Step Off The Tourist Trail And Discover Thailand’s Singburi

Step Off The Tourist Trail And Discover Thailand’s Singburi
Sarah J
Sarah J 

Singburi is a fairly small province in Central Thailand and, as is common with most Thai provinces, the main provincial town shares the same name as the province.

You may see the province’s name also written as two separate words, Sing Buri, and various spellings have been spotted on the side of buses, such as Singbure, and Singburie. Taken from Sanskrit, the name means Lion City. Often referred to as the spiritual heartland of Thailand and the Land of Heroes, it has also been voted by Thai people as the happiest province in which to live … for several years, not just the one!

Easy to reach by bus and minivan from Bangkok and other nearby places, such as Ayutthaya, Lopburi, Ang Thong, and Chai Nat, Singburi sees very few independent tourists. There are, however, plenty of sights to keep you busy and engaged for at least a few days. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Admire an enormous Buddha statue at Wat Phikun Thong

step off the tourist trail and discover thailand’s singburi | admire an enormous buddha statue at wat phikun thong

Famous for its huge seated Buddha, the golden statue is also Thailand’s biggest Buddha image in this particular pose. Sitting cross-legged with one hand resting in the lap and the other over the knee, it is a position of giving a blessing. With a height of 42 metres (137.8 feet), you can see the large statue from fairly far away.

The grounds contain a number of other Buddha statues in various postures, and there is a colourful shrine to the Hindu deity of Ganesha close by. Buy a bag of fish food for around 20 THB (approximately 0.60 USD) and watch a multitude of gaping mouths suddenly appear at the surface of the large pond. Feeding the fish is said to bring good luck and fortunes too!

There are several interesting halls and buildings, their golden roofs glinting in the sunshine. One in particular is well-worth a peek; inside, you’ll find images depicting Buddhist heaven and, arguably more intriguing, Buddhist hell.

There is no admission charge for Wat Phikun Thong, although donations are gratefully received.

Be impressed by a long reclining Buddha statue at Wat Phra Non Chakkrasi Worawihan

step off the tourist trail and discover thailand’s singburi | be impressed by a long reclining buddha statue at wat phra non chakkrasi worawihan

Wat Phra Non Chakkrasi Worawihan is also sometimes spelt as Wat Phra Non Jaksi / Chaksi Worawihan, or shortened to Wat Phra Non Jaksi / Chaksi / Chakkrasi, although many locals refer to it simply as Wat Phra Non. They’re all one and the same place.

A historic royal temple, it is known for its large reclining Buddha statue. Stretching for almost 50 metres (164 feet), it is a very impressive sight. It is difficult to take photos of the entire statue, but the beatific face certainly makes for some great shots.

The main hall contains a number of other smaller statues of the Lord Buddha, as well as display cases containing religious and historical objects. The collection of ceramics is particularly expansive. In front of the main hall is a model of a traditional Thai wooden boat.

It is common to see and hear saffron-clad monks chanting in the Theravada Buddhist language of Pali, and the area is also home to many food stalls and some buffalo enclosures. A small gift shop within the temple sells an array of amulets and other spiritual items.

Admission to Wat Phra Non Chakkrasi Worawihan is free, although it is common for people to put a donation in one of the collection boxes.

Visit many other interesting temples

step off the tourist trail and discover thailand’s singburi | visit many other interesting temples

Given the province’s moniker of Thailand’s spiritual heartland, it will come as no surprise to learn that Singburi has several interesting and historical temples. Some are still active places of worship, whilst others are remnants from mighty past kingdoms, such as the Kingdom of Sukhothai and the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, and today stand in ruins.

Wat Prachotikaram is home to two large Buddha statues. Standing with one arm outstretched and the palm raised, this particular pose is to encourage relatives not to fight. Wat Champa Thong features a wooden royal boat, Wat Muang boasts lovely murals and pieces of ornate pottery at the top of the walls, and the pale-coloured square building of Wat Kudi Thong is said to contain sacred relics underneath the shiny golden roof.

