya-At). The only Thai-style building in the palace, this beautiful pavilion sitting in the middle of a lake has been designated as the archetype of the Thai pavilion (sala Thai), a national symbol of Thailand. The statue standing in the middle represents Rama V and was erected by his son.
Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode (Warophat Phiman). A one-story mansion containing Chulalongkorn's throne hall. Open to visitors and well worth a visit, as it is richly decorated in turn-of-the-century European aristocratic style, only with quirky Thai touches here and there.
Heavenly Light (Wehart Chamrun). Built by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in 1889, this opulent Chinese-style palace is also another standout, full of red, gold, dark woods and inlaid mother of pearl. Also open to visitors, be sure to catch the stupendous dragon sculpture inside carved from camel bone.
Sages' Lookout (Ho Withun Thasana). A merrily painted lighthouse-lookalike that served as a lookout tower for viewing the countryside.
Exhibition Hall (Saphakhan Ratchaprayun). A colonial-style two-floor building originally built for the King's brothers. The building now houses a small museum covering the history of the palace, and makes a good first stop on a tour of the area.
Memorial to Queen Sunanda Kumariratana. Built in memory of Queen Sunanda in 1881 (see box), this simple marble monument has a slightly ungrammatical but touching English dedication by King Chulalongkorn himself.
Across the river from the Palace is Wat Niwet Thamprawat, another of King Chulalongkorn's European follies, built in 1878. This is an active Buddhist temple cleverly disguised as a Gothic church, down to the spiky eaves and stained glass windows. Getting there is half the fun, as a basic motorized cable car swings visitors across the river! The cable car station is hidden behind the Bang Pa-In parking lot, which explains why the temple doesn't get many Western visitors. Free entry but donations welcome.
The museum adjacent to the church-cum-temple has an unremarkable collection of Buddhist paraphernalia, but is worth a peek for the exquisite stained glass windows inside, showcasing scenes from Thai myths.
Exit from Bang Pa-In palace is through a giftshop selling touristy junk like flourescent baseball caps emblazoned with "Phuket" in large letters.
 Eat & Drink
The Bang Pa-In palace grounds have a number of simple cafes selling soft drinks and snacks (10-20 baht). The best views are from the one inside the Tevaraj-Kanlai Gate, right opposite the Thai pavilion.
There are basic but rather unappetizing food stalls just outside the Bang Pa-In entrance. Central Bang Pa-In near the BKS station has more of the same, as well as the obligatory 7-Eleven across the road.
Bang Pa-In is easily visited in a day trip from Bangkok or Ayutthaya, so there is neither any real reason to stay here nor any facilities for doing so.
Kanchanaburi (province)
 Get around
One of the little known "things to do" in the Kanachanaburi area is to travel by boat on the two main rivers, the Maenam Kwae Yai and the Kwae Noi, the latter one meaning "small" Kwae which is a misnomer as it is really the bigger and longer river leading up all the way to Sangklahburi near the Burmese border at the Three Pagodas Pass.
The best way to explore the river is to book a 4-days / 3-nights trip on the RV River Kwai, a 4 years old river cruiser built in colonial style with 10 airconditioned cabins. Upriver cruises operate MON-THU and downriver THU-SUN, year round, with trips starting and ending in Bangkok. see also http://www.cruiseasia.net
Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery (Tiger Temple), Saiyok District, Kanchanaburi Province; tel. +66-34531557, fax. +66-34531558. From Kanchanaburi Bus Station take bus #8203 to Sai Yok (20 baht), then follow the track to the temple (1.5 km). Taxi from Kanchanaburi Bus Station costs around 250 baht for the 30 to 40 minute journey. This temple is famous for its tame (some say 'drugged') tigers that freely roam around the grounds interacting with the monks. Under strict supervision, visitors are allowed to sit with the tigers.
Kanchanaburi (Thaiกาญจนบุรี) is the capital of Kanchanaburi Province and is located at the confluence of the rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai.
Kanchanaburi (population 52,000) is the gateway to Kanchanaburi Province. For most visitors it holds precisely one sight of interest, namely the Bridge over the River Kwai, the start of the infamous World War II Death Railway to Burma (Myanmar), although there is an increasingly thriving backpacker scene taking advantage of the chilled-out riverside vibe. More foreign visitors are discovering why Thais know it as one of the most beautiful provinces in the country with its easily accessible waterfalls and national parks.
Orienting yourself in Kanchanaburi is very easy. The main road, Thanon Saeng Chuto, runs through the length of town from north to south, connecting the River Kwai Bridge, the train station and the bus station. Running parallel to this, closer to the river, is Thanon Mae Nam Kwae where most of the guesthouses and the local bar scene can be found.
 Get in
 By bus
BKS public buses (line 81) leave from pier 4 of Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai). In Kanchanaburi, there are two separate but nearby bus terminals, with 1st class buses departing from an office off Thanon Saengchuto, and 2nd class buses from the larger terminal one block east.
  • 1st class buses should leave Bangkok every 15 minutes from 05:00 to 22:30, take about 2 hours, and (as of February 2006) cost 99 baht, including a bottle of water.
  • 2nd class buses (new route) leave Bangkok every 20 minutes from 03:30 to 19:00 and take about 2 hours.
  • 2nd class buses (old route) leave Bangkok every 15-30 minutes from 04:00 until 18:00 and take about 3 hours.
There are also tourist minibuses directly to/from Khao San Road, departing Kanchanaburi at 13:30 and 18:30.
From Nakhon Pathom, there are direct buses (2nd class only) every 15 to 30 minutes between 04:00 and 18:00, which take two hours. Alternatively, you can hop off a 1st class bus when it passes by Nakhon Pathom, but double-check with staff to ensure the route allows this and they know your plans.
From Sangkhlaburi to Kanchanaburi, you're spoilt for choice:
  • Air-con VIP buses leave at 08:45, 10:45 and 14:30 and take 4 hours.
  • Air-con minibuses leave at 06:30, 07:30, 11:30, 13:00, 15:30 and take 3.5 hours.
  • Standard buses leave at 06:45, 08:15, 10:15, 13:15 and take 5 hours.
 By train
Trains leave Bangkok's Thonburi Train Station at 07:45 and arrive at Kanchanaburi at 10:20, also at 13:45 and arriving at 16:35. You may be interested in buying a ticket all the way to the River Kwai Bridge, since these two trains are the only ones which cross the bridge each day. Since December 2005, the fare is 100 baht for foreigners..
Return trains leave at 07:25 and 14:48 from the main railway station; from the River Kwai Bridge they leave 6 minutes earlier. Riding 3rd class is an adventure in itself, and a must do for everyone who hasn't travelled this way before.
Both train services continue to/from Nam Tok (17 baht), the current terminus of the Death Railway. The 10:30 train has a special tourist section, where the low, low price of 300 baht gets you air-con, a soft drink and a certificate of having ridden the Death Railway. This service has occasionally been operated by a steam engine, but usually uses an ordinary diesel DMU, and railfans will have to content themselves with the Japanese-era steamers plinthed at the main and bridge stations.
 By car
Kanchanaburi is about 3 hours drive from Bangkok, via the eastern highway towards Ratchaburi. There you can take a detour to the famous Damoen Saduak floating market for some sightseeing and lunch.
