Samut Songkhram

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Samut Songkhram
สมุทรสงคราม
Province
Official seal of Samut Songkhram
Seal
Nickname(s): Mae Klong
Map of Thailand highlighting Samut Songkhram Province
Map of Thailand highlighting Samut Songkhram Province
Country  Thailand
Capital Samut Songkhram town
Government
 • Governor Praphat Bunyindi (since 2008)
Area
 • Total 416.7 km2 (160.9 sq mi)
Area rank Ranked 76th
Population (2011)
 • Total 194,086
 • Rank Ranked 75th
 • Density 470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
 • Density rank Ranked 5th
Time zone ICT (UTC+7)
ISO 3166 code TH-75

Samut Songkhram (Thai: สมุทรสงคราม (Pronunciation)) is one of the central provinces (changwat) of Thailand.

Neighboring provinces are (from the south clockwise) Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi, and Samut Sakhon. Local people call Samut Songkhram Mae Klong. The province is the smallest in area of all Thai provinces. Chang and Eng Bunker, the famous Siamese twins were born here.

Etymology[edit]

The word "samut" originates from the Sanskrit word "smudra" meaning "ocean", and the word "songkhram" from the Sanskrit "sangrama" meaning "war". Hence the name of the province literally means "war ocean".

Geography[edit]

Samut Songkhram is at the mouth of the Mae Klong River to the Gulf of Thailand. By means of canals (khlong) the water of the river is spread through the province for irrigation. At the coast are many evaporation ponds for producing sea salt. The sandbar Don Hoi Lot at the mouth of the river is known for its endemic shell population of Solen regularis.

History[edit]

In the Ayutthaya period the area of Samut Songkhram was known as Suan Nok (Thai สวนนอก, "outer garden") and was administrated by Ratchaburi. During the reign of King Taksin it became a province. It was the birthplace of Queen Amarindra of King Rama I, who also initiated the name Suan Nok. The birthplace of King Rama II in Amphawa district is now a memorial park.

Symbols[edit]

The provincial seal shows a drum over a river. The Thai word for drum is "klong", thus referromg to the Mae Klong River, as well as to the old name of the province, Mae Klong. On both sides of the river coconut trees are displayed as they are one of the main products of the province.

Provincial tree is Casuarina equisetifolia.

The provincial slogan is City of Hoi Lot, top lychee, King Rama II Memorial Park, the Mae Klong River, and Luangpho Ban Laem.

Administrative divisions[edit]

The province is subdivided into 3 districts (amphoe). The districts are further subdivided into 38 communes (tambon) and 284 villages (muban). There is one town (thesaban mueang) and three townships (thesaban tambon).

  1. Mueang Samut Songkhram
  2. Bang Khonthi
  3. Amphawa
 Map of Amphoe

Tourism[edit]

Sights[edit]

