Samut Prakan Province


Samut Prakan Province

Infobox Thai Province
name = Samut Prakan
thai = สมุทรปราการ
capital = Samut Prakan
area = 1,004.1
arearank = 70th
population = 1,126,485
population_as_of = 2007
populationrank = 18th
density = 1122
densityrank = 3rd
governor = Anuwat Methiwibunwut
governor_since = November 2006
isocode = TH-11
map

Samut Prakan ( _th. Audio|Th-Samut Prakan.ogg|สมุทรปราการ) is one of the central provinces ("changwat") of Thailand.

"Marine Battle Fortresses, Chedi in the Water, Crocodile Farm, Exquisite Ancient City, Phra Pradaeng Songkran Festival, Tasty Dried Snakeskin Gourami, Rap Bua Festival, Industrial Estate"

Neighboring provinces are in the west and north Bangkok and Chachoengsao to the east.

Suvarnabhumi Airport (or also called (New) Bangkok International Airport) is located in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan province.

History

The province was created during the Ayutthaya period, with its administrative center located at Prapadaeng. It was the sea port of Siam, and was secured with forts, town moats and town-walls. King Rama II starting the building of the new center at Samut Prakan in 1819, after his predecessor King Taksin had disbanded the town fortification. Altogether six forts were built on both sides of the Chao Phraya river, and on an island in the river the pagoda Phra Samut Chedi was erected. Of the original six forts only two still exist today, Phi Sua Samut and Phra Chulachomklao.

Etymology

In Thai the word "samut" is from Sanskrit, "Samudra" means ocean or sea and "prakan" means fortress.

Geography

Samut Prakan is located at the mouth of the Chao Phraya river to the Gulf of Thailand. Thus the province is also sometimes called "Pak Nam" ("ปากน้ำ"), the Thai word for the mouth of a river. The part of the province located on the western side of the river consist mostly of rice and prawn fields as well as mangrove forests, while the east part is the urban center - including industrial factories. It is part of the Bangkok metropolis, the urbanization on both sides of the provincial boundary is identical. The province has a coastline of approximately 47.2 kilometer.

Places

*Bang Pu Nature Reserve, about 12 km east of the town center, has a big bird population. Especially during the winter the Sakdi pier at Bang Pu is very popular for Thai people feeding the wintering seagulls. The park is run jointly by the Royal Thai Army and the Thai WWF, and was officially established at the 72nd birthday of Queen Sirikit in 2004.
*The HTMS Maeklong, a former Royal Thai Navy ship is moored in concrete at Chulachomklao Fort at the mouth of the Chao Phraya in Amphoe Phra Samut Chedi.
* Two major tourist attractions of the province are located in Amphoe Mueang Samut Prakan, the capital district: Mueang Boran or Ancient City, a park that features downscaled replicas of all major historical buildings of Thailand; and the Crocodile Farm.
*Besides being the home of Suvarnabhumi Airport, Amphoe Bang Phli is famous for the annual Lotus Flower (Rap Bua) festival, which usually takes place on the full moon in October.

ymbols

Administrative divisions

The province is subdivided into 6 districts ("Amphoe"). The districts are further subdivided into 50 subdistricts ("tambon") and 396 villages ("muban"). There are one city ("thesaban nakhon"), three towns ("thesaban mueang") and 13 subdistrict municipalities ("thesaban tambon"). For the national elections the province is divided into 3 voting districts, one eligible for three assemblyman and the other two each for two assemblymen.

Tourism

ights

"Erawan Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ช้างเอราวัณ)": The 3-headed elephant museum was constructed to house Mr. Lek Viriyahbhun's collection of art objects and antiquities and various other cultural heritage items for the benefits of younger generations.

"Naval Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ทหารเรือ)": The museum exhibits historical information on the Royal Thai Navy and major naval battles in 2 buildings.

"Muang Boran or the Ancient City (เมืองโบราณ)": It covers a total area of approximately 800 rai where imitations of major tourist attractions around the country are situated such as Khao Phra Wihan, Prasat Hin Phanom Rung, Wat Mahathat, Phra Phutthabat, Phra That, Phra That Chaiya, etc.

"Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo (ฟาร์มจระเข้และสวนสัตว์)": It was established in 1950 and is at present the world’s largest crocodile farm, where more than 60,000 crocodiles of various sizes are bred.

