Of Thailand’s 35,000-plus temples, there are almost 300 that are classified as royal temples of varying grades. Singburi’s Wat Phra Non Chakkrasi Worawihan is a third-grade royal temple. Often known as Wat Phra Non (and sometimes as Wat Phra Non Chaksi / Jaksi), it is one of the province’s major Buddhist places of worship. It is most famous for its large Sukhothai-period reclining Buddha statue, which stretches for almost 50 metres (nearly 165 feet). The temple contains a smaller reclining Buddha image that devotees cover with small slithers of gold leaves to show respect. There are statues of the Lord Buddha in various postures, large statues of famous monks from the area, an old wooden boat, pavilions, shrines, stupas, and flowers to admire too.
Also spelt as Wat Pikulthong, Wat Pikunthong is an attractive temple in the Singburi province. The most noticeable feature, seen from some distance away, is a large golden Buddha statue. At more than 40 metres (about 131 feet) high, it is the largest Buddha statue in this particular posture in Thailand. Climb the steps to the platform at the statue’s base to admire the views of the surrounding area and go underneath the statue to see scenes of Buddhist heaven and hell. There are numerous statues within the complex and a large fish-filled pond with fountains. A vendor sells fish food; feeding the fish is believed to bring good luck. Large statues of the Hindu god of Ganesha and a Chinese-style Buddha can also be found within the temple’s grounds.
Close to the town centre, Wat Sawang Arom’s main draw is a museum dedicated to the art of shadow puppetry. The building contains several hundred shadow puppets, known in Thai as nang yai as well as other items used in cultural performances. Carved from buffalo hides, the detailed puppets show figures and scenes from Thai mythology and history. There are several interesting statues throughout the temple’s grounds too.
Inburi National Museum houses several ancient artefacts, including archaeological finds from the once-thriving Mae Nam Noi kilns and nearby ancient cities. There are also musical instruments and household items from times gone by, pottery from both Thailand and China, religious and spiritual statues and items, agricultural and farming equipment, and folklore displays. The museum can be found within the grounds of Wat Bot, a temple with various statues, buildings, and shrines.
In the past, Burmese forces attempted to capture what was then a fairly small village called Bang Rachan. Scared locals had requested assistance from the capital of Ayutthaya, but reinforcements hadn’t arrived by the time the Burmese troops advanced. Locals took it upon themselves to fortify their village and defend their people and lands with extraordinary tenacity and strength. Although they were eventually defeated, they withheld several attacks, despite being severely outnumbered. The brave people are remembered at Bang Rachan Memorial Park, with a large statue in honour of the leaders. There is a replica of the camp and a museum detailing past events.
Opposite Bang Rachan Memorial Park, Wat Pho Kao Ton, also known locally as Wat Mai Daeng, is a historic temple that dates back to the Ayutthaya era. There’s a large pond with many fish as well as a large gleaming white seated Buddha statue and small ancient ruins. Many redwood trees, believed to be sacred, grow throughout the grounds.
Located alongside the highway, Erawan Thewalai Shrine has a pagoda that houses a large statue of Phra Prom. Phra Phrom is the Thai version of the four-faced Hindu god of Brahma. The four faces symbolise wisdom being obtained from different directions. The multi-limbed statue holds various spiritual items in its several hands. People visit the statue to pay their respects, leave offerings, and wish for good luck.
One of Singburi’s significant historic sites, the remains of the Mae Nam Noi Kilns provide a glimpse into the area’s past as a major production centre of pottery. At one time, more than 200 kilns stretched for around two kilometres alongside the banks of the Mae Nam Noi river. Today, only a few ruins remain, in various states of preservation. One large kiln has been well preserved, with a shelter built around it and a platform that allows visitors to peer down into the kiln. The grounds are well maintained and a small museum contains information about the area’s history.
Also known as Wat Buddha, Chao Mae Kuan-Im Park is dedicated to Kuan Im, the Thai representation of Guan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. A large statue of Kuan Im looks out over the surrounding fields and there is a colourful and decorative Chinese-style pagoda to admire too. Red lanterns, statues of Chinese deities, Chinese scrolls, and flowers all contribute to the site’s appeal.
Wat Amphawan may not be the most beautiful of Singburi’s temples but it is one of the most important today for people wishing to study meditation techniques and learn more about spiritual teachings. The temple runs retreats, though you can also visit for a day. You can release fish, turtles, and eels into the river for good luck and enjoy the peaceful air. Free food is given to members of the local community in need and the temple is also a haven for homeless animals.