Just a hundred kilometres away from Bangkok, Suphanburi is an ancient town rich in natural and historical heritage. The province was once an important border town involving battles and important wars during the period of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Artefacts and archaeological evidence shows that Suphanburi is history dates back to 3,500-3,800 years ago. Archaeologists found artefacts from the New Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age.
Suphanburi's politics have long been dominated by the rich building contractor Banharn Silpa-archa (1932–2016). He held different ministerial posts (including transport and communication) and even served as prime minister from 1995 to 1996 (drawing international ridicule when he addressed the Queen of England as "Queen Elizabeth Taylor"). He redirected considerable amounts of state funding into the infrastructure of his home provinces hence its roads and telecommunicazion networks are much better than in most Thai provinces. Several public institutions in the province are named in honour of Banharn and his wife Jamsai, leading to jokes that the whole city was "owned" by Banharn or might be renamed "Banharn-buri".
Within an hour of Bangkok, Suphanburi is accessible via many routes:
- Via Bang Bua Thong of Nonthaburi Province, tourists can drive directly to the province, a distance of 107 km, which is the shortest route.
- Via Lat Lum Kaeo of Pathum Thani Province, the route leads to Suphanburi, a distance of about 115 km.
- Via Ayutthaya to Suphanburi, the route is 132 km.
- Via Singburi Province, Suphanburi is accessible at Doem Bang Nang Buat. The route is 228 km.
- Via Ang Thong Province, the road leads to Suphanburi, a distance of 150 km.
- Via Kamphaeng Saen of Nakhon Pathom Province, Suphanburi is 164 km from Bangkok via this route.
Scheduled buses and air conditioned coaches leave the Northern Bus Terminal at Mo Chit 2 daily for Suphanburi. Contact the Transport Co. Ltd. Tel. +66 2 9362852-66 ext. 311 or 442 for more information. Buses to Suphanburi also leave from the Southern Bus Terminal, on Boromma Ratchachonnani Rd. Check the bus schedule at Tel. +66 2 4351199, Dan Chang Tour Co. Ltd., Tel. +66 2 4352727, Tha Chang Tour Co. Ltd., Tel. +66 2 4357502. and air conditioned coach at Tel.+66 2 8849522.
A train leaves Bangkok Station daily for Suphanburi at 16:40 and reaches the province at 19:32. On the return trip, the train leaves at 05:00 and arrives at Bangkok at 08:10. For more details, call the service centre at Tel. 1690, 0 2220 4334 or visit the website .
You can use many public transportations in Suphanburi such as a motorbike, a tuk-tuk, a songtaew, a bus or a van. In the city, tuk-tuk, songtaew or bus can be used for traveling around the city of Suphanburi. At the same time, you can use a songtaew, a bus or a van for going to other districts.
- Banharn-Jamsai Tower (หอคอยบรรหาร-แจ่มใส) This country’s first and highest viewpoint tower overlooking Chaloem Phatthara Rachini Park allows to enjoy a bird’s eye view over the province at a height of 123.25 metres. The tower has four viewpoint decks.
- Chaloem Phatthara Rachini Park (สวนเฉลิมภัทรราชินี) The park houses many spots of interest; namely, Ex-Prime Minister Banharn’s performance building, water park, Thai design garden, pigeon garden, flower garden, child playground, dancing fountain and an exercise area.
- Ban Yamaratcho (บ้านยะมะรัชโช): This group of traditional Thai houses on stilts was honoured and awarded for good urban architecture conservation. The house once belonged to Chaophraya Yommarat (Pan Sukhum), the regent of King Rama VIII.
- Ancient Town Walls and Gate (กำแพงเมืองเก่าและประตูเมือง): An earth wall and moat remain between Wat Pa Lelai and the City Pillar Shrine. The wall on the eastern side has all disappeared as it was dismantled during the reign of King Maha Chakkraphat. The Fine Arts Department rebuilt the town gate, on Malai Maen Road, on the location believed to have been the site of an old gate.