 Get around
Kanchanaburi is just a little too stretched out to be comfortably walkable. Small orange and large yellow songthaews (converted pickups) cruise up and down Saengchuto, connecting bus station, train station and the bridge, and charge a standard 5 baht. Motorbike taxis and tuk-tuks are also available, with negotiable prices, and some guesthouses offer bicycle rental.
 Bridge over the River Kwai
Located some 3 km north of Kanchanaburi (down New Zealand Rd off Saeng Chuto), this iron bridge (Saphan Mae Nam Kwae) across the Kwae Yai river is the main attraction for many visitors. Immortalized in the famous movie and novel, it was a part of the infamous Death Railway to Burma, constructed by POWs working for the Japanese in hellish conditions during World War 2. Some 16,000 POWs and 100,000 Asian workers died during the railway construction. The present iron bridge is the second wartime incarnation (a part of the original can be found in the War Museum), but 2 central 'boxy' spans were rebuilt after the war to replace three sections destroyed by Allied bombing.
You can cross the bridge on foot. While the center of the track has been thoughtfully turned into a steel-plated walkway and there are little side platforms between the spans for sightseeing and avoiding trains, there are no guardrails so vertigo sufferers and small children should steer clear.
The State Railway of Thailand operates a little tourist train with which you can drive across the bridge and back again, at 20 baht for the 15 minute round trip.
 Art Gallery and War Museum
This well-signposted complex is located about 50 metres from the bridge and houses a bizarre collection of museums and exhibits, most of which are poorly maintained and labeled. Open 08:30-16:30 daily; admission to the whole lot is 30 baht.
War Museum. To your left as you enter is this four-story building encrusted with statues, which starts off with a little Burmese shrine but is mostly devoted to pre-WW2 Thai history through the ages and is filled with wall paintings of kings and racks of rusty pistols. There are good views of the bridge from the roof of the riverside building.
World War II and JEATH Museum. Lurking in the basement, this is the main drawcard and features a section of the first wooden bridge, recreations of the POW barracks and random military paraphernalia.
Jewelry Museum. Above the WW2 museum is the most bizarre section, housing (among other things) dusty stamp collections and a gallery with wall paintings of all Miss Thailand winners.
 Other sights & attractions
  • Hellfire Pass
  • Chongkai War Cemetery
  • Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
  • Somdet Phra Sri Nakharin Park
  • Don Chedi Archaeological Site
  • Giant Tree
  • Kuan Yum
  • Wat Ban Tham
  • Wat Tham Sua
  • Wat Tham Khao Noi
  • Wat Tham Khaopoon
  • Wat Tham Mungkornthong
  • Thailand-Burma Railway Centre - next to Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (WW2 rail history)
Many day-trips to Kanchanaburi include a visit to the Tiger Temple [1]. The temple is nowhere to be seen, but the tigers are lounging in a dusty canyon, surrounded by minders in yellow shirts and overseen by a monk off in the corner. You can watch the tigers from a distance, and when your time comes, the minders will take your camera and snap a few photos of you crouching behind the tiger, as well as a few close-ups of the tigers themselves. (You can also pay a few hundred baht extra for a "special" photo with a tiger.) It's all kind of odd, but the pictures will certainly wow your friends. However, please keep in mind that at least one tourist has been seriously mauled by the tigers. Admission is 300 baht, and comes with a nice book about the tigers.
Erawan Waterfalls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand and a must see if you are in Kanchanaburi and your time/budget allows it. Public buses (No. 8170) leave Kanchanaburi bus terminal every 50 (sometimes 60) minutes between 08:00 and 17:20, fare 35 baht, duration 90 minutes. The bus drives on Saengchuto Road up to the north. If you live far away from the bus terminal, and you probably will, it may be a good idea to catch it there. Be sure to try and get an early bus, since there will be fewer people at the waterfall and you don't have to hurry to get back. The last bus will leave for Kanchanaburi at 16:00. Plan to spend at least three hours plus the time you want to spend swimming at the waterfalls. Entrance fee to the waterfalls is 400 baht for foreigners. Bicycles can be rented at the entrance (20 baht/hour), however you won't be able to use it for 90% of the distance, so they don't really have any use. Be sure to bring your hiking shoes (or whatever matches most closely) and swimming costume for a dip in the turquoise pools (although watch out for fish feasting on the soles of your feet!).
Sai Yok Noi waterfalls are more accessible but less spectacular than the Erawan falls.
Lumnam Jone Water Way is the beginning of the River Kwai. It is located in Amphoe Sri Sawat. It has a beautiful surrounding and cystal clear water. The only problem is that it is hard to get to. On foot it will take a few hours walk, and by boat it take 5 hours from Sri Nakarin Dam at the ferry pier.
Tours to nearby natural attractions can be made with local tour agencies. Some of the reliable ones are Good Times Travel [2] or Nutty's Adventures [3]. They both organize one day excursions and several day treks in Kanchanaburi Province. The single-day excursions range in price from roughly 500 to 1000 baht.
Also a tour service from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by bus or van, which take the tourist to Sri Nakarin Water Reservior. The tour can be reach at Truly Yours [4]. Price depends on number of guests.
Another tour service from Ayutthaya to Kanchanaburi by bus or van can be reached at Ayutthaya Boat & Travel [5].
For cheap street eats, the market in front of the train station will fulfill all your 10 baht phad thai needs.
Ahaan Fine, Thanon Maenam Kwai (about 75m up from Apple Guest House on the left). Daily 11:00-23:00. A small, tastefully laid out restaurant offering a wide selection of Thai dishes at prices between food stall prices and guest house prices. 30-70 baht.
Apple's Guest House, 52 Rong Heeb Oil; tel. +66-034512017 [6]. This guest house includes a popular restaurant with reasonable prices.
Floating restaurants just next to the River Kwai bridge uphold the fine traditions of their brethren worldwide by serving mediocre food at inflated prices. Nice views though.
Night Market, in front of the train station on Saeng Chuto Road. Nothing out of the ordinary, but quite cheap as it's geared for locals.
River Kwai Park Market, right next to the bridge. Dozens of stalls selling touristy knick-knacks, but quite a few Thais seem to come here for jewelry shopping as well.
Tesco Lotus, Saeng Chuto Road (to the south of town). Standard issue hypermarket.
There are numerous locations where you'll be able to enjoy your drinks. Especially around the Guest Houses near the river.
Beer Barrel Bar along the main drag offers cheap drink prices and an unbeatable atmosphere - including free pool tables. Ask about the free ostrich feeding!
There are lots of guesthouses, resorts and hotels available. The density increases the nearer you get to the bridge. As usual if you book in advance they will arrange a free pick up service for you. If you haven't done so yet, you should try one night in a raft room floating on the river.
Apple's Guest House, 52 Rong Heeb Oil, +66-034512017, [7]. Adjoined rooms of bamboo construction with bath and fan 300 baht per night, air-con rooms also available.
Jolly Frog Backpackers, Soi China, Mae Nam Kwai Road, +66-34514579, [8]. Popular with budget travellers. Relaxed atmosphere. Unusually for a guesthouse restaurant half the customers are local Thais. Single rooms with fan and shared bathroom 70 baht, air-con rooms 290 baht.
C&C Guest House, 265/2 Mae Nam Kwai Road, 01-9217644, 05-8336466, 034-624547 (cctrekking@yahoo.com, fax: 034-624548). Fantastic value for the rooms situated on the houseboat on the River Kwai and the bamboo huts on the picturesque riverside. Garden, restaurant, basic sanitary facilities. Close to the Death Railway bridge. rooms from 100 baht/night.
