Another Suggestion For A Day Out
After reading Stickman’s piece about a day trip to Nakhon Pathom, I feel compelled to submit my own piece about another place that I feel is also a very good destination for a day trip. This is Suphan Buri.
A quick check with Mrs Sydney Tom, tells me she has no idea what the name of the city means, but anyway, there you go. Suphan Buri is on Highway 340 about 70 km from the junction with Ring Road 9. If you are coming from the Silom end of town it is easy, go over the Taksin bridge and keep going all the way to the ring-road (about 10 km). You will pass The Mall at Tha Pra on your left and just keep following the signs to Rama 2. Turn right onto Rama 2 and about another 25 km, will bring you to the Highway 340 junction. If you are coming form the other end of town get yourself to Pathum Thani and follow the signs, that will also bring you to Suphan Buri. There are also minibuses and buses as well as the train to bring you here.
One of the outstanding features of Suphan Buri is how well kept the place is. It is very neat and tidy, and even the road in is like a long manicured garden. It is also nice that it is dual lane all the way, so it’s not like one of those horrifying trips to Isaan on Hwy 24, where you may have many hundreds of km with dangerous over-taking. Below is a picture of what you would expect on the highway.
Along the road you will find strange looking red water containers about a metre high. These have freshwater prawns for sale. Not frozen but fresh, swimming around in the tanks. The smaller ones are about 150 Baht a kilo and the big ones are 250 – 300 Baht a kilo.
I quite often like to buy a couple of bottles of beer and get about 1.5 kilos of prawns and Mrs Sydney Tom and I sit down to quite a lavish feast for less than 500 baht. They will cook the prawns.
You know you are in Suphanburi where you see a very big sign that welcomes you. Don’t take the first exit off Highway 340, rather try the second exit. This brings you along to the clock tower and realistically the centre of town. From this point there are many things to look at and do.
The two most outstanding things I think of Suphanburi has to offer, is the park like atmosphere with the “boulevard” style roads and the food.
The food in town is of a consistently high quality. Yes you can get your hamburgers and Pizza, but it is also very nice there is no McDonalds or Pizza Hut franchise. The best pizza and one of the most interesting places to eat in town is the “Thai Pizza House” . To get there if you get to the clock, coming from Bangkok and turn north (Right) at the lights, it’s about 500m on the left. The food is good, but the atmosphere is amazing. The shop owner has a side-line of selling Thai furniture, he seems to collect in his travels, so it is more like having a mean in an eclectic Asian-style antique shop. Although he doesn’t speak much English, the menu has pictures, so you have a good idea of what you are ordering.
The town itself has 2 hotels, I cannot comment on either, I have never stayed there, but what I have seen, they seem to be on a par with the normal “big hotel” you would find in most middle sized to towns.
At the back of Songpan Buri Hotel is one of the nicest places I have ever eaten in Thailand, if you are looking for authentic. All the meals are local style and when they don’t have the ingredients, they will suggest something else and not improvise. Its called the “Good View”, one of the really good views is your glass never gets below half full at any time, unless you are finishing. The food is fantastic. Also what is good, as this is “upcountry”, they think a 20-baht tip is a good tip.
If you arrive for breakfast, one good place is an open air affair in Nang Pim Rd, the same road as the Suphanburi tower. It closes just before lunch, but does a good Thai breakfast. So if you have had a big night and need the extra spicy jungle curry to start you for the next day – here you have it.
Now one of the pride and joys of Suphanburi is the tower.
This is no where as big as Sydney Tower, but it is certainly an interesting place to visit. You can see almost from Auhyttaya to Kanchanaburi. There are interesting things to look at, so bring your binoculars. It is (from memory) about 40 baht to go inside all the way to the top. So Nakhon Pathom has the big temple, but Suphanburi has the tower. I thought it was good fun, and the park is of course beautiful, so try it.
Talking of the park, feast your eyes on this…
This is such a good park, great to grab a feed and sit down and enjoy. This is only one angle, there are many things to look at in the park and some good water features.
Finally, the last thing, yes this is a nice quiet town, and they welcome falang. If someone stops you they actually are interested in where you are from and also want to practice a bit of English. Generally people here have good jobs, the local farms are very productive and as a result, people are highly educated. But you want to know about the bars. Well you would miss them if you didn’t look at the right time. They are next to the T&T office, and are very low-key. Trust me, a girlie drink is ovaltine, and they don’t go with you for you know what. You can sing a song, but that is all there is to the bar scene.
Further out of town to the north there is a big animal park with a good aquarium. It of course showcases a number of Thai fish and has some interesting exhibits. I have been there and I would take a guest there to have a look at. It is also “upcountry” prices, so you aren’t going to have your wallet lightened too much.
To the west there is Don Chedi. Mr and Mrs Sydney Tom were quite interested in what the Chedi and all that looked like so we had a 4 hour “holiday” and discovered that it is a great monument to King Naresuan The Great. Now I was interested in why a King would be known as “The Great” and around this area, King Naresuan has a number of justifiable monuments. Eventually I spoke to a local identity, to find out he led the army to chase out the Burmese. Hold on I thought, didn’t King Rama 1 follow the Auhyattya period ??? mmm ok, some more to tell, but that is what he did. Mrs Sydney Tom, read the lavish praise, all around town. So this king lived in Suphanburi or near Suphan but his favourite sport was cock-fighting. Well A king that likes that, can’t be all that bad. Eventually the story came out, that he chased out the Burmese in the 1500’s and his son(s) established the new (ancient) capital.
So to summarise, it’s a great town to come and spend a day or two, particularly if you want to immerse yourself into some culture and have a break.