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  1. #1
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    sabang's Avatar
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    Chachoengsao, Wat Sothorn & river cruise

    I doubt Chachoengsao is on the average tourist map, although it is a pleasantly located, sizable town on the Bang Pakong River and canals, about 80km from Bangkok. What brought my party there was a devout Buddhist friend, who wanted to make tambon at Wat Sothorn- this Wat, it seems, is some sort of Lourdes/Mecca type pilgrimage for the Buddhist faithful. People come to ask for luck in all guises, and we are talking Buddhism as big business here.

    How big? Well, according to Mrs sabang at auspicious times of the year, Wat Sothorn can take over 100mm bht per day in donations. This is a rich Wat. But you wouldn't guess that based on first impressions :-






    Kinda looks like a train station! But here in the entrance vestibule, you burn some incense, stick it below those industrial exhaust fans above- and make your most cherished wish. I made mine too, and promised the wife that if it comes true I'll return to offer thanks- and no doubt check out a bit more of Chachoengsao. We'll see.

    After this, you head into an adjoining room with some cherished Buddha images, stick some of that gold leaf stuff onto a Buddha of your choice (in my case, the easiest one to get at through the milling crowd) and repeat your wish, as earnestly as possible.



    And for the extra devout, for the appropriate donation, these dancers will do a dance for you, to please the Buddha. Of course, our devout friend donated appropriately, 490 bht- why not 500bht, this ain't Walmart Or is it . A 'small' dance is 240bht.



    I'm afraid your humble correspondent was walking around the more glamorous parts of Wat Sothorn, and missed the dance- but they look nice enough even in repose.

    You often see these spherical concrete bollocks in Wats- does anyone know their significance? -



    Well thats the Buddhist business attended to, now lets take a look around the nicer parts of Wat Sothorn. Followed by a river cruise and some groovy Chinese markets.
    probes Aliens

  2. #2
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    my daughter likes the dancers

  3. #3
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    Thai Pom's Avatar
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    the amount of money that place makes is unbelievable

  4. #4
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    Wat Sothornwararamworaviharn or Wat Hong is the oldest temple in Chachoengsao. It was build in late Krung Sri Ayudhaya time. There is the famous Buddha in this temple, "Luang Por Sothorn". This Buddha was the symbol of Chachoengsao.

    Clearly then, this is not the old part of the Wat- but it does house the revered Buddha image-



    The river cruise is put on by the Wat, and on this we were told that the building was made from Italian marble, has an impressive amount of gold, and that spire or ubosoth, is probably the largest of any Buddhist temple in the world.









    ^ Notice the Chinese temple? Chachoengsao has a sizable Chinese population, so the Wat has it's own colourful Chinese temple-






    ^ This quite reminds me of a big Christian cathedral actually. Maybe the architects were Italian too.

  5. #5
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    sabang's Avatar
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    Inside the Wat is very nice too.






    The big Buddha is the revered Luang Por Sothorn, which legend trells us floated down the Bangkapi River to the Wat-



    The chap in black is farang, and devout- to the left of this shot is an elderly monk, and when we left he was sitting there at his knees engaging in earnest conversation-



    We too kneeled before the image, then left with some Holy Water-


  6. #6
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    sabang's Avatar
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    Lunch

    There was time for lunch before taking a river cruise, and mrs asked around and was recommended this Thai Chinese place, only about 1km from the Wat. It was not yet midday, so the place was pretty empty-



    The location and view decent-



    And the food very nice indeed, compliments to the Chef



    The name of the place is Ruoy Rim Nam (or close). Good tucker! If you're around, ask a local and check it out if you're hungry. The bill for four came to slightly over 1000bht. Seen from the river-


  7. #7
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    Bangkapong river cruise

    For a quite reasonable 100 bht, the Wat puts on a river cruise which takes you down to the Ban Mai Chinese markets, gives you around 45 minutes to wander around, then back to the Wat. About two hours in all, complete with a tour guide chattering away in Thai- the boats leave hourly on weekends, two hourly during the week. Bring your own booze though- they don't sell it on a Buddhist boat.

    All aboard-



    The Wat donated 200mm bht towards the construction of this hospital-



    Canals and Chinese shrines-






    Thai tattiness-





    And someone really should do this place up, it could be a beauty-


  8. #8
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    Ban Mai markets

    These were pretty cool- lots of wood, some nice old curiosity shops, like a slice of old China right here in Thailand.





















    Last edited by sabang; 07-02-2009 at 12:48 PM.

  9. #9
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    Theres more, over a canal bridge which is also being used to sun dry Chinese cabbage, for pickling-


















    We had a beer here, apparently a restaurant at night-






    There are a few restaurants in the market that cook with wood, and are popular with locals. H'mm, Thailand + wooden markets + cooking with wood = Firetrap.
    But I'm sure the food is good.

