What to see and do in Samut Prakan, Thailand
POSTED BY Adam | June 26, 2014
Label: Bangkok Travel
Samut Prakan (also known as Pak Nam) is a great place to head for a day away from the hustle and bustle of central Bangkok. Located 29 kilometres south of the Thai capital – and very close to Suvarnabhumi Airport which is served by flights from the UK - Samut Prakan is home to some fascinating historical sights and makes for an enthralling day trip away from the well-beaten tourist path.
Found just 35 minutes from the airport, the Erawan Museum is easy to spot. The unmistakable three-headed elephant that towers above the circular base of the museum is around fifteen stories high and can be seen for miles. The elephants took nearly ten years to build and are a representation of ‘Airavata’ – an elephant from Hindu mythology.
It’s not immediately obvious from the outside but much of the museum is housed within the elephants themselves. As impressive as the outside is, it’s nothing compared to the ornate interior. Twin staircases wind upwards towards a beautiful stained glass ceiling which symbolises Earth, with every surface adorned with spectacular examples of fine craftsmanship.
Within the ‘belly’ of the elephant is ‘Tavatimsa Heaven’, which is where sacred beings congregate in Buddhist cosmology. This is home to an array of technicolour abstract art and a collection of Buddha statues. Once your done marvelling at the Erawan Museum’s other antiques and artefacts, be sure to look out over the surroundings from just under the one of the elephants’ trunks; you can spot Bangkok’s distinctive skyscrapers in the distance. Leave some time to stroll through the museum gardens and feed the majestic koi carp. Open 8am-6pm. 300 Baht.
The Ancient City
Like the Erawan Museum, the Ancient City was the brainchild of late millionaire Khun Leck. Leck used the millions earned from Thailand’s Mercedes-Benz operations to create lasting legacies for future generations to enjoy. This 20 acre open air museum covers a range of architectural styles and even features reconstructions of destroyed buildings such as the impressive Sanphet Prasat Palace.
The Ancient City is perfect for tourists using Bangkok as a hub that may not have time to explore more of Thailand; it incorporates architecture inspired by different areas of the country. There are myriad buildings and statues, as well as an enchanting hundred year old market tucked away amongst the verdant landscapes; a world away from the noise of central Bangkok. New Year’s Day is a particularly interesting day to visit with rice offerings, masked dances and a ‘human chess show’! Open 8am-5pm daily. 300 Baht for adults, 200 Baht for kids.
Crocodile Farm and Zoo
Samut Prakan is also home to the world’s largest Crocodile Farm. Home to over 60,000 crocodiles, the farm puts on daily shows where the staff risk life and limb by wrestling the crocs barehanded. The adjacent zoo houses various species of animals and gives visitors the chance to ride on elephants.
There’s even a dinosaur museum on the premises with features life-size models of more than 13 kinds of dinosaurs. It’s not quite the Natural History Museum, but it's certainly worth a visit.
Open 7am-6pm daily. 300 Baht.
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