Even if you’re just passing through, you can’t miss the star attraction of NAKHON PATHOM: the enormous stupa Phra Pathom Chedi dominates the skyline of this otherwise unexceptional provincial capital, 56km west of Bangkok. Probably Thailand’s oldest town, Nakhon Pathom (derived from the Pali for “First City”) is thought to be the point at which Buddhism first entered the region now known as Thailand, more than two thousand years ago. Then the capital of a sizeable Mon kingdom, it was important enough to rate a visit from two missionaries dispatched by King Ashoka of India, one of Buddhism’s great early evangelists. Even today, the province of Nakhon Pathom retains a high Buddhist profile – aside from housing the country’s holiest chedi, it also contains Phuttamonthon, Thailand’s most important Buddhist sanctuary and home of its supreme patriarch.

Nakhon Pathom is easily seen on a day-trip from Kanchanaburi or Bangkok – alternatively, since it’s on train lines heading west to Kanchanaburi and south to Hua Hin, Surat Thani and Malaysia, the town works well as a half-day stopover from Bangkok. Everything described below – with the exception of Sanam Chan Palace and the Contemporary Thai Art Centre – is within ten minutes’ walk of the chedi.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Thailand features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

25 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
9 essential tips for backpacking Thailand

9 essential tips for backpacking Thailand

Backpacking Thailand can mean staying in fun-packed hostels and idyllic beach bungalows, eating noodles so tasty and so cheap you’ll swear off all other food …

11 Apr 2016 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
These amazing photos of Thailand will intensify your wanderlust

These amazing photos of Thailand will intensify your wanderlust

Professional photographer Ian Barin shares some of his favourite pictures of Thailand.  Thailand. It’s everything you’ve heard; a beautifully complex co…

08 Mar 2016 • Ian Barin insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month