"Wat Klang Worawihan (วัดกลางวรวิหาร)": It is a second-class royal temple of the late Ayutthaya period. A Mandapa or Mondop was constructed to house ‘Phra Phutthabat Si Roi’ – the Four Buddha’s Footprints – with a gable decorated with stucco reliefs and Bencharong crockery.

"Wat Asokaram (วัดอโศการาม)": As one of the province’s major temples, it has many spots of interest such as Phra Thutangkhachedi (Dhutangachedi) which is a complex of 13 chedis, and Wihan Wisuthithammarangsi, a 3-storeyed building with 4 porches and a superstructure in the form of a Mondop.

"Fort Chulachomklao (ป้อมพระจุลจอมเกล้าหรือป้อมพระจุล)" This is a modern fort that once played a significant role in protecting the sovereignty of the Thai nation in a historic fight in 1893. There are many spots of interest inside the fort complex including:

"King Rama V the Great Monument (พระบรมราชานุสาวรีย์ พระบาทสมเด็จพระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว)": A graceful monument of King Rama V the Great in the uniform of a naval general holding a sword in both hands.

"HMS Mae Klong Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์เรือหลวงแม่กลอง)" The Royal Thai Navy’s warship with the longest service period of 60 years discharged for deterioration by the Ministry of Defence and conserved to be a museum.

"Naval Historical Park (อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์ทหารเรือ)": The exhibition building puts on display photographs of the destruction from fighting and development of the Royal Thai Navy. There is also an open exhibition of naval armaments and munitions.

"Phra Samut Chedi (พระสมุทรเจดีย์)": The chedi was constructed under the royal command of King Rama II. The chedi contains the Buddha’s relic and images of the Buddha Pacifying the Ocean and Phra Chai Wat.

"Bang Namphueng Floating Market (ตลาดน้ำบางน้ำผึ้ง)": The charm of this floating market is the canal side lifestyle of the community whose members are mostly Thai – Mon. Local products and famous food such as fish-scale flowers, herbal joss sticks, Hoi Thot (fried mussel pancake), Khanom Khrok or mortar-toasted pastry, mango, etc. are also offered on sale.

"City Pillar Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อหลักเมือง)": The city pillar holds a distinctive aspect in that it has an image of the God Ganesha on top.

"Phra Suea Mueang Shrine (ศาลพระเสื้อเมือง)": Located at Tambon Talat, the shrine was constructed exactly at the same period as Phra Pradaeng town and is much revered by local people, as well.

"Phlaeng Faifa Fort (ป้อมแผลงไฟฟ้า)": The fort is partly in perfect condition and used to be a fort of Nakhon Khuean Khan, an old town fortified by several forts that was once a naval base on the Chao Phraya River estuary since the reign of King Rama I.

"Wat Phaichayonphonsep Ratchaworawihan (วัดไพชยนต์พลเสพย์ราชวรวิหาร)": The temple contains a magnificent Phra Ubosot and Phra Wihan as well as a principal gilded stucco image of the Buddha Subduing Mara enshrined.

"Wat Prot Ket Chettharam (วัดโปรดเกศเชษฐาราม)": It is the single Thai-Buddhist temple in Phra Pradaeng as other temples within the area are Mon-Buddhist. Wat Prot Ket was built by Phraya Phetphichai (Ket) in the reign of King Rama II into Chinese architecture, without traditional Thai style roof decorations.

"Wat Song Tham Worawihan (วัดทรงธรรมวรวิหาร)": The temple contains a large Mon-style Chedi and a Wihan built of brick and mortar with traditional teak roof decorations housing the Buddha’s footprint.

"Si Nakhon Khuean Khan Public and Botanical Park (สวนสาธารณะและสวนพฤกษชาติศรีนครเขื่อนขันธ์)": It was established as a public park for recreational and exercising purposes as well as for studying the ecological system of the local flora and fauna.

"Hua Chiao Chaloem Phra Kiat Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์หัวเฉียวเฉลิมพระเกียรติ)": It was constructed to provide assistance for fellow men and the university’s philosophy in sustaining arts and culture as well as doing research for the public benefits. The museum exhibits various aspects of the Sino-Thai relationship from past to present.

"Nong Ngu Hao Farm and Tiger Farm (ฟาร์มหนองงูเห่า)": It began operation in 1986 and covers a total area of approximately 10 rai where various species of cobra are bred and venom extraction and snake catching demonstrated.

"Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai (วัดบางพลีใหญ่ใน)": The temple was built to commemorate King Naresuan the Great’s victory over the Burmese. Later, a large bronze Buddha image of the Sukhothai style in the gesture of subduing Mara, with open eyes, was taken to be enshrined as the principal image of Phra Ubosot. The image became much revered by the people who have called it Luangpho To.

"Wat Bang Phli Yai Klang (วัดบางพลีใหญ่กลาง)" The temple contains an immense reclining Buddha image of approximately 53 metres long known as Somdet Phra Sakayamuni Si Sumet Bophit.

""'Bang Phli Cultural Centre, Bang Phli Rat Bamrung School (ศูนย์วัฒนธรรมอำเภอบางพลี โรงเรียนบางพลีราษฎร์บำรุง) ""' The upstairs exhibits folk wisdom and cultural heritage that has been exchanged among people of different ethnic origins. The downstairs displays models of the folk ways of living.

"Bang Pu Seaside (สถานตากอากาศบางปู)": Migratory seagulls flock to the seaside during November and April

Local Products

Local products and souvenirs from Samut Prakan include:

"Khanom Chak", a sweet made from flour, coconut and sugar "Pu Khai", Crab with eggs,

"Pla Salit", snakeskin gourami, made salted and dried. "Mamuang Nam Dokmai", a sweet breed of mango, available during January – February.

"Kung Yiat", stretched and dried prawn.

Culture

Festivals

""'Pak Lat (Phra Pradaeng) Songkran Festival (งานเทศกาลสงกรานต์ปากลัด/พระประแดง)""' Every year on the first Sunday following the Songkran Day (13 April), the people of Phra Pradaeng and District will cooperate to hold the Mon-style Songkran Festival, with the Nang Songkran procession, bird and fish release merit-making, as well as folk games and entertainment like Saba Game, Thayae Mon and Mon Ram.

"Song Khao Songkran Tradition (ประเพณีส่งข้าวสงกรานต์)": A Mon tradition of rice offering believed to have originated from the Songkran Legend. One house in a village will be responsible for cooking plain rice which will then be soaked in jasmine-scented water to be served with savoury dishes like salted egg, fish, cabbage and beef as well as various spicy salads, sweet and fruits. All dishes will be put in banana leaf cups and arranged in a tray, waiting for young women to take them to the temples early in the morning.

"Phra Samut Chedi Fair (งานนมัสการองค์พระสมุทรเจดีย์)": An annual fair that attracts people from around the country to pay homage to Phra Samut Chedi for 9 days and nights, starting from the 5th day of the waning moon of the 11th lunar month. The main feature is a float contest of the procession of the red wrapping cloth for the Phra Samut Chedi around Pak Nam Market before changing to a boat procession along the Chao Phraya River to Phra Pradaeng District Office and back to the Phra Samut Chedi. Other activities include a candle light procession around the Phra Samut Chedi, boat races on the Chao Phraya River, various forms of entertainment and booth displays of numerous products.

"Rap Bua or Yon Bua Festival (ประเพณีรับบัวหรือโยนบัว)": A tradition long inherited by the people of Bang Phli held annually on the 13th day of the waxing moon of the 11th lunar month and early next morning. The main feature is the respect paying and procession of the Luangpho To image both by land and water. The event also features competitions of folk activities like lotus arrangement on a footed tray, boat contests and folk entertainment such as Phleng Ruea or boat song. Early next morning will be the Rap Bua or Yon Bua tradition in which people will toss Dok Bua or lotus flowers onto the boat carrying the image of Luangpho To.

"Luangpho Pan Fair (งานนมัสการหลวงพ่อปาน)" Bang Bo’s annual fair is held at Wat Mongkhon Khothawat around the 8th day of the waxing moon of the 12th lunar month in order to pay respect and remember the virtue of Luangpho Pan.

External links

* [http://www.tourismthailand.org/destinationguide/list.aspx?provinceid=2 Province page from the Tourist Authority of Thailand]
* [http://www.paknam.com paknam.com - created by Sriwittayapaknam School]
* [http://www.samutprakan.go.th Official site of the province] (Thai only)
* [http://www.thailex.info/THAILEX/THAILEXENG/LEXICON/Copy%20of%20Samut%20Prakan.htm Samut Prakan provincial map, coat of arms and postal stamp]


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