Week End trip to Nakhon Pathom

You’ve probably never heard of Nakhon Pathom. Or if you have, it’s because they have the LARGEST STUPA IN THE WORLD, but more on that later.

Bottom line is: Nakhon Pathom is a nice small city not far from Bangkok, but don’t go there just for Nakhon Pathom, or you’ll be disappointed. Rather, plan your trip with your own method of transportation and enjoy the different spots on the way. Who knew you could find rice fields and countryside roads this close from Bangkok?

Keep reading below to find out all about the cool spots to visit and eat at in Nakhon Pathom.

You’ll also find the exact roads we took to drive around on the map below. They’re definitely not the fastest, but we had some really nice landscape surprises on some of them. Don’t hesitate to follow them and let us know if you find better roads, we’ll add them to the recommendations!

Outline:

  1. Trip Inception
  2. Lamphaya Floating Market
  3. Wat Bang Phra
  4. Jesada Technik Museum
  5. Phra Pathom Chedi (Nakhon Pathom)
  6. Bars & restaurants in Nakhon Pathom
  7. Wat Samphran & Riva Floating Cafe
  8. Putthamonthon Park & Changchui

Last minute organisation

 

We decided on a Wednesday that it would be good to escape from Bangkok for the weekend. After a bit of Google mapping, we decided on Nakhon Pathom as it fulfilled a few of our criteria:

  • Easily accessible by bike
  • Satellite view showed some nice green patches
  • There were a couple ‘famous’ POIs in the city (which in the end accounted for about 0.2% of the awesomeness of the trip)

Before embarking on the journey, we had to rent bikes with Oli, a fellow Canadian friend while Mick already owns its own. (And once again, I was outnumbered, two Canadians to one French.) We went to the rental place Friday right after work, and I got a Stallion Centaur while Oli got GPX legend, both 150cc Thai brands that are fun to ride. The ride out of the shop was a bunch of firsts for me:

  • First time properly driving a full manual bike
  • First time driving in Bangkok’s traffic (And to make things even more fun, it was on a Friday night when everyone gets off work, basically with the worse traffic ever)

Needless to say, it’ll be an experience I’ll remember for a while! So here we were, all set up for the next day’s adventure, alarm at 6.00AM, hoping to beat traffic by leaving early.

Lamphaya Floating Market

While we were filling up on gas, we changed our minds about 5 times on the itinerary we’d take, and eventually decided on one. We’re heading to Lamphaya floating market (ตลาดน้ำวัดลำพญา) ! The market is around 50km away from Bangkok. We went in direction of Nonthaburi, and around Central Westgate, we decided to venture off the main road instead of just speeding on the highway. It was really quite cool, only 30 minutes away from Bangkok, and already we were treated with the countryside and rice fields! We arrived at Lamphaya at around 11 AM, and since we had no breakfast we were starting to feel a bit hangry. Good luck for us, the market was all about local Thai food! We met a few local Thai families coming out together for lunch, strolling from stall to stall to bring back different kinds of food to their tables. There was food for any taste: Noodles, E-San food, roasted duck, roasted chicken, curries, you name it, they had it! Some of the shops were cooking were cooking on the platform, and others right on the water in their little boats. Considering how I struggle to cook in my kitchen full of utensils, this deserves some respect! As always during our trips, there’s no pre-defined plan, so meals are usually a time for google mapping and finding some cool attractions nearby. With our bellies full, we’re ready for the next stop: Wat Bang Phra. (วัดบางพระ)

Wat Bang Phra (วัดบางพระ)

Wat Bang Phra is quite famous in Bangkok, mostly due to the yearly tattoo festival that is being held there. We tried to join the festival a few years back, but the opening time we found online was wrong, so we only managed to reach the temple once everything was over. However, we’ll be back for sure as it looks absolutely mental: people go there to have the protection of their tattoos ‘recharged’ by the monks’ chants, and get possessed by their tattoos. Check out the video below
The temple itself is quite a sight: On one side is the city of Bang Kaeo (บางแก้ว), on the other beautiful rice fields, and it is along the Tha Chin river.

Inside the temple, you’ll find a market, a couple coffee stalls and a lot of statues going along the river in a park-like environment.