If you love atmospheric ruins, Wat Na Phrathat, Wat Phra Prang, and Wat Kradangnga Buppharam will certainly appeal.

Appreciate shadow puppetry at the Nang Yai Museum

step off the tourist trail and discover thailand’s singburi | appreciate shadow puppetry at the nang yai museum

Within the grounds of Wat Sawang Arom you will find a small but interesting museum dedicated to the traditional art form of shadow puppetry. There are several hundred intricate shadow puppets on display at the Nang Yai Museum, many made from tough buffalo hide. Rather obscurely, the museum also has a random collection of dusty seashells tucked away at one end. There are no costs to enjoy the museum, although, as with many free attractions, small donations are much-appreciated.

Peer into the past at the Maenam Noi Kilns

peer into the past at the maenam noi kilns

An important centre of pottery production in the past, the ancient kilns at the Maenam Noi Kiln Site formed the country’s biggest such site during the powerful Ayutthaya Kingdom (1370s to 1760s).

Archaeological excavations have found that the area previously had more than 200 kilns. Whilst very few remain today, you can still get an idea of the area’s previous importance as you peer into the dark depths of two kiln remains. Just a short stroll from the main museum you can see other ruined kilns, protected from the elements by simple shelters.

A replica kiln has been constructed, helping you to visualise the kilns at the height of their activity, and you can also see a few remnants of pottery that were found in the area. Why not pick up a pot, designed like those from many years ago, from the small onsite gift shop?

Like many of Singburi’s attractions, there is no fee to visit the Maenam Noi Kilns.

Taste the famous local food of pla chon Mae La

taste the famous local food of pla chon mae la

Whilst Singburi has several local foods, including the Chinese cake of khanom pia and a type of sausage called kun chiang, pla chon Mae La is usually considered the most famous provincial dish. A striped snakehead fish, it is found in one of Singburi’s rivers - Mae La.

Confession time – I don’t actually eat fish! It is, however, incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike, said to have a very delightful flavour and a crumbly texture. It is usually served with an assortment of sauces for dipping and a selection of fresh green vegetables.

Some of the best places for sampling pla chon Mae La are in the village of Mae La within Singburi’s district of Bang Rachan. Baan Suan Café is especially recommended. Even if you’re not having the fish, the restaurant serves really tasty meals and offers scenic views over the neighbouring rice fields.

You may have noticed many large fish statues around Singburi, and along the stretch of highway that runs through the province. These are to celebrate the province’s delicious fish!

Other terrific things to enjoy in Singburi

Inburi National Museum is a great place to see items of historical interest that have been discovered around the province. Other displays include exhibits related to agriculture and fishing, numerous Buddha statues, religious memorabilia, and things related to Thai life and folklore through the ages. Unfortunately, there is little information in English, so you’ll just have to make do with looking at the diverse collections. Admission for non-Thai visitors is 50 THB (approximately 1.40 USD).

See how Singburi got its nickname of the Land of Heroes with a trip to the Heroes of (Khai) Bang Rachan Monument. Surrounded by pretty gardens, a gleaming black monument pays respects to a band of fearless local men, known today as the Bang Rachan Heroes. The heroes put up a strong resistance to Burmese invasions during the Ayutthaya period; despite being severely outnumbered, the brave men were attacked eight times before they were finally defeated.

The city pillar shrine is colourful and ornate, and an adjacent shelter contains statues of famous local monks. Singburi City Hall is an attractive European-style building, and if you’re feeling all hot and bothered after your fabulous days of sightseeing, you can cool down in one of the town’s two lovely public swimming pools.

There really are many reasons to add Singburi to your Central Thailand travel plans!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Originally from the UK, Sarah has been mostly based in her second home of Thailand for the past five years. As well as exploring new places, learning about different cultures, and sampling lots of...Read more

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