Singburi is a fairly small province in Central Thailand, located 150 kilometres north of Bangkok. Often referred to as Thailand’s spiritual heartland, Singburi doesn’t feature on many travellers’ itineraries. If you do visit this rural province, however, you’ll find a charming town with an authentic vibe and enough to keep you interested for a couple of days at least. Here’s how to spend your time in Singburi.
Wat Pikun Thong
Wat Pikon Thong has a large seated Buddha whose shimmering golden form can be seen from far and wide. The attractive grounds contain many more religious statues, including a large Chinese-style laughing Buddha statue, and a colourful shrine to the Hindu deity Ganesha. Do be sure to see the graphic artwork depicting Buddhist heaven and hell below the main statue. Feed the fish in the large pond for good luck and enjoy the peaceful air.
Wat Phra Non Jaksi
Wat Phra Non Jaksi is home to a large reclining Buddha statue. One of Singburi’s major temples, it’s often a hive of activity with people praying and making merit and monks chanting in the ancient Buddhist language of Pali. There are many spiritual statues throughout the complex’s nooks and crannies, and at weekends several buffalo are brought to enclosures next to the temple for people to appreciate the vital role the hard-working creatures play in Thailand’s agricultural industry.
See how nature has overcome the small brick temple of Wat Sai, with roots pushing up through the floor and branches tangled around the crumbling walls. There’s a Buddha statue inside the temple, along with colourful prayer flags. The riverside setting is serene.
Steeped in local legends, the ancient temple of Wat Prachotikaram has two revered Sukhothai-style Buddha images. Standing with arms outstretched and palms outwards, this particular posture is said to encourage relatives to keep peace with one another. Locals believe that praying at this temple will bring great fortunes their way.
Wat Champa Thong
Wat Champa Thong is a fairly regular temple except for one unusual feature: a large royal boat. The wooden vessel was used on a royal visit to the province and has been preserved here to commemorate Princess Sirindhorn’s trip. The temple sits alongside the river.
Wat Phra Prang
Little remains of the ancient Wat Phra Prang today except for a prang (a corn-shaped pagoda) constructed in the Ayutthaya style. The site is often deserted and it’s very atmospheric. It offers a glimpse into the Thailand of the past.
Mae Nam Noi Kilns
Singburi was once a major pottery producing area, with remnants of pottery made here found in many places across the world. At its peak, the area had hundreds of kilns alongside the Noi River. A handful of sites remain today, with one in particular especially well preserved. Shelters have been constructed around several of the kilns to protect them from the elements. There’s an information centre that tells you more about the area’s past significance; it also houses several examples of pottery made here.
Bang Rachan Heroes Monument
The Bang Rachan Heroes Monument is a statue dedicated to a group of tenacious locals who fearlessly tried to protect their lands from Burmese invaders during the Ayutthaya era. Despite asking for help from the ancient capital, the villagers were left to fend for themselves. They managed to successfully defeat the Burmese eight times over just a few days before the village was finally captured. Their brave acts have led to Singburi being nicknamed the Land of Heroes, and the province is incredibly proud of its history. There are pretty gardens and shrines to each of the heroes, and you can also see a replica of the camp, an ancient well, and old ruins.
Shadow Puppet Museum
Located in the grounds of Wat Sawang Arom, the Shadow Puppet Museum contains a large collection of traditional shadow puppets. Known as nang yai in Thai, the puppets are made from intricately carved buffalo hide. They are well displayed, and there’s also a selection of masks traditionally used in shadow puppet performances.
City Shrine and Famous Monks
Almost every Thai provincial capital has a city shrine to honour and appease local spirits. Locals leave offerings at the shrine to help the province have good luck. Nearby, there’s a row of statues of famous monks from the area.
A fairly large evening market sets up every Wednesday and Saturday evening, selling an assortment of goods. Cheap clothing and footwear, music, accessories, and household goods are among the items to browse, though the food stalls are often the most interesting for tourists. From fresh fruit and many typical Thai meals to fried bugs and grilled frogs, there’s a lot to sample. You’ll also find the snakehead fish of blah chon Mae La, which is a local delicacy.
See a different side to Thailand and add Singburi to your Central Thailand travel list. It’s easy to combine with visits to Ayutthaya, Lopburi, and the biggest Buddha statue in Thailand, located in neighbouring Ang Thong province. You won’t be disappointed!