  10. #10
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    Back on to the boat-



    And you get a decent view of Wat Sothorn on the way back.



    So theres a bit more to do in Chachoeng than be a Buddhist pilgrim, we all quite enjoyed our day actually- and it's not far from Bangkok or Pattaya. Apparently theres a Dolphinarium there too, where you can watch volunteer dolphins play with balls and that sort of stuff.
    I'll leave you with another shot of that nice spire -


  11. #11
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    I have always thought a river cruise from Pattaya to Chachoengsao would be interesting , there would not be that much open water to traverse between chonburi and pattaya.

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    Thanks for that, Sabang. You never know what is really on your doorstep, do you. Certainly seems a place to be visited. I do enjoy looking at those old wooden Thai structures, when properly built(!) You showed a really good one, riverside, with gthe bamboo fencing.

  13. #13
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    Went to Chachoengsao many years ago, not that I wanted to go there but I thought it was the train to go to Trat. Ended in this town and then the train had no other connection to nowhere than Bangkok.

    I rented a bungalow and out in the city, not bad, just thailand. I spent the next day visiting the famous temple and then took a bus to go to Trat and Koh Chang.

    I know there are many nice places to visit near Chachoengsao, not on the tourist map. And the people there are nice.

  14. #14
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    Can you give me some idea of Chachoengsao location - please?

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by baldrick
    I have always thought a river cruise from Pattaya to Chachoengsao would be interesting , there would not be that much open water to traverse between chonburi and pattaya.
    Apparently there was a ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin for a short while, but it didn't last long. Having just driven down that way and back, I think it would be a great idea.

    Maybe a shuttle service might be viable, Pattaya, Bang saen, Chachoengsao, Hua Hin? But theres always harebrained schemes around here- apart from Asia's tallest residential tower, theres even talk of a bridge or causeway across the gulf, to shorten the distance considerably between the Eastern Seaboard and the South.

    Quote Originally Posted by BarnacleBill
    You never know what is really on your doorstep, do you
    There is a substantial domestic travel market in Thailand, that does not go to the same places as the foreign tourist market. Apart from Buddhist destinations like Wat Sothorn theres also places like Loei province, Doi Angkhang, even Prachuab Kirikhan that overwhelmingly attract local rather than foreign tourists. Generally much better value too.

  17. #17
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    Good photos

    Great town to live in


    never went to the temple though,

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    There was time for lunch before taking a river cruise, and mrs asked around and was recommended this Thai Chinese place, only about 1km from the Wat. It was not yet midday, so the place was pretty empty-
    friend place

    Just over the road from my old house.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsquirrel
    never went to the temple though,
    That is amazing!! Did you have a Thai partner at the time?

  20. #20
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    You'd make a lovely tour guide Sabang

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsquirrel
    Good photos
    Cheers! Just a humble Samsung- I just point n shoot, then maybe do an autocorrect in MS picture editor.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrsquirrel
    Great town to live in never went to the temple though,
    Amazing how many londoners haven't been to the Tower of london either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin
    You'd make a lovely tour guide Sabang
    Thanks- I presume you're not referring to my beauty though. Actually I reckon I've done more tour guiding in Thailand in the last year than some Tour Guides.
    Last edited by sabang; 08-02-2009 at 12:32 PM.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the guide Sabang, and the location. Funily enough, I found it almost as soon as I had posted my request! Fortunately I have a very good (Thai) step-son who is only too willing to take me around the Thai sites, but we are running out of ideas and this is a good one for him. We live just north of the old airport

  23. #23
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    As you come into Chacheonsao there is a tall temple that you can see. Near BIG -C not Wat Sathorn a lot smaller. Rather than turning right for Wat Sathorn you would go striaght on for a few hundred meters.

    Interesting place - almost cylindrical, and it has statues of people repenting sins. Worth a look.

    There is another older temple right near the center ofthe town that is quite nice to have a look at as well.

    There is also a nice park thing all landscaped with fish to feed. Fish feeding food ladies turn up around 3pm or so.

  24. #24
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    [quote=BarnacleBill;949537]Can you give me some idea of Chachoengsao location?

    we live just South of the Districe at 44km BangaTrad road,its 40 mins by Motorbike on country roads, to the North East,
    been there many times to the Temple, on the River theres an old Fort with Canons! directly behind is a Remand centre or Goal, a lot of history in a small area Im sure.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    There was time for lunch before taking a river cruise, and mrs asked around and was recommended this Thai Chinese place, only about 1km from the Wat. It was not yet midday, so the place was pretty empty-



    The location and view decent-



    And the food very nice indeed, compliments to the Chef



    The name of the place is Ruoy Rim Nam (or close). Good tucker! If you're around, ask a local and check it out if you're hungry. The bill for four came to slightly over 1000bht. Seen from the river-
    Hey the fried fish is really good any idea what the name of the dish is?Cos i tried to order it once from a different place and ended up with a stinking boiled fish

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