- Bueng Chawak Chalerm Phra Kiate is a zoo and an aquarium on the shore of the Chawak Lake. There are lots of different types of animals and aquatic animals. If you visit there, you need to walk through the tunnel under the water like you walk under the ocean. Bueng Chawak is opened during 08:00 am – 4:30 pm on Monday – Friday and 08:00 – 18:00 on Saturday – Sunday.
- National Museum, Suphan Buri (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ สุพรรณบุรี): Exhibitions feature development of the town from the pre-historical, through Dvaravati, Lop Buri, Ayutthaya, and Rattanakosin periods. The museum also displays ethnic groups in the province, noteworthy persons, famous votire tablets from different temples and songs of different famous folk singers.
- National Museum of Thai Rice Farmers (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ ชาวนาไทย) On Phra Phanwasa Rd, in the compound of Mueang Suphan Buri District Office, the museum building is a blend of a traditional Thai house and farmer’s granary.
Temples and shrines
- Wat Pa Lelai Woraviharn (Pa Lelai Woraviharn Temple) is the most important temple in Suphanburi. This Buddhist temple is located in the center of this province. There is the great golden Buddha image “Luang Pho To”. Don’t miss this temple! Sam Chuk Market is the 100-year-old classic market. There are traditional desserts, food and cheap souvenirs. This place shows the traditional life style here.
- Wat Suwannaphum (Wat Klang or Wat Mai) (วัดสุวรรณภูมิ) In the temple’s compound, the Museum of the Supreme Patriarch (Pun Punnasiri Mahathera) displays many special items of antiquity as well as a glazed ceramic alms bowl of the Sukhothai period or around the 13th century. It is the only one of its kind in Thailand.
Wat Phra Rup (วัดพระรูป) The ancient temple houses a reclining Buddha statue, which is said to have the most beautiful face in Thailand. Another interesting antique is a wooden Buddha footprint. Delicately carved on both sides of Paduak wood, it is the only one of its kind in Thailand. Wat Phra Rup is also the original place of the famous Phra Khun Phaen amulet.
Wat Pratu San (วัดประตูสาร): Beautiful murals in the Phra Ubosot are worth a visit. In 1848, a royal painter painted the delicate murals featuring the life of the Lord Buddha. Besides, a series of painting on wood pieces, which seem to copy the murals, are well kept in the temple’s image hall.
San Chao Pho Lak Mueang (ศาลเจ้าพ่อหลักเมือง): The shrine was rebuilt as an edifice in Chinese style, housing a Mahayana Buddhist bas relief of Bodhisattra Avalokitesvara. On the full moon day of the 7th Chinese lunar month, the shrine with support from Chinese Association, hosts an alms-offering ceremony for the poor.
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat (วัดพระศรีรัตนมหาธาตุ): The temple was once in the heart of the ancient town Suphannaphum. The main stupa once housed relics of the Lord Buddha, but it was raided for treasure and neglected in ruins.
Wat Khae (วัดแค): houses a huge tamarind tree, which is around a thousand years old. Nearby the tree is “Khum Khun Phaen”, a traditional Thai house built as part of the literature and historical conservation park. The temple houses special antiques such as Lord Buddha’s footprints called “Phra Phutthabat Si Roi”.
Wat Phra Loi (วัดพระลอย) was built to house a Buddha image that drifted along the river. The white sandstone Buddha image seated under the Naga hood, presumably carved in Lop Buri period, was taken from the water to be enshrined here.
Wat No Phutthangkun or Wat Makham No (วัดหน่อพุทธางกูรหรือวัดมะขามหน่อ) Buddhists flock there for admiring beautiful murals in the old Ubosot. Painted in 1848 during the reign of King Rama III but still remains in excellent condition, the delicate murals feature the story of Lord Buddha’s life.
Wat Phra Non (วัดพระนอน) is famed for its large fish sanctuary that occupies some part of the river as well as beautiful shady park which is the main recreational area of the province. The image hall or Wihan of Wat Phra Non houses a special reclining Buddha image. While most reclining Buddha images lie on one side this Buddha image lies supine.
