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Samut Songkhram Province

Samut Songkhram (สมุทรสงคราม) is one of the central provinces (changwat) of Thailand.

Neighboring provinces are (from the south clockwise) Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi and Samut Sakhon. Local people call Samut Songkhram Mae Klong. The province is the smallest of all Thai provinces areawise. Chang and Eng Bunker, the famous Siamese twins were born here.

Etymology

The word Samut originates from the Sanskrit word Smudra meaning ocean, and the word Songkhram from Sanskrit Sangrama meaning war. Hence the name of the province literally means War Ocean.

Geography

Samut Songkhram is located at the mouth of the Mae Klong river to the Gulf of Thailand. With several canals (khlong) the water of the river is spread through the province for irrigation. At the coast are many lakes for producing sea salt. The sandbar Don Hoi Lot at the mouth of the river is famous for its endemic shell population of Solen regularis.

History

In the Ayutthaya period the area of Samut Songkhram was known as Suan Nok (Thai สวนนอก, Outer garden) and was administrated by Ratchaburi. During the reign of King Taksin it was made a province. It was the birth place of Queen Amarindra of King Rama I, who also initiated the name Suan Nok. The birth place of King Rama II in Amphawa district is now a Memorial Park.

Symbols

The provincial seal shows a drum swimming on a river. The Thai word for drum is klong, thus refers to the Mae Klong river, as well as the old name of the province, Mae Klong. On both sides of the river coconut trees are displayed as one of the main product of the province. Provincial tree is Casuarina equisetifolia.

The provincial slogan is City of Hoi Lot, Top Lychee, King Rama II Memorial Park, the Mae Klong River, and Luangpho Ban Laem.

Administrative divisions

The province is subdivided into 3 districts (Amphoe). The districts are further subdivided into 38 communes (tambon) and 284 villages (muban). There is one town (thesaban mueang) and three townships (thesaban tambon).

  1. Mueang Samut Songkhram
  2. Bang Khonthi
  3. Amphawa

 

Tourism

Sights

Don Hoi Lot: is a bar on the mouth of the Mae Klong River. It was formed by the sedimentation of sandy soil called by villagers here as ‘Sai Khi Pet.’ In the area of the bar, there are many shellfish, such as Hoi Lot (razor clam), Hoi Lai (undulated surf clam), Hoi Puk (Ridged Venus clam), Hoi Pak Pet (tongue shell), Hoi Khraeng (cockle), etc.

Wat Satthatham or Wat Mon The ordination hall is made of golden teak with mother-of-pearl-inlaid walls both inside and outside. Housed inside the ordination hall are Buddha images: Luangpho Ban Laem, Luangpu Thuat Yiap Nam Thale Chuet, and Luangpho Phuttha Sothon.

Wat Khao Yi San The Wihan on the hilltop is a boat-shaped hall where the four Buddha’s footprints are enshrined. The Phra Non Cave has a reclining Buddha image with nine toes. At the lower part lies the sacred shrine of Luangpho Pu Si Racha which is respected by the villagers.

Ban Khao Yi San Museum The museum presents the stories of the community which are important and worth a study. On the ground floor, there are displays of folk wisdom, life and culture, tools for making herbal medicine, and household utensils.

Wat Ban Laem or Wat Phet Samut Worawihan Inside the temple compound, there is a Sangha museum with displays of Buddha images, amulets of different periods, ancient artefacts, blue-and-white porcelain, and a pulpit of the Ayutthaya period.

Chang-Eng Siamese Twins Memorial and Boat Museum The statues were built in memory of Chang-Eng, the Siamese twins who made Thailand famous around the world. Chang-Eng were joined to each other at the chest. However, both of them could live a normal life to the age of 63.

Talat Nam Tha Kha This floating market still remains the villagers’ way of life in nature. The villagers here do farming and grow various plants. They usually paddle a boat to bring their produce to sell to each other.

Wat Chula Mani This ancient temple sits on the bank where the Amphawa Canal connects with the Phi Lok Canal. The back of the temple was initially the residence of Khun Nak (Queen Ammarinthramat of King Rama I) and Khun Bunrot (Queen Si Suriyenthramat of King Rama II).

Wat Bang Kaphom The old Wihan (image hall) is very interesting. In the centre of the hall, a large replica of four superimposing Buddha’s footprints in different sizes is enshrined. The footprint at the deepest level which is made from mother-of-pearl-inlaid wood still retains its beautiful design.

Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram It is a temple associated with the royal lineage of Bang Chang. The back of this temple was once a residence of Luang Yokkrabat (King Rama I) and Khun Nak (Queen Ammarinthramat of King Rama I). The Ubosot (ordination hall) and permanent structures within the temple are mostly formed in the early Rattanakosin style of art and architecture.

