Chachoengsao – Thailand’s Ancient Province with a Long History and Beliefs
If you are talking about a province that was once a city in Thailand where it contains so much history, Chachoengsao would be one of the top provinces that comes up in the discussion. Chachoengsao is a province that was built on faith and beliefs. Its history goes back to the Ayutthaya period in the reign of King Borommatrailokkanat. However, it was not until the reign of King Rama V that the city of Chachoengsao became a province in 1916. Like most ancient civilizations, the population are mostly settled by the Bang Pakong River and canals. Most people living here called this province as Paet Riw as the province’s nickname. The nickname actually comes from a story of the giant snake-head fish which has been cut into 8 stripes on the side of it. The word “Paet” in English means eight and “Riw” means stripe, strip, or slice. The place contains some of the most beautiful temples in the entire eastern region of Thailand. If you want to see the craftsmanship from the ancient times, you will definitely not regret coming here!
How to travel to Chachoengsao
There are three ways of traveling here which are equally convenient. If you plan to come here by train, you can take the train from Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok. Be sure to arrive early if you want a seat as the train can get pretty crowded at times. However, if you definitely want to sit, you can come here by bus. You can take the bus at the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) and it will take you around one hour and 20 minutes to get here. You can also drive here by yourself by following the suggested route from your preferred GPS navigation. If you are not driving, just sit back and relax because you will need a lot of energy to see all of what Chachoengsao can offer!
Things to do in Chachoengsao
Let me start off with the famous attractions in Chachoengsao. As you may already know, Thailand has a long history of Buddhism. This means you will see a lot of temples around Thailand, especially in Chachoengsao. You will be able to see really beautiful temples, including wall arts from bottom to top of the place which screams for your visit. The first place is Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan or Luang Pho Sothon Temple.
This is the most famous temple in all eastern region of Thailand! There are three annual events here and there are many people that comes here every year for these three events, so you should not miss. However, the dates are not exactly the same every year, but if you come and visit Thailand around the following month, you might be able to catch it. The first event is held in the Chinese New Year celebration, the second event is in May, and the final one is in December. It does not really matter if there are festivals here or not, there will still be a lot of people at this temple as people have faith in the holiness of Luang Pho Sothon in which you can come and pray for your own luck. Please be cautious of your belongings as the place is always crowded with worshippers. Chachoengsao is also known for the city of Ganesh in Thailand. There are three giant Ganesh statues at three different places around Chachoengsao. If you are a worshipper of Ganesh, you should come and visit them all once you are here. The first statue is the sleeping Ganesh located at Saman Wattanaram Temple, the second statue is the sitting Ganesh located at Phrong Akat Temple, and the last statue is the standing Ganesh located at the Khlong Khuean Ganesh International Park.
Also, the sleeping Ganesh at Saman Wattanaram Temple is the biggest one of its kind in Thailand with a height of 16 meters and 22 meters long.
The meaning behind this statue is convenience and fulfilling happiness in every way. There are more things at this temple you should check out and pay respect to. The second Ganesh located at Phrong Akat Temple is 49 meters tall which is the tallest sitting Ganesh in Thailand and the meaning behind this statue is power, peace, and success. It is also standing beside the golden Chedi of the temple that you can see from a far. The last Ganesh is the tallest standing Ganesh in Thailand with a height of 39 meters which located in the middle of nature that signifies the abundant nature of the land at the Khlong Khuean Ganesh International Park.
If you don’t get enough with temple just yet, there are temples that you should go and take a look at. These temples are not really tourist attractions, but they are beautiful nonetheless. Each of these temples have unique characteristics that you may be interested to see.
Paknam Jolo Temple is the only temple in Thailand that is covered in gold color, both internally and externally. The place also showcases some antique tools and boats. Next up is Hua Suan Temple in which the entire temple is built by stainless steel.
The intention for this kind of construction is to make this temple lasts a thousand of years. While the outside is already amazing, inside of the temple contains wall arts and magnificent statues.
Nakhon Nueang Ket Temple is built mainly by earthenware which is quite an eye-opening sight. The entire temple is entirely brown which is really rare in Thailand. If you are done with temples, you can visit Bang Pakong River delta and take pictures of some birds nearby as well. If you are here around November to February, you might get a chance to encounter Irrawaddy dolphins near the delta which is also an eco-tourism place of this province.
“Bang Pakong River is the source of life” is one of the phrase in Chachoengsao’s motto and it is not just a fancy phrase. This province contains many floating markets, but there are only four main ones: Baan Mai Market, Nakhon Nueang Ket Riverside Market, Bang Khla Floating Market, and Khlong Suan 100 Years Market.
These four markets are similar to each other. You can get a feel of the vintage vibe and enjoy the atmosphere along the riverside. They are the places where you can see the century old culture, eat some delicious local foods, and buy great souvenirs that consists of local snacks, Thai traditional coffee, and more. An additional souvenir that you can buy is mango which is really famous. It is sweet and smells really good to your pallet!
Living in Chachoengsao
The motto for Chachoengsao is “The Bountiful Bang Pakong River, The Sacred Buddha Image of Luangpho Sothon, Phraya Si Sunthon the Scholar of Thai Language, The Pristine Ang Rue Nai Forest”. To get around town, you can use some of the public transportations available such as minibuses, air-conditioned bus, and tuktuks. However, you will rarely see a bus around the town, so you may want to stick with minibuses or tuktuks. For accommodation, there are some cheap hotels as low as 600 baht and some beautiful resorts with cheap prices as well. The hotels are easily accessible if you arrived here from Bangkok. Enjoy your stay and take some pictures of temples back with you!
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