Super Suphanburi – why is it super? Well, let’s visit and find out!
It’s a lovely province a couple of hours north of Bangkok and is full of history, being founded around the years 877-882. Later it was the home of Prince U Thong, the founder of the Ayudhaya Kingdom.
The main city, also called Suphanburi, sits between the Tha Chin River and Highway 340. At this point the highway is immaculate and eight lanes wide with beautiful floral displays along the central highway divider.
This is where most provincial and city offices can be found, along with museums, art galleries and other institutions.
Most of these public buildings are a wonderful design mix of modern and traditional Thai styles, and well worth seeing.
Getting off the highway into Suphanburi city, you’ll find an atmospheric town with lots of historical sites, traditional wooden shophouses, and markets.
It’s a fascinating place to stroll around and explore the narrow streets and alleyways, but do be careful of the traffic!
In the compact city center the first sight that captures your attention is the 123 meter high Banharn Jomsai Tower, which looms over the surrounding low rise buildings.
The tower is named after a local politician who rose to be Prime Minister, and his family still wield considerable local political influence.
You can visit any one of the 4 viewing levels daily except Monday, to get stunning views across the city and adjacent Chalerm Prakiet Park.
Descendents of the Dragon
Descendents of the Dragon is an amazing local cultural museum, built to commemorate the relationship between Thailand and China.
The museum has various facilities such as an audio visual room, book center, and souvenir shop.
It was designed to present the history of Chinese civilization through the form of a dragon.
The exhibition area has 18 rooms depicting the various stages of Chinese history and development, from ancient times to the present.
Notable ethnic Thai-Chinese are also well represented in his unusual multi-media museum.
It’s worth a visit even if it’s only to say you’ve been in the belly of a Dragon!
Out of Town
Suphanburi province has a lot more to offer, and being fairly large, it would be ideal if you had your own transport to get around.
Here is a prime example of a wonderful location that gets very few foreign visitors, as it’s not easy to get to without a car.
A huge lake is the centerpiece of a 1000 acre place that is hard to define; a park, a wetland preserve, a zoo, a walk through aquarium, crocodile farm, botanical gardens, a resort…
Bung Chawak Resort has a limited number of treehouse bungalows set on the edge of the lake, a great way to relax for a few days and to take your time to enjoy all that Bung Chawak has to offer.
If you’re heading north from Bangkok, then this is the perfect stopover!
Getting there: From Suphanburi city head towards Chainat on Highway 340. Bung Chawak is about 65km along 340 and fairly well signposted. Its close to the small town of Doem Bang Nang Buat. Google maps will be a big help too!
Phu Toei National Park
This little known National Park covers 317 sq km of Dan Chang District.
The highest point in the park is the beautifully
named Khao Thevada (‘Angel Mountain’), at 1,123 meters high.
The lush forests contain a large variety of flora and fauna, including 300 year old Giant Cycad trees.
Phu Toei features thousands of mountain pines, and just look at those views!
There’s several waterfalls, a pretty reservoir, campgrounds and an ethnic minority village.
The park gets few visitors as it’s not well known even to locals. The result is one of Thailand’s last unspoiled wildernesses, so get there while it stays that way!
This famous (at least in Thailand) monument celebrates the victory over invading Burmese forces in 1592.
The epic battle saw King Naresuan the Great engage in elephant-back combat with his Burmese rival, decisively defeating him.
There’s an impressive Chedi which commemorates this important victory which freed Siam (as Thailand was known then) from Burmese occupation. It’s 66 meters high and 36 meters wide.
Nearby is a big statue of the King on his war elephant, and the battlefield which is an archeological site.
This fascinating monument is at Don Chedi subdistrict, on Highway 322, about 31 km from Suphanburi city.
Wat Phai Rong Wua
Wat Phai Rong Wua is famous for it’s weird and elaborate hell garden presided over by two towering, ulcerated, hungry ghosts.
The hell garden these days is the temple’s main attraction, and its painted figures suffer horrific and graphically displayed punishments for crimes that range from torturing animals to flirting with monks.
The temple has also recreated locations of significance in the Lord Buddha’s life. These include the places where he was born, reached enlightenment, gave his first sermon, and attained nirvana.
Getting there: It’s on Highway 3422, at Tambon Bang Ta Then, Suphanburi.
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