Ploy Guest House, 79/2 Mae Nam Kwai Road, +66-34515804, [9]. All rooms in Siam style with air-con, private toilet and hot shower. Double rooms from 550 baht (Internet rate) or 650 baht, including coffee and toast for breakfast. Restaurant/bar with river view.
V.N. Guest House, 44 Rong Heeb Oil Road, +66-34514082 (mailto:info@vnguesthouse.net), [10]. Raft rooms from 250 baht, double rooms with bath 250 baht, air-con rooms 400 baht.
River Kwai Hotel, 284/15-16 Saeng Chuto Road, +66-34511565, [11]. Centrally located halfway between the bus and train stations, this was once the city's fanciest hotel but now it's getting a little long in the tooth. Large swimming pool, restaurant, Internet café, beer garden, dubious massage/karaoke joint, etc. Singles from 900 baht.
Tourist Authority of Thailand, Saeng Chuto Road (just south of the bus terminal). Distributes a useful free map of the city and province. Open daily 08:00-16:00.
 Get out
Three Pagodas Pass - at the border between Thailand and Myanmar, near the town of Sangkhlaburi, 4 hours away by bus
Nakhon Pathom - the world's largest stupa makes a good pitstop along the way to Bangkok (2 hours from Kanchanaburi, 1 hour to Bangkok)
Sri Sawat
Sri Sawat is in Kanchanaburi.
  • Erawan Waterfalls
  • Sri Nakarin Dam (NB: no public bus service)
  • Lumnam Jone
  • Pra That Cave
  • Huay Mae Khamin Waterfalls
  • Tham Than Lot Cave
One of the famous area in Sri Sawat is the reservoir behind the Sri Nakarin Dam. The beginning of this water way is called Lumnam Jone which is the beginning of the ever famous River Kwai. Lumnam Jone can be reach by one tour operator to limit the number of vistor. They can be contacted at Truly Yours tour www.trulyyourstour.com. The trip is 2 days and 1 night on first weekend of the month. This is the only tour concession to Lumnam Jone.
Amphoe Sri Sawat has two main ethic groups, Thais and Karen. There are several villages of mostly Karen people in tambon Naasuan. Other ethnic groups: near the Amphoe is a small Mon village. Beyong Ong Sit village and off a side road is a Lao village called Jerot. (the villages originally came to help clear the forest when the dam was built and ended up settling in the area). Although many of the Karen ladies do wonderful weaving, (sarongs, blouses, bags) there is no shop locally that sells this. Occasionally there will be a house that will have items for sale - but will be hard to find.
The Mon Bridge and Mon Market (at Sangkhlaburi, about 4 hours away) is a good place to shop.
The Sri Nakharin dam has a nice cafe serving mostly Thai food and snacks and is open every day.
At the Erawan market there are numerous small eating places serving mostly Thai food - but at very reasonable prices.
Sangkhlaburi is a district at the north-west tip of Kanchanaburi province, bordering Tak Province (in Thailand) and Myanmar. The main township is Sangkhla.
 Get in
Red buses pass through Nam Tok (terminating station for train from Kanchanaburi) every 30 minutes. The fare to Sangkhla is 100 baht.
  • 1st class air-con bus: 08:45, 10:45, 14:30 - 4.5hrs, 180 baht
  • non-aircon bus: 06:45, 08:15, 10:15, 13:15 - 5hrs, 110 baht
  • minibus: 06:30, 07:30, 11:30, 13:00, 15:30 - 3hrs, 146 baht
 Get around
Green pickups depart hourly to Three Pagodas Pass and charge 30 baht for the 30-40 minutes trip.
Wat Wiwekaram - Walk over the 400m wooden bridge to the Mon village, and bear left parallel to the lake. After 2km the concrete road forks. Left goes to a huge golden chedi, with a small Burmese goods market below it, and right goes to the main Wat Wiwekaram. There is a large, ornate viharn at the main wat, and in another building there are murals depicting stages of the Buddha's last, and previous, lives.
The road to the Three Pagodas Pass (and on to Payathonzu, on the Myanmar side of the border) passes a side-road to a waterfall, and another to a cave. Across the 400m wooden bridge near the Burmese Inn is the Mon village and is also the way to the huge chedi near to Wat Wam Wiwekaram.
Weaving for Women - Textiles are sold by displaced Mon refugees at a small shop about 200 metres down the hill from the post office. These are also sold at the restaurant/internet cafe/bakery signed 'Baan Un Rak' about 150 metres past Soi 1 at the bottom of the hill on the main road.
Night Market - at the top of the hill, opposite the bus station, providing cheap food most days, but reportedly not open at weekends.
Apache Family Cafe - opposite the bus station, in front of the market. Run by John, who will also offer free information and arrange for homestays, tours or vehicle rental. Offering Western and Thai food, with speciality burgers.
Burmese Inn - About 800m down the hill on the right-hand side down Soi 1. A simple menu with reasonable prices, but a good standard of Western, Thai and Burmese food.
There are no obvious Western-style bars. Beer from the local supermarkets is 35 baht for a large Chang. A selection of wines from Kanchanaburi is available from 260 baht for a bottle with white and two varities of red available.
There are a few guest houses around 2 km from the city centre (around 10 baht by motorbike taxi).
Be especially careful with the tap water, since it is possibly derived from a lake.
Burmese Inn - Approx 800m from the bus station, down the hill on the right hand side on Soi 1. They have rooms at 80 baht (single, fan, shared bathroom), 150 baht (single, fan, private bathroom), 200 baht (double, fan, private bathroom), then more expensive with air-con, TVs and twin double beds up to 800 baht.
Lopburi (ลพบุรี), also Lop Buri or Lob Buri, is the provincial capital of Lopburi Province, in the Central Plains of Thailand.
Lopburi is very laid back, and its convenient location less than 3 hours from Bangkok makes it a good place to escape the stress and pollution of the capital. Though it is full of history, monkeys, and tourists, prices remain very low.
Lopburi is one of the oldest cities in Thailand, a former capital and the second capital after Ayutthaya was established in 1350AD. It was abandoned after King Naral passed away in 1688, but parts were restored in 1856 by King Mongkut (King Rama IV) and in 1664 it was made the summer capital so the king could escape the heat of Ayutthaya.
Lopburi has been an important center of the Khmer Empire, later a part of Ayutthaya kingdom, and Ayutthaya's second capital under the reign of King Narai, the great, who used to spend in Lopburi 8 months of a year. Later on King Mongkut of the Bangkokian Chakri Dynasty used to reside there. Thus the remains of almost all periods of the Thai history can be found here.
There are two downtown areas in Lopburi: the New Town and the Old Town. Most of the important sites, plus the train station, are in the Old Town; buses arrive and depart from the New Town.
Lopburi's main tourist attraction is the hundreds of crab-eating macaques that overrun the Old Town, especially in the area around Phra Prang Sam Yot and Phra Kaan Shrine, and there's even a monkey temple/amusement park where you can buy snacks to feed to them.
Keep an eye out for monkeys hanging from trees and wires and sitting on roofs and ledges, and be aware that they have some unpleasant bad habits including pooping on unsuspecting pedestrians from their overhead perches, jumping on people to snatch food, and stealing bags that they suspect may contain something edible.
At night nothing much is going on in the Old Town, thus the street dogs consider everybody running around after midnight very suspicious. While most of them will just look at you, some might bark, run behind you, and jump at you. While common at night, it is very rare during the day.
