Places of Interest outside Bangkok City
Nonthaburi is a pleasant riverside town a short distance north of Bangkok. Though accessible by road, the city can also be reached by riverboat along the Chao Phraya River. A full-day tour by riverboat to Nonthaburi and the surrounding area offers an excellent opportunity to escape the chaos and pollution of the capital. The slow-paced journey takes you through durian plantations and past riverside houses to the tiny island of Ko Kret, home to a community of pottery craftsmen.
The Royal Barge Museum in Bangkok contains a fascinating collection of some of Thailand’s most flamboyant regal boats. While perhaps a little ostentatious, you certainly cannot deny the superb craftsmanship these vessels display, many of which carry ferocious figureheads of mystical creatures on their brows. The royal barges seen here are replicas of some that had been built two hundred years ago and whose history dates back as far as the Ayutthayan period.
Nakhon Pathom is thought to be the oldest city in Thailand and only an hour drive west of Bangkok. The highlight is the Phra Pathom Chedi which rises majestically over the surrounding countryside. It’s the tallest Buddhist monument in the world and houses several large and small Buddha images. It’s one of the most important places of pilgrimages in Thailand. Not far from town is Sanam Chan Palace, famous for its unusual mix of architectural design styles.
The Rose Garden Country Resort is a well-manicured and lush tropical garden near the town of Nakhon Pathom along route four. It’s where you’ll find not only roses and orchids but also accommodation, restaurants, tennis courts, a golf court, a kids playground and an artificial lake for a leisurely paddleboat ride. There are also traditional Thai cultural shows where actors perform all sorts of folk dancing.
Samut Prakan is a bustling fishing town only a half-hour drive south of Bangkok at the estuary to the Chao Phraya River. There are lots of things to do and see here such as a visit to Thailand’s largest crocodile farm and zoo as well as a trip to the Ancient City of Muang Boran, Thailand’s largest outdoor cultural theme park and museum. The meditation temple Wat Asokaram is another magnificent site to visit as is the famous Wat Phra Chedi built in the middle of the river.