Wat Phrao (วัดพร้าว) The temple’s Wihan has distinguished architecture in the Burmese style. The hall houses a Buddha footprint. In the backyard is the library for Buddhist scriptures, which is located in the middle of the pond. Large flocks of flying foxes live on the Java plum trees in the backyard of this temple.
Wat Sanam Chai (วัดสนามชัย): The Northern Chronicle says that King Katae assigned his brother to build this temple and to renovate Wat Pa Lelai at the same time. There is a big ruined octagonal pagoda surrounded by a wall with small pagodas at four points of the compass.
Wat Phra That or Wat Phra That Sala Khao (วัดพระธาตุหรือวัดพระธาตุศาลาขาว) Local people call it Wat Phra That Nok because of the stupa which is similar to the one in Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat. With a height of 25 metres, the ruined stupa is a bit smaller with a rounder spire.
Wat Ban Krang (วัดบ้านกร่าง): This temple is famed for sacred votive tablets known as Khun Paen. It is presumed that, this temple was built after the war between King Naresuan and the Burmese troops. At the temple entrance, old-fashioned wooden shop houses reflect the easy lifestyle of the people.
Wat Sam Chuk (วัดสามชุก): The ancient temple houses the Buddha footprint, sandstone Buddha statue from the Ayutthaya period, and a pair of bronze swans.
Wat Lat Sing (วัดลาดสิงห์): The temple houses a 500-year-old Buddha image and three pagodas standing for King Naresuan, King Eka Tossarod, and Phra Suphan kanlaya.
Wat Khao Khuen or Wat Khao Nang Buat (Wat Phra Achan Thammachot) (วัดเขาขึ้น หรือ วัดเขานางบวช) A former monk resident of this temple, Phra Achan Thammachot, played a key role in the ancient war against the Burmese troops. The temple's image hall houses the Lord Buddha’s footprint. And nearby is a pagoda made from a pile of stone slabs.
Wat Hua Khao (วัดหัวเขา): The temple’s entrance is at kilometre 2 or 3, and then 212 steps lead to the temple on the hill. To mark the end of Buddhist Lent, the temple always organise a large merit-making ceremony on the 2nd day of the waning moon of the 11th lunar month.
Wat Doem Bang (วัดเดิมบาง): The temple houses precious wooden pulpit carved delicately in a mixed Thai and Chinese style by a Chinese artisan. The temple also keeps oyster shell alms bowl cover, ceremonial fan and food carrier, which were presents from King Rama V. There is also a beautiful bell tower and murals in the Ubosot here.
Wat Khwang Weluwan (วัดขวางเวฬุวัน): The temple houses a 400-year-old Buddha image from the Dvaravati period.
Wat Khao Phra Si Sanphetchayaram or Wat Khao Phra (วัดเขาพระศรีสรรเพชญาราม หรือ วัดเขาพระ): It is presumed that this hilltop temple was founded since the Dvaravati period as a lot of archaeological evidence has been found. On the hill, a ruin of a pagoda from the Ayutthaya period is found together with the Buddha’s footprint carved from stone.
Lauda Shrine (ศาลเลาด้า): It was built to commemorate the 223 passengers of Lauda Air Flight 004 who died when the plane crashed on 26 May 1991.
Well-known products from Suphanburi Province include bamboo and rattan basketry. Suphanburi artisans show their talents by putting patterns of bullet wood flowers, plumeria blossom and Suphan Buri's durian thorn in the basket. Suphanburi is famous for local chiffon soft cake Sali Suphan, canned water chestnuts, canned bamboo shoots, termite mushroom, honey roasted duck, baked chicken, small-scale croaker, sun dried fish and sun-dried beef.
Salee Ekachai is the most popular store where every tourist buys souvenirs. There are lots of desserts, especially salee, to be souvenirs. This store is opened daily during 07:30–21:00. You can pay by using cash, Visa, MasterCard or JCB.
- Mind Hotel (From the bus station: walk out of the bus station, turn left, along this road, after the first intersection, you can see the hotel sign). Clean rooms with private bathroom, 400 baht for air-con, 250 baht for fan-cooled room. Includes TV, towel, soap and toilet paper. Free coffee and cooled water downstairs. 250-400 baht.