 Get in
 By bus
From Ayutthaya, local buses run every 20 mins, take around 2 hours, and cost 35 baht.
From Bangkok, aircon buses leave every 20 mins, take either 2.5 hours and cost 117 baht, or take 3 hours and cost 96 baht.
From Kanchanaburi it's necessary to take a local bus to Suphanburi taking 2 hours and costing 40 baht, then another from there to Lopburi taking 3 hours and costing 52 baht.
From Nakhon Sawan or Phitsanulok. From Sukhothai take a bus to Phitsanulok and then to Nakhon Sawan First.
 By train
Trains from/to Bangkok's main Hualamphong station take about 3 hours.
Trains from/to Ayutthaya take about one hour.
 Get around
The blue local bus (8 baht) circles constantly between the bus station about 2km from the town centre, passing Phra Kahn Shrine, going south on Thanon Sorasak, and ending up in front of the TAT office on Phraya Kamuad Road.
Ban Vichayen, Narai Maharat Road. The remains of the official ambassadors residence, built during the reign of King Narai the Great. Only the outer walls of the three main buildings remain, in a small grassy area. Daily 08:30-16:00. 30 baht.
Phra Kahn Shrine, Narai Maharat Road. The site of a small shrine, the remains of a Khmer prang, a few stalls and lots of monkeys. The stalls sell offerings to be dedicated at the shrine, and food and drink. The monkeys eat the food, drink, offerings and anything else going. Good for a few photos. There are signs warning of purse-grabbing by the monkeys, but they appear docile if not provoked. No charge.
Phra Narai Ratchanivet or King Narai's Palace, entrance on Thanon Sorasak on east wall. Built in 17th century under King Narai command with the aid of French, Italian and Portuguese engineers, the palace was used for receiving foreign officials and royalty. Restored in 1856 by King Mongkut and converted to a museum in 1924. It consists of the remains of various buildings in an enclosed park, and the central palace which holds prehistoric exhibits, buddha images of Dvaravati, Lopburi and Khmer styles, and King Mongkut's bedroom in its entirety. Open Wed-Sun 8:30-16:00, closed Mon-Tue and national holidays. 30 baht.
Phra Prang Sam Yot - Khmer-style temple with monkeys
Wat Phra Phutthabat, 17km south-east of Lopburi. Take any Saraburi bus (#104) which leave the main bus station every 20 mins, take 30 mins to get to the side road 1km from the wat, and cost 21 baht.
Wat Phra Sri Rattanamahathat - one of the most important temples; no monkeys
Wat Sao Thong Thong, Rue De France. A wiharn belonging to a working wat, which also has a small amulet market in the grounds. Previously used as a Christian chapel and a Mosque temple, it has now been restored and features a large buddha image, with several smaller Lopuri-era images in wall niches. No charge.
Rockclimbing - at Cheen Lair (จีนแล) Mountain, near Suwannahong Temple (Cheen Lair 2), Baan Nong Kham
Noom Guest House, 15-17 Phayakamjad Road, serves English breakfast 08:00-11:30.
The street vendors in the Old Town are very nice and have all kinds of tasty things - don't be afraid to stop and check them out.
KFC and Mister Donat can also be found in the Old Town.
 Old Town
Hotels in the Old Town offer generally similar medium scale standards for low 140-500 baht range prices. The monkeys run around freely but usually stay in just one small area. Depending on your preference you can choose a place with lots of monkeys running (and hanging) around, or opt for somewhere with low or no monkey presence.
Places with lots of monkeys:
Lopburi City Hotel - probably the best of the hotels within the monkey area, and enclosed in a big "cage" that keeps the monkeys out, so you can open the windows. All rooms are air-con. Prices from 300 baht.
Muang Tong Hotel - this is the least likable hotel in the monkey area. It's not enclosed in a "cage", so opening the windows isn't a good idea. However, it does have the best view of the monkey area and the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple. Rooms have Thai-style bathrooms with squat toilets.
Sri Indra Hotel - enclosed in a big "cage" that keeps the monkeys out, so you can open the windows. The rooms are neat and clean, but don't expect more. Prices from 200 baht.
Places with few monkeys:
Lopburi Asia Hotel - very close to the King Narai Palace. Rooms are low to medium standard. Prices from 200 baht.
Nett Hotel - good location, with a small food market in front, and no monkeys running around. Rooms range from very low standard to very likable medium standard. Prices from 180 baht.
Noom Guest House, 15-17 Phayakamjad Road, Thahin Maung kkhumwong@yahoo.com - has fan rooms, also offers motorcycle rental and rock climbing, and is extremely close to an Internet café.
Rama Plaza Hotel
Suphon Phong Hotel - has only two good points: its location (very close to the train station and to Wat Phra Sri Ratanamahatat) and the price - from 140 baht.
Thai Pe Hotel
 New Town
Holiday Hotel
Lopburi Inn, 28/9 Narai Maharat Road - holds an annual November dinner party each year for the monkeys.
Lopburi Inn Resort
Lopburi Residence
Thep Thani
Youth Hotel
 Across the river from the Old Town
Ramda Resort
Sabai Hotel
Nakhon Pathom
Nakhon Pathom (นครปฐม, also Nakorn Pathom) is the capital of Nakhon Pathom Province, Thailand and the site of the world's largest stupa.
 Get in
 By bus
BKS public buses (lines 83 and 997) leave from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal. The trip costs 40 baht in first class and takes about an hour in good traffic. Buses go every 10 minutes from 04:10 until 21:30.
There are also 2nd class buses to Kanchanaburi every 15-30 minutes.
In addition there is a non-stop minibus service between Bangkok's Victory Monument and the Big C Superstore in Nakhon Pathom. Victory Monument is far more convenient than the Southern Bus Terminal, and is on the skytrain light rail system. But the departure point from Victory Monument is hard to find, being located under the expressway, about 50 metres north of the roundabout, on Phahon Yothin Road (look up and around for the "Canon" billboard for the direction). At the other end, Big C is on the main road through Nakhon Pathom, and has plenty of four-wheel and two-wheel taxis to take you to your final destination. Cost is currently 60 baht each way.
 By train
Trains from Bangkok's Thonburi Train Station to Kanchanaburi/Nam Tok stop at Nakhon Pathom along the way.
Phra Pathom Chedi. Towering over the low-rises of central Nakhom Pathom, at 120 meters this massive brick stupa is the largest in the world. It also makes a respectable claim to being Thailand's oldest Buddhist temple, dating back to the 6th century AD, although the present structure is mostly the handiwork of King Mongkut (1853) and his successors. There is no entry into the stupa itself, which is said to house a relic of the Buddha, but you can circumambulate the stupa in the inner courtyard and admire the giant golden Buddha on the southern side (always packed with worshippers). Also take some time to look around the many smaller temple halls around the chedi. Entrance is theoretically 20 baht, although this is loosely enforced at best.
Sanam Chan Palace. Previously summer residence for King Rama VI. Right in front of the palace locates a monument of Yah Leh, his beloved dog. Also wander around the beautiful Silpakorn University campus attached. Every Wednesday there is a student market selling T-shirts, and the cafeteria near the lake provides excellent Thai food every day at rock-bottom prices.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market - The best-known floating market in Thailand. From Nakhon Pathom, taking bus No 78. from the Bus Stop in front of Police Station (Kwaa-Pra Road). It would take about 1 hour to get there. Buses come every 30 mins. The first bus comes approximately 6:30AM. The best time to catch the bus is around 7:30AM- 8:00AM, otherwise the tour buses from Bangkok will get there first and it will be too touristy. The market really starts around 8 AM and closes around 11:30AM.