King Rama II Memorial Park is the project to honour King Rama II by the King Rama II Memorial Foundation. The area is important since it was a birthplace of King Rama II. Within the King Rama II Memorial Park, there is King Rama II Museum comprised of four Thai-styled buildings separated into sections.

Ban Phaya So: So’ or a fiddle is a local musical instrument of the Central Region. Ban Phaya So is a house of the alto fiddle (So U) maker who combines the art of traditional Thai music with carving. Nowadays, this art is rarely seen.

Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong Kudi Thong or a golden- teak monk’s cell has an unusual story that the father of Khun Nak (Queen Ammarinthramat) had her fortune examined by the abbot of Wat Bang Li. The abbot foretold that the daughter would become a queen. The millionaire father, therefore, promised to build a Kudi Thong for the temple if the abbot’s words proved true.

Ban Dontri or House of Music A school building is used for instructing traditional Thai music. The Samut Songkhram Primary School Office has envisioned that the cultural value of folk wisdom should be preserved and inherited to the next generation for their pride in the future.

Wat Bang Khae Yai The large Ubosot (ordination hall) is more than 150 years old. At the front, the square Chedi (pagoda) with twelve indented corners is the art of the Ayutthaya period. The laterite principal Buddha image in the ordination hall is in the posture of Subduing Mara.

Ban Maeo Thai Boran is a house where species of genuine Siamese cats have been conserved. It also gives information on genuine features of Siamese cats, supports research, exchanges knowledge and views between members, and exchanges research experiences and breeding with relevant bodies.

Wat Bang Khae Noi The most interesting thing is the ordination hall’s inside walls which are woodcarvings depicting the Lord Buddha’s history, birth, enlightenment, and nirvana, as well as stories of the Lord Buddha’s Ten Incarnations or Jatakas.

Wat Intharam is There are many interesting points within the temple compound. Luangpho To, the Buddha image here is over 300 years old. The Ubosot (ordination hall), which was built from marble, has teak doors and window panels carved with proverbs.

Church of the Virgin Mary or Atsana Wihan Maephra Bangkoet This is a sacred place of worship of the Christians living in the area. It is a building of the French Gothic architectural style and coated with pounded lime. The interior is decorated with coloured stained glass.

Wat Charoen Sukharam Worawihan Within the temple, there is the Ubosot (ordination hall) built in a unique style with its ceiling curved like a boat’s roof. The hall houses Luangpho To, a Buddha image of the Sukhothai period.

Bang Kung Camp Within the camp compound, there is the Ubosot (ordination hall) commonly called as ‘Bot Luangpho Dam’. The hall is wholly covered by four species of ficus plants: Pho (Bodhi), Sai, Krai, and Krang. Therefore, it is also called ‘Bot Prok Pho’ (ordination hall covered by Bodhi trees). The monument of King Taksin the Great is in the nearby area.

Wat Bang Kung Within the temple, there is an old ordination hall which houses a large sculptured Buddha image commonly called by villagers as Luangpho Bot Noi. Mural paintings from the late Ayutthaya period depict Lord Buddha while he was sitting in the niche and preaching, flanked by the disciples in paying respect to him.

Activities

Cruise the Mae Klong River:. Among the houses are rarely-seen traditional ones called Ruean Panya or hip-roof houses. Furthermore, there are riverside temples, such as Wat Amphawan, Wat Bang Khae Yai, Wat Bang Khae Noi, Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong, etc.

Sino Phattra Boat House is situated at 24 Mu 6 on the Samut Songkhram – Bang Nok Khwaek Road, Tambon Bang Khonthi, Amphoe Bang Khonthi. The boat which was once used for carrying rice will cruise the Mae Klong River, past the Bang Kung Camp, the King Rama II Memorial Park, and Wat Bang Khae Yai.

Culture

Festivals

Fair in Honour of King Rama II: To be held in early February at the King Rama II Memorial Park in Amphoe Amphawa. There are performances, a demonstration of traditional Thai desserts, folk plays, outdoor classical Thai masked dance.

Lychee Fair: To be held from around the end of March to the early of April in Amphoe Amphawa (subject to the produce of each year).

Luangpho Ban Laem Fair: To be held between 13-19 April every year at Wat Phetsamut Worawihan in Amphoe Mueang Samut Songkhram.

Sunset at Don Hoi Lot Fair and Board Sliding Competition: To be held in May at Don Hoi Lot in Chuchi village, Mu 4, Tambon Bang Chakreng, Amphoe Mueang Samut Songkhram.

Khao Yai Pomelo Fair: To be held at the end of August every year.

Annual Long Boat Race: To be held on Loi Krathong Day at Wat Rat Peng in Amphoe Mueang Samut Songkhram.

Mackerel Eating and Mae Klong Famous Products Festival: To be held in front of City Hall in December.

External links

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