Cloaked under a rural facade, the second largest city of Thailand is hugely underrated and often overlooked for its glitzy and vibrant counterpart - Bangkok. This hidden gem is located on the fertile banks of Chao Phraya River and serves as the perfect getaway from the chaos of city life. With historical landmarks, beautiful temples, a famous pottery village, and a vibrant culture, this Bangkok-adjacent city still remains largely undiscovered and hints at untold tales and unexpected adventures. Learn more about the best things to do in Nonthaburi:
1. Wat Sangkhathan
The stunning Buddhist temple is an iconic structure made entirely of wood and considered an architectural wonder. Though still not on the tourist radar, it’s also a meditation center, sought out by many travelers who flock to this retreat in search of inner peace. Located close to the Chao Phraya River, the huge temple grounds include perfectly landscaped gardens and massive pillars with intricate carvings depicting some of the popular religions and countries of the world. If you look closely, some of the work also illustrates the carver’s sense of humor. But the highlight of this place is the glass-walled Ordination Hall, with big, colorful murals, which houses the venerable father - Luang Por.
Address: Wat Sangkhathan Alley, Tambon Bang Phai, Amphoe Mueang Nonthaburi, Chang Wat Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand
Opening Hours: 8 am - 5 pm
Access: a short drive from Nonthaburi Pier
Contact: +66 090500052
Near by Food: Krua Navee Restaurant, Baan Khaomok Kai Te Wet, Nanglen Pub & Restaurant
Website: Wat Sangkhathan
2. Nonthaburi Market
If you want to eat like a local, this would be your best bet, but the early morning market closes by 9 am, so you need to make a really early start to sample the goods, although sometimes the vendors are still around till late morning. Smoky grills, dried chilies, and exotic fruits will assail your senses the moment you step into this rather atmospheric market. Browse through the booths and try the different varieties of food and ingredients, all of which are fresh and delicious. Located close to the Nonthaburi Pier, this is one of Thailand’s most busy and vibrant markets run by the locals, that is well worth a morning of your holiday schedule.
Address: Chang Wat Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand
Opening Hours: usually 6 am - 9 am
Duration: around 1 hour required
Access: 2 min walk from the pier
3. Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat
A beautiful royal monastery located on the west banks of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat is yet another picturesque location and a prime tourist attraction. The temple showcases a lovely blend of Thai and Chinese architecture, evident from the structure’s chapel or ‘Ubosot’. With white pagodas, gold leaf designs, floral carvings, mirror floors, and a string of colorful murals dotting the walls, this glorious dedication to King Rama III is a work of art steeped in rich culture and traditions. The temple is right next to a beautiful, serene garden overlooking the river, which reverberates with the monks’ chanting every evening.
Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat
Address: Soi Soi Chaloem Phra Kiat 15, Bang Si Mueang, Muang Nonthaburi, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand
Opening Hours: 8 am - 5 pm
Duration: 1-2 hours required
Access: around 40 min drive from Chae Hom district
Contact: +66 32471005
Near by Food: Siam 77 Home & Restaurant, Kai Yang Korat
4. Fantasia Lagoon Water Park
Located on the terrace of The Mall Bangkae, this water park is a better and bigger version of Bangkok’s Dream World or Siam Park. The recently refurbished man-made lagoon is strangely unknown to tourists, but a big favorite with the locals who flock to this place for a perfect family day. With several zones to accommodate children of all ages - Fantasy Fountain, Slider Tower, Pirate Cove, Mystery Island, Magic Jungle, and more - Fantasia Lagoon promises a day full of fun, laughter, and splashes. Apart from the water rides, there are some ‘dry’ entertainment zones as well, featuring magic shows, balloon shows, and all sorts of fun games, alongside a food court that has plenty of options to keep the tiny tots well fed and happy.
Fantasia Lagoon Water Park
Address: L6, the Mall Ngamwongwan, 30/39-50 Moo 2 Ngamwongwan Road, Bang Khen, 11000 Nonthaburi, Thailand
Price: from 3 USD
Opening Hours: 10.30 am - 8.30 pm Mon-Fri | 10 am - 8.30 pm Sat-Sun
Duration: around 2 hours required
Access: 25-30 min drive from Talat Phlu or Wongwian Yai BTS stations
Contact: +66 24871000
5. Day trip to Koh Kret
The man-made island to the north of Bangkok is home to age-old temples, busy weekend markets and, more importantly, the Mon tribe known for their famous pottery skills. The island has a 5 km (3 mile) long track that can be easily covered on foot, but the smarter and more fun way of exploring would be to hire a bicycle for 1.2 USD and ride around the charming village. While Wat Poramaiyikawas (the largest temple) and Wat Sao Thung Thong are some of the more popular attractions, it’s the weekend bazaar that attracts a lot of attention. Local vendors line the riverside market - flaunting their handmade earthen ware and selling ethnic sweets and dishes, alongside some handy souvenirs and ‘I Love Ko Kret’ tees - thus turning the narrow village lanes into a charming, touristy haunt.
Ko Kret Island
Address: 12 km (7.5 miles) north of central Bangkok
Duration: around 3 hours required
Access: 10 min walk from the main Pak Kret pier
6. Museum of Nonthaburi
Located close to the Nonthaburi Pier, this 100-year-old teak-wood building displays the tangible evidence of a rich historical and cultural background. Recently renovated, the museum is extremely well-organized with illustrations and videos explained in both Thai and English. An educational and enriching experience, a tour of this local sight will provide an insight into the lives of the people of this province, their habits, religious beliefs, and arts and crafts, including the highly skilled and much-famed pottery work.
Museum of Nonthaburi
Address: Nonthaburi City Hall, Nonthaburi Old Town, Tambon Suan Yai, Amphoe Mueang, Nonthaburi, 11000 Thailand
Price: free admission
Opening Hours: 9 am - 5 pm Tue-Fri | 10 am - 6 pm Sat-Sun & public holidays | Closed on Mondays
Duration: around 1 hour required
Access: 100 meters (328 feet) from Nonthaburi Pier
Contact: +66 847752262
7. Kanchanaphisek Park
Spread over 40 acres (16 hectares) of sprawling grounds, the park is right next to the above-mentioned Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat Temple. It was built by the Treasury Department to commemorate King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 50th anniversary, and now the beautifully manicured gardens serve as a public recreational spot. Home to a fine collection of garden plants, water plants and aquatic animals, its highlight is a beautifully adorned walk-through pavilion that is known to have hosted many royal functions. A cluster of traditional Thai houses can be seen at a distance, adding to the park’s scenic charm that is heightened by the peaceful and tranquil environment.
Address: Phra Kiat Rd., Bang Si Mueang, Muang Nonthaburi, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand
Price: free admission
Opening Hours: 6 am - 6 pm
Duration: around 30 min required
Access: 5 min walk from Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat
Live your Thai dream through Nonthaburi
Now a trip to Bangkok would be incomplete without exploring the lanes and by-lanes of the charming province of Nonthaburi. Only a bus/taxi ride away from the capital, this riverside destination lets you soak in the sights and sounds of a typical Thai culture, minus the jostling crowds. With stunning architecture, rich traditions, lush green gardens, unique artwork, colorful markets, and delicious cuisine, the city is fascinating in its own rights and a journey well worth embarking upon.
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