Talat Nam Amphawa
Don Hoi Lot
A sandbank on the mouth of the Mae Klong River. It was formed by the sedimentation of sandy soil which the villagers here call "sai khi pet". In the area of the sandbank there are many shellfish such as hoi lot (razor clam), hoi lai (undulated surf clam), hoi puk (ridged Venus clam), hoi pak pet (tongue shell), hoi khraeng (cockle) and many more.
Wat Satthatham (Wat Morn)
The ordination hall is made of golden teak with mother-of-pearl-inlay walls, both inside and outside. Housed inside the ordination hall are Buddha images: Luangpho Ban Laem, Luangpu Thuat Yiap Nam Thale Chuet, and Luangpho Phuttha Sothon.
Wat Khao Yi San
The viharn on the hilltop is a boat-shaped hall where four Buddha footprints are enshrined. The Phra Non Cave has a reclining Buddha image with nine toes. At the lower part lies the sacred shrine of Luangpho Pu Si Racha which is respected by the villagers.
Ban Khao Yi San Museum
The museum presents the stories of the community which are important and worth a study. On the ground floor, there are displays of folk wisdom, life and culture, tools for making herbal medicine, and household utensils.
Wat Ban Laem or Wat Phet Samut Worawihan
Inside the temple compound, there is a Sangha museum with displays of Buddha images, amulets of different periods, ancient artefacts, blue-and-white porcelain, and a pulpit of the Ayutthaya period.
Chang-Eng Siamese Twins Memorial and Boat Museum
The statues were built in memory of Chang and Eng, the Siamese twins who made Thailand famous around the world. Chang and Eng were joined to each other at the chest until their deaths at the age of 63.
Talat Nam Tha Kha
This floating market still is part of the villagers' way of life. The villagers here farm. They bring their produce here by boat for sale.
Wat Chula Mani
This ancient temple sits on the bank where the Amphawa Canal connects with the Phi Lok Canal. The back of the temple was initially the residence of Khun Nak (Queen Ammarinthramat, consort of King Rama I) and Khun Bunrot (Queen Si Suriyenthramat, consort of King Rama II).
Wat Bang Kaphom
In the centre of old wihan (image hall), a large replica of four superimposed Buddha footprints in different sizes is enshrined. The footprint at the deepest level, which is made from mother-of-pearl inlaid wood, still retains its beautiful design.
Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram
A temple associated with the royal lineage of Bang Chang. The back of this temple was once a residence of Luang Yokkrabat (King Rama I) and Khun Nak (Queen Ammarinthramat, consort of King Rama I). The ubosoth (ordination hall) and permanent structures within the temple were mostly formed in the early Rattanakosin style.
King Rama II Memorial Park
is the project to honour King Rama II by the King Rama II Memorial Foundation. The area is important since it was a birthplace of King Rama II. Within the King Rama II Memorial Park, is the King Rama II Museum, comprising four Thai-styled buildings separated into sections.
Ban Phaya So
"So" (a type of fiddle) is a local musical instrument of the central Thai region. Ban Phaya So is the house of the alto fiddle (So U) maker who combines the art of traditional Thai music with carving. Nowadays, this art is rarely seen.
Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong
the Kudi Thong, a "golden- teak monk's cell", has an unusual history where the father of Khun Nak (Queen Ammarinthramat) had her fortune examined by the abbot of Wat Bang Li. The abbot foretold that the daughter would become a queen. The wealthy father promised to build a Kudi Thong for the temple if the abbot's words proved true.
Ban Dontri or House of Music
A school building used for traditional Thai music instruction.
Wat Bang Khae Yai
The large ubosot (ordination hall) is more than 150 years old. At the front, the square chedi (pagoda) with twelve indented corners is in the style of the Ayutthaya period. The laterite principal Buddha image in the ordination hall is in the posture of Subduing Mara.
Ban Maeo Thai Boran
is a house where the species of genuine Siamese cats have been conserved. It also gives information on genuine features of Siamese cats, supports research, exchanges knowledge and views between members, and exchanges research and breeding with relevant bodies.
Wat Bang Khae Noi
The most interesting item is the ordination hall's interior walls which are woodcarvings depicting Buddha's history, birth, enlightenment, and nirvana, as well as stories of Buddha’s Ten Incarnations or Jatakas.
Wat Intharam
Luangpho To, the Buddha image here, is over 300 years old. The ubosoth, which was built from marble, has teak doors and window panels carved with proverbs.
Church of the Virgin Mary or Atsana Wihan Maephra Bangkoet
This is a place of worship for the Christians living in the area. It is a building in French Gothic style, coated with pounded lime. The interior is decorated with coloured stained glass.
Wat Charoen Sukharam Worawihan
Within the temple, there is the ubosoth built in a unique style with its ceiling curved like a boat's roof. The hall houses Luangpho To, a Buddha image of the Sukhothai period.
Bang Kung Camp
Within the camp compound, there is the ubosoth commonly called "Bot Luangpho Dam". The hall is wholly covered by four species of ficus plants: Pho (Bodhi), Sai, Krai, and Krang. Therefore, it is also called "Bot Prok Pho" (ordination hall covered by Bodhi trees). The monument of King Taksin the Great is in the vicinity.
Wat Bang Kung
Within the temple, there is an old ordination hall which houses a large sculptured Buddha image commonly called by villagers, Luangpho Bot Noi. Murals from the late-Ayutthaya period depict Buddha sitting in the niche and preaching, flanked by the disciples paying respect to him.

Activities[edit]

Cruising the Mae Klong River
. Among the houses are rarely seen traditional ones called Ruean Panya or hip-roof houses. Furthermore, there are riverside temples, such as Wat Amphawan, Wat Bang Khae Yai, Wat Bang Khae Noi, Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong, etc.
Sino Phattra Boat House
is situated at 24 Mu 6 on the Samut Songkhram – Bang Nok Khwaek Road, Tambon Bang Khonthi, Amphoe Bang Khonthi. The boat which was once used for carrying rice will cruise the Mae Klong River, past the Bang Kung Camp, the King Rama II Memorial Park, and Wat Bang Khae Yai.

Culture[edit]

Festivals[edit]

The Fair in Honour of King Rama II is held in early-February at King Rama II Memorial Park in Amphoe Amphawa. There are performances, displays of traditional Thai desserts, folk plays, outdoor classical Thai masked dance.

The Lychee Fair is held from around the end of March until early April in Amphoe Amphawa (subject to the harvest).

The Luangpho Ban Laem Fair is held between 13–19 April at Wat Phetsamut Worawihan in Amphoe Mueang Samut Songkhram.

The Sunset at Don Hoi Lot Fair and Board Sliding Competition is held in May at Don Hoi Lot in Chuchi village, Mu 4, Tambon Bang Chakreng, Amphoe Mueang Samut Songkhram.

The Khao Yai Pomelo Fair is held yearly at the end of August.

The Annual Long Boat Race is held on Loy Krathong Day at Wat Rat Peng in Amphoe Mueang Samut Songkhram.

The Mackerel Eating and Mae Klong Famous Products Festival is held in front of city hall in December.

External links[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Mae Klong River, Samut Songkhram 
A train on the Maeklong Railway passing through the market in Samut Songkhram. 
Samut Songkhram football field 

Coordinates: 13°24′35″N 100°00′06″E / 13.40972°N 100.00167°E / 13.40972; 100.00167