The Night Market [in the area of Pagoda or Chedi (aka ONG-PRA)] is located on the west side of the pagoda. There are many food hawkers or food stalls where you can enjoy a variety of food. It's a cheap and clean open air food court, open 18:00-23:00. Don't forget to drop in at Flying Ice Cream - you'll be fascinated by how ice cream flies. You can also sample what is reputadly the best Khao Lam (sticky rice and coconut milk cooked in bamboo) in all of Thailand.
There is a restaurant with no English sign on Thanon Ratchadamnoen, a few minutes walk towards Sanam Chan from the Chedi. Transliterated the name is roughly Ratchaphreuk. If heading towards Sanam Chan it is on the left, and is recognisable by it's plastic table and chairs in a comfortable beer garden. Sometimes the place has karaoke. The food is good traditional Thai, but you will be tested on your knowledge of Thai cuisine as there is no English menu.
Any Order (Raan A-haan Taam Sung), Rajdamnern Rd (towards Sanamchan Palace from Chedi, at the far corner of the first block on the right, opposite side of 7-11, if you face towards Sanamchan). Clean and cheap. They provide English Menu with their signature dishes. Open daily until midnight to 1AM.
Yuer Mai, Rajdamnern Rd (around 5 mins on the left hand side, opposite side of Catholic Church). Nice and simple Thai dishes, air-conditioning.
All the hotels in Nakhon Pathom are like hotels in most other provincial capitals - designed for Thais, and straight out of the 1970s. At the Nakhon Inn, for example, they haven't changed their brochure since the early 1980s, and the photos of the rooms still match exactly to the rooms you'll stay in. That said, they are comfortable and prices are very reasonable.
Mitsampant Hotel, 2/11 Rachadamnern Road, Nakhon Pathom, 73000 (above the Mitsampant electric appliance store, right next to the chedi on the West side and across Shell gas station); tel. +66-34252010. Nice and clean, very friendly owners who speak fluent English. Rooms from 200 baht a night. A handout of local map in English is available for free for all tourists.
Mitpaisal Hotel, 120/30 Prayapan Road, Nakhon Pathom, 73000. tel. +66-34242422. Six-storey hotel located close to the air-con bus station to Bangkok and the fruit market, less than a quarter mile to the north from the chedi. Better than Mitsampant and Nakhon Inn, but the price is still very affordable. The room and bathroom are very clean. A handout of the local map in English is available for free with very helpful insight of area of attractions including very descriptive of transportation to other popular provinces.
Nakhon Inn, 55 Rajivithi Road, Nakhon Pathom, 73000. tel. +66 (0) 34 251 152. Large hotel in a small cul-de-sac off the road which the Bangkok Buses travel down. Very close to the Chedi, and a 15 minute walk to Sanam Chan. An internet cafe is located in a shop outside. Opt for a room which overlooks the Chedi, as the rooms on the other side sits directly above a school - you'll be woken at the crack of dawn by the screaming chorus of Thai kids being dropped off by their parents. Rooms have clean bathrooms and beds, a fridge, there is a hotel restaurant and the building has a lift. The reception staff have limited English. Rooms from 300 baht a night.
Whale Hotel, Rajivithi Road, Nakhon Pathom, 73000. This large hotel also has an attached restaurant and nightclub. It is the best situated hotel to visit Silpakorn University and Sanam Chan Palace grounds, however it is a bit far from the Chedi. It is also the priciest hotel in town.
Ko Kret
Ko Kret (also Ko Kred) is an island in the Chao Phraya River, 20 km north of Bangkok in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand.
The island dates only to 1722, when a canal was constructed as a shortcut to bypass a bend in the Om Kret branch of the Chao Phraya river. As the canal was widened several times, the section cut off eventually became a separate island. The island continues to serve as a refuge to the Mon tribes who dominated central Thailand between the 6th and 10th centuries and have retained a distinct identity in their flavor of Buddhism and, particularly at Ko Kret, their pottery.
 Get in
The easiest way to reach Ko Kret is to take the once-weekly Chao Phraya Express Ko Kred tour, which leaves the Central Pier (BTS Saphan Taksin) every Sunday at 09:00 and visits a number of attractions before returning at 15:30. The cost of the cruise and guided tour is 300 baht (no lunch). Many other companies also offer similar tours, often just as a stop on a longer upriver trip to Ayutthaya.
Independent travel to Ko Kret is a little more challenging. Most people start by traveling to Nonthaburi pier, the last stop (pier N30) of the normal Chao Phraya Express Boat; the trip from Central takes close to an hour but costs all of 10 baht. From here, the options are:
Take the air-con van service (just 10 baht) or public bus 32/506 to Pak Kret, then head to the ferry pier serving the island. The catch is that there's no signage in English, so finding your way can be tricky.
Hire a river taxi, for which touts will quote prices around 500 baht. With enough haggling this may be a reasonable option for a group.
If you can't get a return trip for less than 200 baht (and you probably can't), it'll be cheaper to take a taxi to the temple of Wat Sanam Neua (80-90 baht) in the neighboring district of Pak Kret, from where ferries shuttle across the river to the island pretty much non-stop for the princely sum of 2 baht (return). Just tell the cabbie "Ko Kret", they will understand.
Getting back is more interesting still, the easy way out again being the river taxi, plenty of which lounge about near the pier. If not, take the ferry back to Wat Sanam Neua, then take a moto or samlor out of the soi (5 baht) to the main street. From here you can easily grab a taxi back to pier, or try your luck with the many buses, minibuses and songthaews heading back to central Nonthaburi and Bangkok. The pier you want to return to is Tha Nam Nonburi or simply Tha Nam Chao Phya in Thai (Chao Phraya Pier).
Note that the green flag express boats going up the river from Nonthaburi pier directly to Ko Kret, mentioned in some guidebooks, stopped running in 1998 after the economic crash. There have been plans to restart operations, but at time of writing they remain only plans.
 Get around
Compared to getting in, getting around is easy: the most popular option is your feet. The island is roughly square in shape, each side measuring about 2 km, and a path runs around the entire island. The walk at a pleasant pace takes about 1.5- 2 hours. Other options are renting a bicycle from the outfit located in Moo 6; from the 2 baht ferry crossing make your way counterclockwise around the island about 200 meters. At about the same point, which is near the end of the touristed area, motorcycle taxis wait to take people around. If you walk and get tired, you can proceed down one of the paths leading out to piers by the river. From these local piers, you can flag down a small water-taxi. These miniature versions of the famous Thai long tailed boats will zip you around the island and back to the Pak Kret pier on the mainland if you like. Prices are reasonable, maybe 20 baht per person for a group of 4 and the ride warrants a Disneyland "E" ticket, but better know how to swim as life vests are not included. Also do not expect to use English with the boatman.
While the locals speak little English, there are useful multilingual maps of the island near the ferry pier and at a couple other points around the island. There are occasional distance signposts along the footpath, and most sights around the island have been labeled in English.
Ko Kret is another world compared to Bangkok and much of it retains the air of a rustic village, with wooden shacks propped against palm trees and the occasional dilapidated temple slowly crumbling. Hence the main attraction is just walking around, browsing the merchandise in the many pottery shops.
