People who want to do something a bit different while on holiday in Thailand can spend the day exploring the large and lovely Buddamonthon Park. This picturesque green zone is located in Tambon Salaya, which is part of Nakhon Pathom Province and is within easy driving distance of Bangkok. The park covers an area of about 1,000 acres and is an important religious site as well as a great place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city for a while.
The park was built by the government in 1957 or B.E 2500 by the Thai calendar, to commemorate the 2500th year of the existence of Buddhism. One of the main focal points in the park is a bronze-gold standing Buddha image, which measures a colossal 15.8 metres in height. The Buddha image was named “Phra Sri Sakkaya Thosapol Yan Phratan Buddhamonthon Suta” by His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej.
Set around the magnificent statue are four commemorative sites that relate to the birth, enlightenment, the first preaching sermon and death of Lord Buddha. There is also a Buddhist museum nearby, meditation halls, a university and a large library. The park is highly revered and this is a popular place for Thai people to visit during religious festivals such as Visaka Bucha Day, Makabuscha Day, Ananhabucha Day and the Loy Krathong festival, when tiny candle-filled vessels are set onto the waterways that run through the park.
In addition to being a sacred site, Buddhamonthon is also a place of stunning natural beauty. Filled with pretty ornamental gardens, bamboo forests and sparkling streams and rivers spanned by stepping stones and cable bridges, this is a great place to go for a walk or meditate in the shade of one of the mighty trees.
Because this is a sacred area, the wildlife in Buddhamonthon is protected and the rivers and streams are teeming with fish. A peaceful way to pass some time is to buy a bag of food from one of the vendors who wander around the park. As soon as the food touches the water the stream comes alive, the fish writhing so closely together that it seems as though the stream were made of fish rather than water. You can buy almost anything to feed the fish with; from pungent fish pellets to brightly coloured corn snacks. Perhaps the easiest fish treat is a huge bag of popcorn, which not only smells better than some of the alternatives but also seems to be very popular with the fish.
Among the other wildlife in the park are turtles, which splash happily in the streams and small canals and you will also see a range of brightly coloured bird in amongst the trees.
It can be quite hot and humid in the park, especially in the bamboo forest. Luckily, there are public showers next to the toilets and this is a great opportunity to cool off before getting the bus back to Bangkok.
Buddhamonthon Park is located around 60 kilometres from Bangkok, which makes this an ideal destination for Bangkok day tours. Admission to the park is free and visitors are permitted to explore wherever they choose. To get to Buddamonthon Park, people who have their own transportation simply need to follow Highway 338, which is also known as the Pinklao-Nakhon Chaisi route. After around thirty kilometres drivers will turn into Buddhamonthon IV Road and continue for a few hundred metres. There is also a direct bus to Buddhamonthon Park from different parts of Bangkok such as Khaosan Road, Ekkamai and Pinklao.
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