told us that on the other side of the river is located Wat Phummarin Kudi Thong
significance related to the Queen of King Rama I.
A millionaire who was the father of Khun Nak, the
future queen, once went to ask the abbot of Bangli
Temple also located next to the river, to foretell
the future of Khun Nak.
As the abbot predicted that Khun Nak would become
a queen, the millionaire was very glad to hear that
and promised that if the prediction came true, he
would build a gold house (Kudi Thong in Thai) in the
The accuracy of the abbot's prediction was finally
proved and the millionaire intended to fulfill his
promise. But it was impossible to erect a building
of gold, so instead, he built one from golden teakwood
(or maisak thong), in which the word thong signifying
gold appears in the name.
As time passed, the
land of Bangli Temple was severely eroded by the river
water, and the bank collapsed. Kudi Thong was thus
dismantled and moved to the compound of the nearby
Wat Phummarin. The temple is now called Wat Phummarin
Kudi Thong. It is a pity that we had no time to visit
the temple as we heard that it had a museum exhibiting
ancient Buddha statues and some properties of King
Rama I and his queen when they were ordinary people.
Mae Phra Bangkoet Church,
the oldest and
the most magnificent church of Thailand
To my surprise, besides several places related to
Buddhism, Samut Songkhram boasts the oldest and the
most magnificent church of Thailand. Mae Phra
was built in the Gothic style
in 1890. There are 14 pieces of stained-glass imported
from Italy decorating the windows around the church
with attractive pictures depicting important scenes
of Jesus Christ's life. It was amazing to find that
they were all still in a good condition despite never
undergoing any repair.
Inset: One of the 14
pieces of attractive
stained-glass decorating the
windows around the church
Several artistically carved statues are inspirational. Wat Bangkung
was our next destination.
What is strange about this old temple is that the
roots of a bo tree have grown around the temple, supporting
it to stand upright. The temple compound was used
as an army camp of King Taksin which in 1768 was under
siege by Burmese soldiers who were later defeated
by the King. Since then the Burmese never attacked
Samut Songkhram again.
The striking sunset
at Don Hoi Lot
Maybe the most renowned place of this province is Don Hoi Lot
, the mud flats at the
Mae Klong estuary 6 km to the south of the provincial
town. Many locals and tourists go there to catch a
kind of shellfish called hoi lot
, which are
plentiful along the coast and are hidden in the mud
when the tide recedes.
Hoi Lot, a kind of
shellfish plentiful along
the coast at the Mae Klong estuary,
regarded as a great delicacy among locals.
The shellfish are considered a delicacy by the locals
and can fetch a good price to add to the income of
poor families. We arrived there in time to witness
the striking sunset at Don Hoi Lot. Many restaurants
sit along the estuary beckoning people to try their
seafood and hoi lot dishes and view the natural scenery.
Surely, we did not miss a delicious meal at Don Hoi
Lot. When the darkness embraced us, it could not overshadow
my memory of the charms of the province.
and shady orchards
We concluded our tour program with a visit to the Monument of the first Siamese twins
Chang and Eng, who were born with bodies joined together
in Samut Songkhram in 1811. They were taken abroad
for exhibitions in 1829, travelled extensively in
Europe and America for 45 years and finally settled
down in the United States and left behind over 1,000
descendants in that country today. It is ironic that
unlike the Siamese twins who exerted their great efforts
to live together successfully, people in our society
struggle to seek for their own benefits from others'
suffering. Our trip was completed but it may just
be the beginning of my exploration of this wonderful