Nakhon Nayok Extra
Nakhon Nayok is a small but pretty province on the edge of Khao Yai National Park, with lots of beautiful, fun, and fascinating places to see, without paying the expensive National Park entrance fee.
The activity filled Sarika sub-district is covered in detail here:
And the amazing Khun Dan Prakarn Chon Dam is covered here:
Apart from the above attractions, the rest of this picturesque province still has a lot of interesting sights worth seeing, thus Nakhon Nayok Extra.
Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy
As unlikely as it may seem the grounds and museum of the prestigious Chulachomklao Military Academy are open to the general public on most days of the year.
Exceptions are made when there are special events or visiting VIPs, which means access is restricted.
The grounds of the academy are huge and some parts are untouched forested hills. You will need your own transport to get around properly.
Visitors can use the academy’s shooting range, paddle canoes, ride a rescue sledge in the nearby reservoir, or enjoy an 18-hole golf course, subject to weather and availability.
Group activities include treks, camping, and rock-climbing sessions on natural and man-made cliffs.
Other attractions include the statue of King Rama V the Great in full army regalia, and the Royal Thai army museum.
A shrine dedicated to the highly revered military leader Chao Pho Khun Dan, who helped defeat invading Khmer forces, is another important feature.
Places to eat are limited, so think about making up a picnic before you get there.
Getting there: About 140km east of Bangkok, it’s well signposted along the Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok Road (Highway 305) after passing Ongkharak.
Sai Thong Reservoir is a small but very picturesque reservoir in a natural mountainous and jungle landscape just within Khao Yai National Park.
It’s well off the tourist trail and usually very quiet and serene. At the far end of the reservoir is the pleasant Rabiangprai Valley Resort, and 2km further by foot brings you to the Sai Thong Waterfall.
On the way back to Nakhon Nayok town about 3km from Sai Thong, you will pass the Huai Prue reservoir on your left.
This is a larger and more visited body of water which also has a small wild life center.
Getting there: You will need your own transport.
From Nakhon Nayok town follow highway 3049 in the direction of Sarika. After a short distance look for a slip road on the left with a small sign in English pointing to the reservoir. Follow the road and watch for the signs.
The road ends in the foothills of Khao Yai and the entrance to the reservoir is about 400 meters before the road ends, on the right. It’s a pretty drive.
History and Myth
A small but interesting archaeological site is in a ‘well off the beaten track’ part of Nakhon Nayok town district.
Dong Lakhon was an important Dvaravati town believed to date back to the 6th century.
It is spread over 6 sq km on a low plateau above the surrounding rice fields.
Twin earthen oval shaped ramparts with a moat between them gave the city a fortified heart.
The central core is 700m wide, 800m long, and 1.8km around. The 6 meter high inner rampart is mostly intact.
Climbing to the top of the rampart at the north gate gives a great vantage point to appreciate the true scale of the city.
The city appears to have been abandoned in the early 14th century, and local mythology may explain why.
According to legend, Dong Lakhon used to be the residence of the Khmer Queen.
It was a private place and there were tall trees surrounding the Queen’s palace. If outsiders entered, they could not find the way out and got lost.
On Buddhist holy days, the sound of a four-stringed lute can be heard playing in the area that was a palace, which scared people away.
So it became known as ‘Dong Lakhon’, a corruption of the Thai word for traditional dance music.
Largest Plant Market
An interesting stop on the way to Nakhon Nayok, or on the way back, is the Ornamental Plants and Floral Centre.
This is the largest wholesale plant and flower market in the country, where a huge number of nurseries can be found selling a mind blowing number of varieties.
Apart from being pretty and fascinating, you can buy a modest amount at cheap prices.
You can find it at Klong 15 on Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok Road (Highway 305), just after crossing into Nakhon Nayok province from Pathumthani province.
Sweet Plum Festival
A delightful fruit almost unique to Nakhon Nayok is celebrated each year with its very own festival.
The Ma-prang and Nakhon Nayok Products Fair is held February-April in front of the Sala Klang (City Hall) in the town center.
Nakhon Nayok ma-prangs, or sweet plum mangoes, are grown almost exclusively within the province and are highly prized for their delicious taste.
The fair includes a traditional procession of all the local agricultural products, some contests to find the best products, beauty pageants, and student shows.
Local people set up stalls close to the Sala Klang selling both Ma-prang and their own local produce.