Wat Bang Phra

Opening Hours: 7 Days a week
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/84HaPXi7LTE2
Website: http://www.bp.or.th/

 

Wat Bang Phra

Jesada Technik Museum

Next stop on the way was this pearl of a museum we found by chance: Jesada Technik Museum.

Another private collector, showcasing dozens and dozens of vintage vehicles of all kinds to the public. The museum is not that big, but god is it fun!

There are two main areas to the museum: Old cars and old bikes.

The bikes side looks like a very organized junkyard with at least a hundred different motorbikes.

The car side has around 50 different cars of all kinds: Old Thai ambulances and taxis, money transporters, and even a Delorean! Needless to say, this triggered a good 10 minutes of quoting “Back to the future” McFly!

Honestly, I think this museum is a must-see, even as a day trip from Bangkok, It takes about half an hour to an hour to go around the place, and is loads of fun.

 

Jesada Technik Museum

Opening Hours: 7 Days a week, 9AM – 5PM
Phone: 034 339 468
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3e885PkGiM92 
Website: http://www.jesadatechnikmuseum.com/en/index.php

 

jesada technik museum

Phra Pathom Chedi (Nakhon Pathom)

After we were done with the Jesada Technik Museum, it was around 4 PM, so it was time to head to Nakhon Pathom, settle in the hotel and go visit the largest stupa in the world: Phra Pathom Chedi (พระปฐมเจดีย์).

We found a nice little hotel in Nakhon Pathom, that we’ve actually stayed at, at a later time in the year: The proud exclusive hotel. For ~ $20, you get to stay at a brand new hotel, close to bars and restaurants (more on that later) with a buffet breakfast. As far as deals go, this is a great one!

One thing to remember is that when you drive the motorbike, and you’re stupid enough (as we are) to wear cotton sweaters to look cool and united: you sweat the hell off. So, after a nice shower, we were on our way to the Chedi.

The chedi WAS BIG. But I’ll be honest, I’ve been in Thailand for quite a number of years, so you kinda get used to seeing temples and stuff, so I wouldn’t say this was the highlight of the trip, but still, it is definitely one thing to cross off the list when in Nakhon Pathom.

After spending 15 minutes walking around and inside the Chedi, the next best highlight was… the night market set up next to ti of course!

Loads of people had made their way to the market to catch dinner for the family. We indulge d in quite a few snacks but didn’t have the patience to wait in front of the most popular booths where literally 30 people were waiting to get their roasted chickens and pad thais.

 

Phra Pathom Chedi

Opening Hours: 7 Days a week
Phone: 034 242 143
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/dQoesc22gc42

 

phra pathom chedi

Bars & restaurants in Nakhon Pathom

After we visited the Chedi, it was time for some well-deserved drinks!

We picked the hotel not only for the affordable price but also because it was a few minutes walk from a few bars and restaurants, so we wouldn’t have to take the bike to go out.

We’re fans of craft beer, and the trend is picking up in Thailand, so it has become a routine for us to find the local craft beer bar in every city we go to celebrate the end of the day.

We started off at Beer Aholic. Good selection of beers and an outside area which was unfortunately unusable as a gang of mosquitoes had claimed the territory. For your healthy friends, they also had a couple non-alcoholic beers, which is rare enough to be pointed out.

After a couple of cold ones, we moved on to Light my fire which had great reviews all around. We went there at 8 PM and were literally the first ones there, which is very surprising in Thailand. We were traveling on a long weekend and the town was unfortunately quite empty.

We ordered 5-6 dishes for the three of us as well as some more cold ones. Prices were very affordable at ~70 baht/dish.

At around 10 PM, the band started playing. I think the main band was on holidays because that guy was literally massacring all songs, but still, it was good fun.

Beer Aholic (Craft beer bar)
Opening Hours: 7 days a week, 6 PM- 12 AM.
Phone: 094 694 9422
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/QGfhetWqyfu

Light my fire (Restaurant / Bar)
Opening Hours: 7 days a week, 6 PM – 1 AM.
Phone: 086 780 7352
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/R2MKNyHDzED2

Beer Aholic

light my fire

Wat Samphran & Riva Floating Cafe

Surprisingly hangover free, we were on the road by 8 AM the next day. As we did most of the sights the day before, we just decided to get lost and explore some of the small roads to be surprised.