Wat Poramai Yikawat is the main temple on the island, at the north-east corner right next to the ferry landing. The main feature is several white marble pagodas, carved in the Mon style. There is also a small museum showcasing the temple's treasury.
Wat Chimplee is on the east coast, about 1 km south of the ferry landing and a good point to turn around if you're not planning to make the full circuit.
Ko Kret is renowned above all as a center for kwan arman, a style of Mon pottery, which is fundamentally just baked unglazed red clay carved with intricate patterns. Prices for the simplest and smallest pots start from as low as 5 baht a piece, but can go up to hundreds or even thousands of baht for large ornate pieces. Particularly popular among visitors are candle and incense holders with ornate patterns of holes to let the smoke or light out, averaging around 200 baht.
There are some 20 pottery workshops on the island and you will see many kilns as you walk around, but the primary shopping districts (perhaps too grandiose a word) are the imaginatively named:
Pottery Village #1 - on the east coast south of Wat Poramai Yikawat.
Pottery Village #6 - on the north coast to the west of the wat
 Eat & Drink
Although not considered an activity, this is one of the primary attractions for Thais visiting the island. There are numerous vendors cooking up a number of local treats mainly Thai and Mon snacks and desserts. Favorites that the island is known for include "Khao Cher." This dish is a Mon specialty of rice served with chilled fragrant water and a number of little side dishes. It was a royal favorite for hot summer days, but now is hard to find most anywhere besides here. "Tod mun pla nor gala" is another treat. This is spiced fish cake with the shoots of local ginger variety.
There is a food market near the ferry pier featuring the usual suspects, but also including a local specialty best described as Mon tempura: deep-fried vegetables, fish, shrimp and such served in a large banana-leaf krathong (leaf-shaped bowl). A number of stalls also serve chaa yen (Thai iced tea) and other drinks in red clay cups with carrying handles, which you can keep as a souvenir for a few baht extra.
For a more relaxing lunch, try the pleasantly airy blue-tiled riverside restaurant just past Pottery Village 1. Thai basics (noodles, som tam, etc) cost around 30 baht per dish, no English menu or sign but some English spoken.
Around the island in the touristed section, there are a number of other riverside restaurants and many vendors selling snacks and desserts, so a taste as you go approach works well. On the less touristed section, there are a few places but more spread out and just the basic noodles and Thai "aharn tam sung" dishes.
There are no hotels or guesthouses on the island. Most visitors visit the island as a day trip from Bangkok.
Baan Dvara Prateep 53/3 Moo 5; tel. +66-25384212 website / map is the sole exception of sorts, a low-key retreat offering yoga and meditation courses with accommodation included. Prices vary but expect to pay around 5000 baht for a 3 day/2 night course, including meals and transfers to Pak Kret. Reservations required.
Phetchaburi (เพชรบุรี) - pronounced and sometimes spelled Phetburi - is the provincial capital of Phetchaburi Province.
Phetchaburi City is the capital city of Phetchaburi Province, and is located about 75 miles south-west of Bangkok. The city is one of the oldest settlements in Thailand, mentioned in historical records dating to the 8th century, and having significant standing artifacts dating to the 12th century. There are numerous temples in and around the city center and market area, in addition to the Royal Palace known informally as Khao Wang that dominates the skyline. The city is situated on the River Phet ("diamond" in Thai), which originates in the Kaeng Krachan National Park and flows into the Gulf of Siam at Baan Laem.
Phetchaburi is a predominantly agricultural province, and the city reflects this with a large and thriving traditional market, buzzing with activity from pre-dawn until mid-day, and replete with the aromas of everything. It is very much a working city, with few tourists, nor the infrastructure to support them.
 Get in
From Bangkok, the blue express bus from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal will take you directly to Phetchaburi's bus terminal, which is adjacent to a night market. The express buses leave Bangkok at least every hour, and you should allow three hours for the journey, which will cost 100-150 baht. Take care to avoid the blue and orange bus, as this will stop many times and will take much longer to reach Phetchaburi.
You can also reach Phetchaburi by train from Hua Lamphong; the journey normally takes around four hours, but can occasionally take longer. This will cost 100-250 baht, depending on the type of train.
A taxi from Bangkok should cost no more than 2000 baht and should take around two hours.
 Get around
Phetchaburi itself is blissfully free of traffic snarls, except on the main North-South highway that bisects the Province but by-passes the town.
There are no meter taxis. There are tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis, and for a slow cruise around the market area, plenty of traditional two-seat pedal-power tricycle taxis. Whatever your means of transportation, it would be a good idea to have your destination written down in Thai for the driver.
For longer journeys around the Province there are local buses (trucks with benches) available from the market area, but you need to ask the drivers for their destinations (you will quickly be directed to the correct bus).
Most of the important temples (except Khao Wang) are within walking distance of the market area.
Temple junkies will be satisfied for days with the town itself but the highlight is definitely the mountain.
Khao Wang, the famous old royal palace complex on the mountain has a huge, very elegant stupa, some caves with bats, shrines and animal sacrifices, a well-scuplted, vast gold-plated reclining buddha and a museum. Depending on the entrance you take you may be charged a tourist tax. The main entrance is infested by extremely chubby and impertinent monkeys. You can buy bananas for them from numerous small retailers.
In Phetchaburi you can buy all of the staples of daily life as a Buddhist in Thailand with great convenience, but as regards souvenirs, there are just a few small but adequate shops around the base of the cable car that serves the Khao Wang palace. For Thai silk and clothing, the Big C hypermarket on the main highway carries a modest selection, as do a handful of shops in the market area.
Serious souvenir-hunters might wish to head South about 40 miles to Hua Hin, where there are plenty of high class souvenir shops.
Phetchaburi province is famous throughout Thailand for its Thai desserts - Khanom Thai - delicious candy-like finger food made from egg, palm sugar, coconut, and a binding agent, usually crushed beans or flour. The main North-South highway is dotted with large stores offering a bewildering variety of such sweetmeats, if your waistline can cope.
Like all Thai cities, Phetchaburi has hundreds of restaurants and cafes, serving almost every variety of Thai food. Many of them specialise in just a few menu items, so the trick is to decide what you want to eat before you decide on where to eat. There is almost no English language signage, so specific recommendations are not especially helpful. On the other hand, whichever of these cafes or restaurants you choose to frequent, your chances of not being served a wholesome Thai dish are very low.
If you wish to be "safe," the two hotels mentioned below have restaurants that will likely not disappoint you. In addition, the Big C has several Western-style franchises under its roof (e.g., Chester's Grill, KFC), with air conditioning and English language menus. But be advised this establishment suffers from severe noise pollution.
Apart from a few Chinese restaurants, the aforementioned Big C franchises, and two pizza parlors in peripheral locations, anything other than Thai food is almost impossible to find in Phetchaburi city.
The best hotel is the Royal Diamond, located near the by-pass (tel: +66 3241 1061). It is not close to the market area (although it is close to Khao Wang), but can provide transportation. Rates around 1200 baht.
The hotels in the market area are mostly old converted shop-houses, and are aimed at commercial travellers.
The exception is the Rabieng Rim Nam Guesthouse, located on Chisa-in Road near the bridge over the river (tel: +66 3242 5707). This provides inexpensive (although noisy) accommodation for less than 300 baht, and also offers local tours and bicycle rentals. The Rabieng Rim Nam provides a great place to stay provided you bring ear plugs. The staff is friendly and speaks English well enough. If you choose to stay here, you should check the walls of your room VERY carefully as there are many peepholes between at least three of the upper rooms.
