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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Nakhon Pathom and Petchaburi - May 2018

A visit to Cha Am with a few interesting sidelights in Nakhon Pathom and Petchaburi.


Highway PTT at Pak Chong has a new Amazon Café

Nakhon Pathom

On the way we made a stop in Nakhon Pathom as Mam had some work there.

While Mam was working I chanced upon this amazing Chinese foundation (มูลนิธิ เหงียนเต่าตั๊ว-ปุ๋นเท่ากง). It had many interesting rooms in a maze-like structure.




I wandered in here looking for a restroom. I finally found this. It is probably the largest and cleanest restroom I've ever seen.

After Mam finished working we walked to the famous Wat Phra Pathom Chedi. Contrary to popular history that the original Chedi was built three hundred years BCE, it probably dates to about the 7th Century (CE) during the Dvaravati period




Mam kneels before a painting showing how the current Chedi covers more ancient ones. The original Chedi was topped by a Bhuddist style (umbrella) spire. During the Khmer era the Chedi had the shape of a Hindu (Khmer) Prang. When the Chedi was rebuilt in the early 19th Century it was again given a Buddhist style spire.


Reclining Buddha

Shiva riding his bull Nandi (Hindu).


Cha Am


My recurring sunrise theme.

Here we are.

The first morning was extraordinarily clear, so I took a few photos of our favorite views. Burma out there in the distance.

This limestone mountain is where Khao Nang Panthurat Forst Park (see below) is located. The mountain is also home to two cement plants.

This is actually a sunset. Looking north. Kind of rare to have this much color when the sun is way off to the west.

 Yeah, more sunrise umbrellas.

Narrow lane on the way to Wat Sai Yoi. I often cycle in this area. Had to take this detour as the main road was closed due to an ordination party.

Cha Am Little Shop
A great spot for lunch.

Morning coffee at Cha Am Beach

Morning coffee at Ban Chok, Baba Beach Club, Thew Talay Estate


Photo Wall at the Condo

Yes, it's another umbrella sunrise.

Phetchaburi

Mam had some work in Phetchaburi. I went along for the ride. First stop was the Tham Khao Luang (cave) with lots of Buddhist images.

"Don't feed the monkeys in this area"



The light shining down into the cave is beautiful at midday. 



Wat Yai Suwannaram

Next stop was Wat Yai Suwannaram which has beautiful woodwork and other fine craftsmanship. 

This building is a multi-purpose hall built entirely of beautiful teak. It is probably about 300 years old and was originally located in Bangkok.

Beautiful teak woodwork

Jadeite (?) Buddha image.



Beautifully carved preaching throne.

Magnificent painted doors.

This building is the ubosot or ordination hall



The walls are covered with beautiful paintings in need of serious restoration.



Note that the donation box has a QR code so that visitors can make a donation via mobile phone banking.

Inside of the main doors are also beautifully painted.

The library of the wat was built over a pond to make vermin control easier.

Wat Kamphaeng Laeng

This Khmer sanctuary, built entirely of plastered laterite stone, was probably constructed in the 13th century. It may have been as a Buddhist rather than Hindu shrine. It was built during the reign of Khmer King Jayavarman VII who was devoted to Mahayana Buddhism. (The Buddhism practiced in present day Thailand is Theravada.) The sanctuary is in the Bayon (Lopburi) style.





Cycling and Hiking
Khao Nang Panthurat Forest Park

I cycled to Khao Nang Panthurat Forest Park and did the nice hiking trail in the park. The park encompasses part of the limestone karst ridge that runs to the northwest of Cha Am.



Here's a video showing the route

Mam and I rode together to Cha Am Beach for breakfast.

This canal runs into the Cha Am fishing harbor. Khao Nang Panthurat Forest Park is in the limestone mountain in the distance.

Railroad Crossing. This is the main and only line from Bangkok to the South.

Boran Sathan Thung Setthi
This Dvaravati (Mon) chedi was probably built around the 11th century. It is made of mortared brick and was probably covered with decorative stucco.


Yeah, watch out for the Macaque monkeys


The trail begins in this lovely cleared area, goes up the peak on the left, down through the saddle and up the peak on the right and ending back in the clearing.

The sometimes difficult trail through the park is often steep and littered with sharp, broken limestone.

The rock formations are stunning.



About one third through and I'm beat.

Sometimes the trail is easy....

This views are beautiful. This looking northeast toward the ocean.

You can see the ocean in the distance. Looking east.

I saw no monkeys on the trail this time, but a few on the road to the park. A few kilometers away I saw many along the road. See the video below.



Macaque Monkey Video