We started off by going into a nice little dirt path with a beautiful view over the river. You can find it here: https://goo.gl/maps/cZbUaCLr1Q82

We continued on the small roads and stumbled upon a nice little temple with a Khmer feel.

The temple is called Wat Huai Tako (วัดห้วยตะโก) and you can find it here: https://goo.gl/maps/gJFdeKw48FE2

After this nice little surprise of a temple, we zoomed in as much as we could on google maps, to find the tiniest roads that would bring us to the sight of the day: Wat Samphan.

I think we got lucky and found a really nice little road that was in the middle of the rice fields. See for yourselves below, and if you’re interested in some Instagram pictures, head here: https://goo.gl/maps/kvUSomoWwoy

After enjoying the small roads, we were ready to head to Wat Samphran. The temple is quite famous due to the massive dragon surrounding the main temple.

At first, I thought it was ‘decoration’, but hell no! The body of the dragon was the path to the top of the temple. That was pretty kick-ass. The climb takes around 10 minutes, and you have another couple staircases to climb to reach the top.

View from up there is beautiful and you can see how large the temple actually is. There are another two areas: A big Buddha statue as well as another shrine that you can enter through the mouth of a tortoise.

Wat Samphran is definitely a must-see. After a while in Thailand, temples tend to be a bit repetitive, but Wat Samphran is definitely original and not something you’ll see every day.

Wat Samphran:

Opening Hours: 7 days a week
Phone: 083 593 9202
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/EndpJRSpvYP2

The trip was approaching the end, and it was still early in the day, so we decided to indulge and head to riva floating cafe on the way back to Bangkok.

The Cafe was really nice and to our surprise super full!

Once inside though, we understood why: this place is an Instagram paradise. Even the coffee itself had some hipster vibe to it. You know, the kind of place where you don’t get your coffee in a cup, but rather in a freaking distillation flask?

Regardless, the food was quite good and so was the coffee.

Riva Floating Cafe:

Opening Hours: Tue-Fri 10.30 AM – 8:00 PM. Sat-Sun 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Phone: 034 900 121
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/gJgLyZyTMsz

Dirth Path river view

Dirth Path river view

Wat Huai Tako

Wat Huai Tako

Small Road with rice fields

Small Road with rice fields

Wat Samphran

Wat Samphran

Riva Floating Cafe

Riva Floating Cafe

Salaya Putthamonthon Park & Changchui

Once properly stuffed, we decided we had time for a couple more stops! As we were really close to Putthamonthon Park, we made our way there.

Putthamonthon park is quite massive and a great place to go running, spend time with your family/girlfriend or just picnic and relax. There is also a giant Buddha Statue in the middle of the Park.

We chilled in the park for about half an hour and moved on to the last place of the trip: Changchui market.

Changchui is really a unique market that deserves its own article, and we’ll get to that later. There’s a massive place at the center of the market, and it’s super artsy / hipster with some really cool vibes. The only drawback as a Bangkokian is that it’s quite out of the way. But if it wasn’t, it’d definitely be a pre-gaming favorite.

My personal favorite is the craft beer bar called ‘Hoy Craft Beer’: Enjoy your beer with a helicopter engine as a table and old missile cases as a chair.

Putthamonthon Park:

Opening Hours:7 days a week
Phone: 02 441 9013
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/WKDcpgj2hU12

Chang Chui

Opening Hours: 7 days a week. 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM green zone, 4.00 PM – 11:00 PM night zone (for drinks :D)
Phone: 081 817 2888
Website: http://www.changchuibangkok.com/
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/EqR1FjN55xv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChangChuiBKK/

Putthamonthon Park

Putthamonthon Park

ChangChui

ChangChui

End of trip

Honestly, the trip was a blast. The small roads were fun, and we did manage to visit a bunch of sights in only a couple of days.

The main takeaway again is that there is no need to travel far to actually take a break from Bangkok, but I do think you need your own way of moving around as a cab would just cost you an arm and a leg.

Hope you found a few new places to visit through this post, enjoy, and keep traveling!

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