The highlight of any trip to Chachoengsao, particularly for Thai people, is Wat Sothon Wararam Woraviharn [PHOTOS] in the city. The chapel is the largest of its kind in Thailand and it houses the sacred Phra Buddha Sothorn statue. Nearby you can watch traditional dancing for free at a shrine. Whenever Thai people want some good luck, they pay for these dancers to perform for the deities. On a previous trip to this temple, I went on a boat tour that started at the pier behind the main building. This went to an old riverside market. There is no admission fee.
Our second stop was the World Sand Sculpture [PHOTOS] which was only 800 meters away. This was first opened about 6 years ago and it was the first of its kind at the time. The exhibit contains many sand sculptures of various sizes that were built by both Thai and foreign artisans. Over 15,000 tonnes of sand was used to make the exhibit and it took them over one year to complete it. Unfortunately, they don’t last forever, and so they have to re-do every 3-4 years. They are open daily from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Admission is 100 Baht for adults and 60 Baht for children.
Our next stop was to Wat Saman Rattanaram [PHOTOS] where you can see a giant Reclining Ganesha. This is said to be the biggest in Thailand if not the world. It is 16 meters high and 22 meters long. Ganesha is a Hindu deity and has an elephant head and four arms. There are thirty two popular iconographic forms of Ganesha and all of them can be seen around the base of this Reclining Ganesha. At the same temple there is also a floating market which has plenty of stalls selling a variety of food. You can also join boat tours. There is no admission fee.
About 20 kilometers away from the main city in Chachoengsao is the Parrot and Palm Garden [PHOTOS]. In Thai this is called Suan Palm Farm Nok. The center houses many breeds of parrots as well as other animals such as geese, swans, ducks, goats and deers. Another main feature are the many palm trees. The gardens are spread over a large area and so it makes sense to hire a bicycle for 50 Baht per hour or a golf cart for 300 Baht per hour. Admission price is 100 Baht for adults and 50 Baht for children. If you are there at the right time you can help feed the birds and other animals.
The second Ganesh image we saw today was the Giant Standing Ganesh in Na Muang sub-district. At 39 meters high, this is supposed to be the tallest of its kind in Thailand if not the world. It’s made from bronze and took a year to make. The park surrounding the giant statue isn’t finished yet and they expect it will take another two years to complete. It’s in the middle of nowhere among rice fields and alongside the Bang Pakong River. There is no admission fee.
Our final stop in Chachoengsao was at Wat Paknam Jolo [PHOTOS]. This is famous for the beautiful golden chapel alongside the river. This is believed to be the only tempe in Thailand that they have painted gold. When you arrive at the temple is advisable to walk around the golden chapel first as there is so much to see and take in. Don’t forget to go inside as it is just as beautiful on the inside. Something else worth seeing at the temple is an old boat that dates back to the Taksin era.
There are many buses that run all day from Bangkok to Chachoengsao from the Northern Bus Terminal. You can also go by train. However, the quickest and most convenient way is by passenger van from Victory Monument. Public transport may be good for the main attractions, but places like the Parrot and Palm Garden and the Standing Ganesh can only be visited by you own transport. You may want to consider hiring a Bangkok taxi for the day. Click here for a Google Map of Chachoengsao.