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Bangkok Travelbug July 2018 Lat Chado Community Ayutthaya
June 28, 2018

Lat Chado Community, Ayutthaya

Welcome back to the July 2018 Bangkok Travelbug. Sorry I missed out on the June issue as I had to return to Singapore to settle some family matters.

Our original intention was to visit the 100-year-old Lat Chado Market in Phak Hai, a district which is about 25 km north-west of the historical city of Ayutthaya. But the visit took on a different slant with far more interesting results.

Houses in the Lat Chado Community

Please join us in our visit to this old community in Ayutthaya.

Contents (click on the link to go directly to the topic)

Lat Chado Market

The Lat Chado Market is located on the banks of the Na Khu River that branches off the Noi River which in turn branches off the Chao Phraya River at Chai Nat almost 100 km to the north.

In the past, it was along this vast network of waterways in the Chao Phraya basin that must have been bustling with river boats briskly trading among the river communities.

I have seen photos of the old Lat Chado Market with stalls laden with goods of all types and crowds milling around to buy these goods. Alas when we visited the market on a recent Saturday morning, we found to our surprise that most of the shops were closed!

After 10 minutes of walking around, we realised that we were the only two visitors!

We found shopkeepers sitting glumly in front of their shops starring blankly into space. An elderly lady we spoke to said that despite the reputation of the market being a 100-years old or more, hardly anybody came anymore.

State of the market that morning

The shops end up serving just the members of the community; some must have moved out judging from the number of empty shops. This market seems to have suffered the same fate as some of the other waterside communities like the Rangkratoom market in Bang Len, Nakhon Pathom.

With the new highways bypassing them, the world seems to have passed them by.

Peaceful scene on the river

But the Lat Chado Market is barely 2 km off highway 329, it's not that out of the way. On the far bank we noticed several boat houses that are available for rent as homestays.

Boat restaurant (top) and house boats for homestay

We were about to take a closer look when we passed this shop selling cakes.


The cake maker

Kanom pia is a cake made of dough with green bean paste filling, curry puffs of course are more familiar. The curry puffs are made with three types of filling; chicken, char siew (barbecued pork) or green bean paste.

Kanom pia and curry puffs

Lung (uncle) is 85, he has been making these cakes for the last 60 years! He was sitting outside his shop patiently making his cakes when we dropped by.

Lung the cake maker

We watched as he worked. The dough is flattened, rolled up and cut into slices. The small slices are flattened again, the green bean paste is stuffed into slices of dough and kneaded into balls which are baked.

Making kanom pia

These cakes and chicken curry puffs make ideal purchases for a market visit. We bought a box of curry puffs back for 20 baht. Lung explained that he is willing to teach anyone who is willing to learn his trade, but there are few takers. It's not as easy as it looks, it takes a great deal of patience.

Lung was born with a slightly deformed right arm. Had he not told us, we wouldn't have noticed. This handicap prevented him from many trades but not cake making. He took the challenge and persevered for decades. He is a shining example of how we can overcome the difficulties in life with perseverance and the fighting spirit.

We were told that there was an order for 80 boxes which was collected earlier that morning and another 80 for collection later in the evening. We wish Lung the cake maker all the best in his business.

The completed products

As we proceeded to view some colourful pictures of a local festival, we met another interesting resident of La Chado.


The kind aunt

Pa (aunt) is in her 70s and still hale and hearty. When she noticed our interest in the pictures she walked over to explain the activities featured.

The kind aunt who offered to show us around

These pictures are about the Khao Phansa boat procession along the river that flows by the community. This festival is held at the start of the Buddhist Lent (Khao Phansa – the full moon on the eighth lunar month of the Thai calendar), which lasts for three months and coincides with the rainy season.

Early on the morning of the festival, residents offer alms to the monks in Wat Lat Chado. This is followed by the boat procession with participants dressed up in traditional Thai dress. The boat procession goes downstream first then upstream. On this occasion, farmers load their boats with goods to sell to residents and visitors.

The colourful boat procession on Khao Phansa

We were invited to attend this year's festivities which will be held on 27 July 2018, Asarnha Bucha Day, the day before the start of the Buddhist Lent. We will certainly make it a point to be there.

After explaining the Khao Phansa festivities to us, Pa offered to take on a tour of Wat Lat Chado, the community temple which was built in the Ayutthaya era (1300s – 1700s). The ubosot (ordination hall), which was recently restored, is usually locked except on festive days. However, she got someone to open up the ubosot for us to take a look inside.

Front view

The elaborate windows

Buddha image inside

Our next stop was the sala kanprian (multi-purpose hall) which was built in 1913. It's completely made of wood. The huge wooden pillars supporting the roof are made from mai takian (a kind of hard wood) and it must have taken a whole tree trunk to make one of these pillars. The floor boards are made of teak.

Inside the sala kanprian

Our last stop was at the Wat Lat Chado School, a wooden E-shaped building built in 1959. According to Pa, this building is reputedly the longest in Thailand. I can't verify this but from a measurement of the building off a Google map, the length is 150 m or 164 yards.

The long school building

Well this turned out even more interesting than a visit to an old market. On our way out, we stopped at one of the restaurants along the River Noi which serves a fine assortment of prawns and fish to top off a wonderful trip to the Lat Chado Community in Phak Hai District, Ayutthaya.


Our thanks

We wish to thank Lung for patiently explaining the nature of his trade to us and to Pa for showing us around Wat Lat Chado and the surroundings.

Every now and then when we visit old communities we get to meet people who take great pride in their trade and community and have shown warmth and hospitality to us. We are grateful to all of them.

Pleasant memories of Lat Chado


Map to Lat Chado

If the map doesn’t appear, click on this link

How to get there

By car

From Bangkok get on to highway 1 (Don Muang tollway) – highway 347 – highway 309 – at the Pa Mok junction turn left to highway 329 – turn left at highway 3454 – turn right to highway 3050 – proceed on till you get to Wat Lat Chado.

Do not enter the lane with the "Lat Chado Market" sign over it. It's very congested and there isn't enough parking space. Enter the lane after that, the one leading to Wat Lat Chado. There is ample parking on the grounds of the temple.


Next month

Mon temples in Pathum Thani.

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Till next month then.

Eric Lim
Tour Bangkok Legacies
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