The husband of the hotel owner is a jungle guide. He offers inexpensive trips into the the nearby parks regularly. Also local wildlife can be seen right out the window of the restaurant... giant freaking water lizards. It's worth it to sit and drink a big Chang. By the time you're finished you'll no doubt catch a glimpse of one of these amazing and dangerous animals.
 Get out
Phetchaburi city is 10 miles from the coast. The nearest easily accessible seaside village is Chao Samran, which has a few small hotels and guest houses, and one luxury resort. It is a tranquil spot, ideal for seekers of peace and solitude (except on long weekends). Legend has it that this beach was a favourite place of relaxation for Thai royalty during the 17th and 18th centuries while Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand.
Puek Tian is a few miles to the south of Chao Samran, and is somewhat larger and more popular, although evidently dilapidated. It is distinguished by the very large statues of imaginary figures from Thai literature dispersed around the beach area.
About 25 miles south of Phetchaburi lies Cha-am, a rapidly developing resort with a fine long beach that is immensely popular with Thai families. There are also many good hotels and guest houses aimed at visitors from overseas, especially from Northern Europe.
The whole of the Western half of the province is given over to the Kaeng Krachan National Park, the largest such park in Thailand, and a pristine evergreen jungle covering more than 1,000 square miles that remains mostly unexplored to this day. The park headquarters can provide details of hiking, rafting and camping opportunities (tel: +66 3245 9291).
Hua Hin
Hua Hin (หัวหิน) is a seaside resort city in Thailand. It is popular with Thais, having become quite fashionable as a weekend getaway spot for Bangkok residents, as well with foreigners and as an ex-pat retirement or vacation home location.
Although developing rapidly, there is a commitment by the local and provincial authorities to avoid the kind of overheated blight that has affected other beach resorts in Thailand.
Hua Hin as a resort was discovered in the early 1920s by King Prajadhipok as an ideal getaway from the sultry metropolis of Bangkok. The tranquil fishing village was turned into a royal resort and consequently became popular among Siam's nobility and upper class. In 1928, Prajadhipok built his Klai Kangwon (Far From Worries) Palace. As of 2007, Klai Kangwon is the full-time residence of the current king and is not open for visitors, although the outer palace grounds are open for walkers and joggers from 4pm to 7 pm daily. (Wear shoes, bring passport)
 Get in
 By plane
Hua Hin Air Shuttle is currently the only passenger carrier offering regular flights to/from Hua Hin Airport. The price is very expensive compared to the distance and the time - 3400 baht one way, or 5800 baht return (adult, to/from Bangkok).
 By train
Train is an easy method to get into Hua Hin, as the train station is right in the center of Hua Hin. However, the trains go very slowly getting away from Bangkok so 2 1/2 hour road time to Hua Hin stretches to 5 or 6 on the train. The price of the train is around 100 baht(and only 44Bath for ordinary train). See State Railway of Thailand for time tables and fares.
 By bus
From Bangkok, buses to Hua Hin leave from the Sai Tai Mai terminal about every 20 minutes and take around 3.5 hours. The price (1st class) is under 200 baht. More convenient to downtown Bangkok, you can also take a minibus from the Victory Monument (Anusawari Chai) area, near the BTS skytrain. Cost is 180 baht, limited baggage. The Hua Hin vans board in the alleyway next to Rajavithi Hospital at the southwest side of the Victory Monument traffic roundabout. From the skytrain station, take the walkway towards the monument, then turn left and descend the staircase to street level. The minibus area is behind the food vendors area. Look for a small table with "Cha Am, Hua Hin" written in English to buy your ticket.
A 1st class bus service will eventually connect Hua Hin directly with Suvarnabhumi Airport (the new BKK).
 By taxi
Taking a taxi from Bangkok to Hua Hin (distance about 200 km) is possible. Price after negotiation should be in the 2000 baht range. The limousine services, available at Bangkok Airport, are more expensive than an ordinary taxi.
 Get around
There are many ways to get around in Hua Hin, Sawngthaews run the same routes all day and cost only 10 baht. There are numerous motorcycle taxis and tuk-tuks, fewer car taxis. Negotiate price beforehand. There are quite a lot of upscale tourists in Hua Hin and prices are sometimes adjusted upwards. Better to clarify the matter ahead of time. Car rentals are available, and this can be convenient if you're comfortable driving in Thailand. Motorcycle rentals are readily available. Hua Hin is very flat, and bicycle is a good way to get around locally. Rentals available, but not so prevalent as motos.
Kao Takeab is one of the highest area in Hua Hin, by going up this mountain by driving you will see the whole Hua Hin and also nice beach. This is another good place to wait for the sunset as well. Also the food on Kao Takeab is very delicious too.
Beaches - there is only one beach, which runs from one side of Hua Hin to the other. Basically it's one long beach. At the south end of town, Khao Takeab interrupts the beach. On the other side (technically not Hua Hin anymore) is a lovely swimming beach with a view of Khao Takeab's South face. Just a little further on, Suan Son beach is owned by the thai army, but open to the public for a small fee. Notable for the tropical sea pines lining the shore.
Sand and sea.
Hua Hin is famous for its many nice golf courses. Worth a visit.
There are many other acitivities as well like ATV, horse riding, go-kart, and kite boarding.
Must go to night market. Where they sell foods and clothes.
The Barai Spa, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin Hotel, 91 Hua Hin - Khao Takiap Road, +66 3 252 1234 (hotel.hrhuahin@hyattintl.com), [1].
Shop at the night markets. Things that you can buy range from T-shirts to antiques. shirt will cost you around 300 baht (£2) Note that there are two night markets. The better known is in the middle of Hua Hin, and is rather tourist oriented. The one the Thais favor is known as the Grand market because its in the parking lot between Grand Hotel and Sao Paulo Hospital. More diverse and interesting, but does not operate Monday and Tuesday.
There are plenty of eating options around Hua Hin. Those close to the beach and atop Kao Takiap are touristy, while some good local options can be found on Phetkasem Rd along the way to Kao Takiap. For cheap eats, check out the night market.
If you want English songs better go in the downtown area of Hua Hin, where Hyatt Hotel is located. If you go there, most of the people will be foreigners.
Style. One of the best nightspots in Hua Hin, with hip hop music and techno. Popular for teenagers around that area. Open from 6 pm to 2 am, but most people come around 10 pm onward. Live music as well, but thai music. Frequently overcrowded.
Takeang (J. Gene) Pub. Located at the end of Soi Bintabaht (girl bar street) closest to the Hilton Hotel. Live rock music with a very gifted Thai guitarist named Thep. The tunes are all classic rock covers (Hendrix, Guns & Roses, Steppenwolf, etc.), but Thep is a remarkable soloist who makes any song his own. Recommended
Bluestation Country Pub. Very popular with local folks, but nearly unknown to tourists. Located behind the older of Hua Hin's two bus depots, by the intersection of Chomsin Road and the railroad track (only rail crossing in central HH, so easy to find). The house band is excellent, playing all Thai country (Peu Chiwit) songs. Before 10 pm, there's an opening act that some nights (but irregularly) consists of a duo of Thai on guitar and farang on accordion, doing all Thai songs. One of a kind, and pleasant listening.
