Nakhon Sawan - Kao Nor-Kao Kaew, the home for monkeys and the bats
Ayutthaya, Chon Buri and Pattya Nongnooch Park
The trip to the South from Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Ayutthya, Chone Buri and back.
Thailand is full of locations which will keep one occupied for exploration for a long time. We had a five-day road trip to see a few places on the way from North to South of the country.
Our first stop was at the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park. It has an amazing history, situated in the ancient town with the same name at the east bank of river Ping, founded in Sukhathai period during the reign of King Ramkhamphaeng the great, around 11th century AD. The site was protected with a wall 2400 meters in the north and 2160 meters long in the south with a width of 540 meters in the east and 220 meters in the west. Laterite slabs were used to construct the wall which had ten gates and battlemented parapets on top and watchtowers at the four corners. A 30 meters wide moat was flooded with water from the river Ping. Inside and outside the town are a number of big and small ancient monuments in ruins. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Second stop was at Nakhon Sawan. Nakhon Sawan Province was a city since Dvaravati era. A part of the Sukhothai Kingdom, it was called Mueang Phra Bang, the southern frontier city of Sukhothai. Later within the Ayutthaya kingdom it was an important trade center because of its location at the two major rivers from the north. It also was the common meeting point of Burmese troops before moving to attack Ayutthaya. In the reign of King Taksin the Great, Phra Bang became a Siamese military base to prevent further Burmese attacks. (Wikipedia)
Kao Nor-Kao Kaew is at the foothills of limestone mountains, where hundreds of monkeys take food offering from the visitors. In the evenings, millions of bats fly out from the cave of Kao Nor-Kao Kaew in the long black waves, which is amazing. On our way back from south, we were lucky to arrive just in time to watch this remarkable phenomenon.
The Ping and Nan rivers merge near the city of Nakhon Sawan to form the Chao Phraya River. We visited Pasan, designed to symbolise how four of the country’s greatest rivers – the Ping, Wang, Yom, and Nan – merge into Chao Phraya River. “Pasan” comes from the Thai word meaning “to merge”. There is so much to see in Nakhon Sawan, and it deserves a separate visit.
Ayutthaya was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767 centered on the city of Ayutthaya. The Kingdom of Ayutthaya is considered to be the precursor of modern Thailand and its developments are an important part of the history of Thailand. Ayutthaya faced Burmese invasions resulting in the First Fall of Ayutthaya in 1569. In the eighteenth century, however, Ayutthaya succumbed to civil wars and renewed Burmese invasions. Ayutthaya Kingdom ended in 1767 with Burmese invasion and the city of Ayutthaya, after 417 years of existence, was destroyed. The seat of Siamese authority was moved to Thonburi and later to Bangkok. The effect of these invasions has left thousands of ruined monuments all around the city. With a complex and ancient history of the city it is not possible to do full justice in summarising the history of the past of the city. Various sources, including internet, may provide the details to those interested. It is sufficient to say that Ayutthaya enjoyed glorious past as well as turmoil and destruction during the invasions. The ruins, all around the beautiful city, are there to contemplate what the city went through during the past centuries.
Ayutthaya Historical Park covers the ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, Thailand. A part of the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
In Chon Buri, we stayed at the Center for the Promotion of Quality of Life of Royal Thai Navy Officials (Royal Naval Senior Club) in a comfortable and affordable room. Beautiful beach and the inviting swimming pool provided a good relaxation after three days of constant travel. In the evening we visited a local fishing village to buy famous dried squids followed by sea food dinner by the sea shore.
Next day we spent the morning in the Nong Nooch park in Pattaya. Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden is set in a 2.4sq.km. beautifully landscaped park. The entire area is more like a theme park. It is one of the world’s ten largest parks. After a few hours at the park, we returned to Nakhon Swan to arrive in time to see the bats coming out of the caves. We were lucky to arrive just when these bats were leaving the caves for their nightly fruit feeding.
In Thailand, roadsides are often awash in yellow hues between February and May. Many sections of the roads were lined with yellow trumpet trees (Tecoma stans) and many roadside and parks with yellow flowering trees - Dok Koon (Cassia fistula) were a delight to enjoy the rich color.
On the final day before arriving back in Chiang Mai, A short stop at Lampoon market was quite enjoyable to do some shopping of the local produce.