Just 65 kilometers outside Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom is only an hour’s drive away, but seems like a different world compared to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. For a holidaymaker or a Bangkok resident who doesn’t own a car, getting to Nakhon Pathom is as easy as hiring a car or taking a taxi, and well worth doing as there are so many must see and do things when you get there.
Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo – One cool must do thing in Nakhon Pathom Province is to go to the Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo on Petkasem Road, which offers one of the most stunning elephant shows and crocodile wrestling shows I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing for the kids especially as they’ll get to see an elephant round-up, a guy wrestling a crocodile (and not getting eaten in the process), old Thai royal battle scenes fought from the backs of elephants, and a magic show.
All the shows are only in the afternoons, but you can also ride the elephants, feed huge cat fish, have photos taken with the tigers and so much more. At only 500 baht entrance fee (around $14) and 300 baht ($9) for the kids, you get a ton of fun entertainment for the price.
The Rose Garden – One of the prettiest places in Nakhon Pathom is the famous Rose Garden. Huge gardens full of roses and other flowers, and a large area with animal shows, elephant rides, monkeys and little places to shop, make this a really fun place for the whole family. There are also several big restaurants that serve an incredible all-you-can eat buffet. If you take a tour with a local travel operator, all of these things will be included in the price and it’s almost a full day’s entertainment.
Especially fun is the Thai cultural show that goes on for almost an hour and shows you just about everything you ever need to know about Thai culture.
Jesada Technik Museum – An interesting, if a bit old-fashioned, museum, here you can see a collection of cars, trucks, motorbikes, humvees, tanks and more. They even have a few retro bubble cars and some old military helicopters. I especially liked the old planes, because so much of Thai technology and recent history is still less advanced than the West, so seeing this you feel like you’re almost in another era.
Thai Human Imagery Museum – The Human Imagery Museum is a bit like Madame Tussauds in London as it has numerous displays of life size wax and fiberglass figures. Most of them are past Kings and royal figures of Thailand (the figures of the Kings are really beautiful and so intricately designed), famous Buddhist monks, as well as many scenes from typical Thai life. There’s even an exhibit on slavery in Thailand.
You’ll especially love the wax figures of Thai children in traditional costume playing old world Thai games. At 200 baht (about $6) for foreigners (110 baht, $3 if you live in Thailand and can show your work permit), it’s well worth the admittance fee.
Don Whai Riverside Market – This market near Wat Rai Khing, looks like a traditional market from over 100 years during King Rama VI’s reign, one of Thailand’s most famous kings. It’s a large covered market that sells many traditional Thai foods, desserts, toys, plants and clothes with things you won’t find in Bangkok and at cheap prices. Open from 7am to 6pm every day.
For a small province, Nakhon Pathom really does have many fun must see and do things. These are just a few of them. Taking a day trip, or even a few days, to explore Nakhon Pathom province will give you an even better idea of real Thai life and Thai culture you won’t see so easily in Bangkok or other tourist areas.