Ranging from motel to 5 stars hotels. Hua Hin has a lot of hotel for you to stay, one of the best are Dusit Resort and Spa, Hyatt, Cheevasom Spa and Resort, Veranda Hotel. Those are 5 stars hotel which is like the best, if you want a bit lower grade, try Chom View Resort, which is near Kao Takeab and cheap. To go to any of these hotels you can ask the truck to take you there easily.
Many guest houses are available, walk in, no need to make reservations. A room is 150B and up. For 400B per you can get room with modern AC and TV.
Lucky, located around the corner from the Hua Hin Hilton, has small clean rooms with shared bathroom available for 150B per night.
Chom View Resort - very nice, not big, cheap, clean. Near Kao takeab, private beach.
Preeburan Resort - you can feel warm welcome with local Thai greeting, beachfront unique design villas with relax sensation at the affordable price visit www.preeburan.com
 Stay safe
As the King has a palace here, the security in Hua Hin is very tight, with a lot of cops around.
Samut Prakan (province)
Samut Prakan Province is in Central Thailand.
 Get in
 By car
You can use the old Sukhumvit Road and also Highway Number 303 to get there. The distance is only 29 kilometres to Samut Prakan town.
Distances from Amphoe Muang Samut Prakan to other Amphoes and King Amphoe :
  • Phra Pradaeng 12 Kms.
  • Bang Phli 17 Kms.
  • Bang Bo 38 Kms.
  • Phra Samut Chedi 21 Kms.
  • King Amphone Bang Sao Thong 32 Kms.
 By bus
Air-conditioned buses (of the BMTA Bangkok Mass Transit Authority)
  • Line No. 502 (Sam Rong - Pak Khlong Talat), }
  • Line No. 506 (Pak Kret - Phra Pradaeng)
  • Line No. 507 (Sam Rong - Tha Phra)
  • Line No. 508 (Pak Nam - Tha Ratchaworadit)
  • Line No. 511 (Pak Nam - Khonsongsaitai)
  • Line No. 513 (Rangsit - Pu Chao Saming Phrai)
  • Line No. 523 (Sam Rong Thewet via Expressway)
  • Line No. 525 (Pak Nam - Tha Chang)
  • Line No. 102 (Pak Nam - Chong Nonsee)
  • Line No. 126 (Nonthaburi - Sam Rong)
  • Line No. 129 (Thang Duan - Kasetsart University - Sam Rong)
  • Line No. 142 (Wat Lau - Samut Prakan)
  • Line No. 145 (Suan Chatuchak - Samut Prakan)
In early 2006, BMTA has renumbered all air-conditioned buses to higher number. For example from No. 11 to No. 511. Some air-conditioned buses numbers remain the same. Please consult official BMTA web site http://www.bmta.co.th/engversion/eng_version.htm for full details.
Non-air conditioned buses
  • Line No. 2 (Sam Rong - Pak Khlong Talad)
  • Line No. 6 (Phra Pradaeng - Bang Lamphu)
  • Line No. 13 (Rangsit - Phu Chao Saming Phrai)
  • Line No. 20 (Pom Phra Chun- Tha Nam Din Daeng)
  • Line No. 23 (Sam Rong Thewet via Expressway)
  • Line No. 25 (Pak Nam - Tha Chang)
  • Line No. 45 (Sam Rong - Ratchaprasong)
  • Line No. 82 (Phra Pradaeng - Bang Lamphu)
  • Line No. 102 (Pak Nam - Chong Nonsi)
  • Line No. 116 (Samrong - Sathorn)
  • Line No. 129 (Kasetsart University - Sam Rong via Expressway)
  • Line No. 138 (Chatuchak - Phra Pradaeng via Expressway)
  • Line No. 145 (Suan Chatuchak - Pak Nam)
Ancient City (Mueang Boran). Has scaled replicas of buildings from all over Thailand and is interesting to cycle round. To get there independently from Bangkok, take the Skytrain to the end of the line at On Nut. Then a 511 air conditioned bus (ask to be told when to get off for Muang Boran). Then you take a no. 36 pickup truck bus the rest of the way (ask to be told when you're there or keep looking left across the canal). That's an hour or more on the buses.
Rangsit (รังสิต) is in Pathum Thani Province, Thailand, 40 kilometers north of Bangkok.
Effectively a suburb of Bangkok, Rangsit is directly north from Bangkok on Thanon Phahonyothin, 20 kilometers from Don Muang Airport.
 Get in
 By bus
Local buses 29, 34, 39, 59, 95, 504, 510 and 522 will get you from Bangkok to Rangsit Future Park (7 baht in the basic non-aircon buses, 18-22 baht for aircon). You can catch most of these from the bus stop next to BTS Mo Chit station. The journey takes 30-60 minutes depending on the traffic and bus (the orange 5xx services are faster).
Nearly all central, north and northeast-bound long-distance buses stop next to Rangsit Future Park on their way in or out of the city, and often almost half the bus gets off. And with reason: it's still another hour from here to the city, so this is an excellent place to hop out, stretch your legs and get a decent meal.
 By taxi
A taxi to central Bangkok will cost at least 300 baht. Always insist on using the meter. In the midnight hours a "service charge" may be required, but one shouldn't have to pay over 50 baht extra.
Wat Phra Dhammakaya, [1]. Humongous hypermodern temple home to the controversial Dhammakaya (Thammakai) cult/sect, dubbed the Thai version of the Church of Scientology. The size of the complex can hardly be overstated: crowds on special events can number in the hundreds of thousands, and the unreal scale of everything makes it appear like a science fiction movie set built by Albert Speer. As you enter, you'll first see the golden dome of the Memorial Hall of the sect's founder, Phramonkolthepmuni. Behind it lies the aircraft-hangar-sized Meditation Hall, and once you've walked through it (which takes a solid 15 minutes of hiking!) you'll spot the main event, the stupendous Maha Dhammakaya Cetiya. This is a golden UFO-shaped chedi covered with "one million" (in reality a mere 300,000) of golden Buddhas, in the center of a massive square and surrounded by the concrete platform of the Meditation Amphitheatre (scheduled for completion in 2006). There are free shuttle services from Victory Monument and Sanam Luang in Bangkok starting 7 AM on Sundays only; otherwise, find the elusive shuttle bus 1008 from Rangsit market, or just take a taxi from Future Park (80-100B one way). The temple is free to all and open daily, but devotees gather the first Sunday of each month and there are English-language meditation retreats several times a year. Dress decently (women must cover shoulders and legs) and try to pick a cloudy or cool day because there's a lot of walking to be done.
Future Park Rangsit. Thanon Phahonyothin, [2]. In Rangsit, the future seems to mean huge shopping malls. Here you can find Robinson and Central department stores, Big C and TOPS hypermarkets, an EGV cinema, Office Depot and HomePro outlets and much more, all packed tightly together. Unfortunately the spiffy monorail that is supposed to connect them all hasn't been running in a while.
 Eat & Drink
Future Park has countless eating options.
Asian Institute of Technology. Km 42, Thanon Phahonyothin, [3]. Thailand's equivalent of MIT has its main campus in Rangsit, 6 km north of Future Park. Get there on buses 29 and 39.
Rangsit University Located in the center of the small community of Muang-Ake, RU is one of Thailand's largest universities and home to an international college with English instruction.
© Wikitravel, 01.2008.
Текст взят с сайта Wikitravel.org

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