Suphan Buri, one of Thailand’s central provinces, is home to one of Thailand’s most striking and fascinating man-made attractions – the beautiful Celestial Dragon Village. A terrific place to learn more about Thai Chinese culture, history, and heritage, it also offers plenty of fabulous things to look at and admire.
Here’s a little of what you can expect at the brilliant Celestial Dragon Village:
An enormous and vibrant statue of a Chinese dragon
Standing proudly at more than 30 metres tall and stretching out for 135 metres, the magnificent dragon is certainly an impressive sight. Seen from all around within the locale, the shining golden scales glint seductively in the sunshine and its masterful tail looks set to swish at any moment. Its head tilted towards the skies and its mouth wide open baring ferocious fang-like teeth, a stream of water flows from the dragon’s strong jaws.
After around ten years of planning and a further 600 days of construction, the mighty and eye-catching dragon was complete. Not just a pretty face, step into the dragon’s belly and you will find a great museum too!
Dragon Descendants Museum – learn as you explore inside the dragon!
Created to celebrate two decades of good diplomatic relations with China, the interesting museum provides a good insight into several thousand years of Chinese history, various powerful dynasties, and the major events that helped to shape the large Asian country into what it is today. With more than 20 rooms that house well-curated and well-researched displays and exhibits, it is impossible to leave feeling that you haven’t learnt something new! There are also several sound and light shows that help to bring the past to life.
Specifically relevant to Thai citizens with Chinese heritage, though also interesting for other guests, the museum also covers the movement of different Chinese groups to many places around the globe and how Chinese immigrants began their lives in new lands.
It is only possible to enjoy the museum as part of a guided tour. Tours last for around an hour and you can buy your tickets in advance from the counter opposite the entrance. The museum is the only part of the entire complex that you need to pay for. The prices are fairly steep, especially considering that a lot of the information is only available in the Thai language. (Surprisingly, there are few Chinese translations provided, and even fewer English translations.) The admission fee for non-Thai visitors is 499 THB (approximately 14 USD) for adults and 299 THB (approximately 8.35 USD) for children.
Don’t be disheartened though by the prices – the site is still well-worth a visit even if you don’t go inside the museum!
Onate and colourful Chinese temple
A dazzling traditional style Chinese temple attracts many tourists and devout followers of the faith. You will notice people praying and making offerings of sweet-smelling incense and flowers as well as performing a variety of rituals. Banging on a large gong is thought to bring good luck and shaking a container of sticks until one falls out is believed to be a divination method of telling the future. Head towards the rear of the temple area and you can see where people have written their hopes and wishes on small blocks of wood, bundled together and hung from the ceiling with bright red string.
There are many awesome statues and paintings depicting figures from Chinese folklore and mythology, as well as a rather gruesome set of beasts with an assortment of weapons and other objects.
Beguiling dragons snake their way around intricately decorated pillars, red lanterns hang from the rafters, attractive calligraphy adorns surfaces, and hues of red and gold are the dominant colours in the rainbow-like and mesmerising details.
Tall octagonal pagoda with more details and excellent views
Behind the main temple area you can climb the spiral staircase of the tall pagoda to look across the whole attractive complex, the large dragon looming over the small shrines and statues. Stop for a breather at the different levels on the way up and you can enjoy even more detailed pictures and statues. The ground floor houses various items of spiritual significance such as a frog with a flat plate in its mouth, poised ready to swallow donations.
Elegant Chinese-style village with shops and eateries aplenty
Take a stroll through the village area and admire the white buildings with their wooden shutters, doors, and roof embellishments. The buildings contain shops and restaurants, perfect for a little retail therapy or a tasty meal. With an assortment of Thai, Chinese, and fusion dishes, you are sure to find something appealing on the menus. Take home a colourful kite, a waving cat, or a hanging paper dragon and have fun browsing the wide selection of goods on offer. Herbal remedies and other traditional Chinese medicines can be found, as well as strong-swelling balms for relieving all manner of aches, pains, and other ailments.
Red lanterns hang outside the doorways and along a central covered walkway and there are numerous other beautiful features, including a waterwheel, a grand entrance arch, and a tree covered with bright pink (plastic) flowers and twinkling lights.
Practical information for a visit to the Celestial Dragon Village
The Celestial Dragon Village is located within the centre of the main provincial town and is just a short tuk tuk ride (or brisk walk) away from the bus station. Regular buses and minivans connect Suphan Buri with Bangkok and other surrounding places.
Whilst all attractions are free to enjoy, with the exception of the Dragon Descendants Museum, small donations are greatly appreciated within the temple – you’ll see many boxes! Remember to dress fairly modestly, with shoulders and knees covered, when wandering around the temple. It is, after all, an active place of worship and of spiritual importance.
A colourful, interesting, and somewhat unusual attraction, don’t miss the brilliant Celestial Dragon Village when travelling around Central Thailand.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.