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Welcome to Marches Travel Log Page for Monday, 30th January 2012

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Chachoengsao and Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan

Up the Junction……... Chachoengsao (Paet Rio) is situated 75 kilometres east of Bangkok on the Bang Pakong River. It has an old history dating back to the reign of King Borommatrailokkanat in the Ayutthaya period. Most of the people have settled by the river and along canals. Today I am enticed by its importance as a railway junction. It is a thoroughfare for freight traffic from the deep-water port of Leam Chabang to the container facility at Lat Krabang which serves the capital. It also connects to the Northeastern Line at Kaeng Khoi. A passenger service connects Hua Lamphong in Bangkok to Prachin Buri, Kabin Buri and beyond to the Cambodian border at Aranyaprathet. I’m am arriving at Chachoengsao via an unorthodox route connecting by van at Minburi to Lat Krabang (Techno) where I board an eastbound train near the huge industrial complex. The journey, a little over 30 minutes, is a mere 7 baht (free for Thai people). Arriving at Chachoengsao Railway Station I spend a while recording the activity there. My attention is diverted for a while as I converse in English for a change with a Buddhist monk. It seems we have something in common; maybe an open mind to the world due to our travels.
Luangpho Phuttha Sothon…….. Wat Sothon (Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan) is reputed to be the largest Wat (temple) in the world. I take a yellow songtheaw outside the station (8 baht). This heads towards the city (left) and takes a right towards the Bang Pakong River. Even without prior research the temple it is unmistakable. Known as the marble temple it is easy to see why. Even the floors are magnificently decorated with marble fish. The legend of Luang Por Sothorn can be read on the information board in my picture gallery. What I glean from the Pra Buddha Sothorn image matches that from other sites recording the great lengths that locals went to protect their heritage from the Burmese invaders (1765-1767). I pay my respects and head for the adjacent Chinese temple at an appropriate time in the year. From the perimeter there is a magnificent view of the Bang Pakong River. Presently there is no access due to construction work presumably to build a promenade along the river bank reminiscent of Nong Khai or Vientiane.
Food and transport…….. I am not aware of any food specialty in Chachoengsao but across the road from the temple is a markets area. I am just in time to try their ‘hoy tod’, fried shellfish in batter served on a bed of bean sprouts. I am amazed by the colour and size of this fare unlike anything I’ve tried in Bangkok or elsewhere but given the market’s location perhaps it’s not too surprising. You should also try the specialty iced tea or coffee. I head back to the train station to continue my observations then make the short trip to the bus terminal. Regular air conditioned bus 54 connects to Bangkok’s northern bus terminal at Morchit Mai. Other routes are available, by minivan also, including the 549 service to Suvarnabhumi airport. Overall Chachoengsao has excellent transport links. That’s it for today: I am well pleased with this tour for around $10.
Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan
(1) Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan
Wat Sothorn Legend
(2) Wat Sothorn Legend
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Email: marchespast@yahoo.co.uk