You can actually reach Nakhon Pathom by bus from Bangkok, though if you don’t speak Thai, you’re probably going to need a local guide to help you. We actually took at least three busses and two songthaews, and I was so profoundly lost I didn’t even know I was in Nakhon Pathom until after the trip was over!
My english challenged partners were not much help, as their answer to a question like “where are we,” would be something like, “at temple.”
I was left at the end, doing my own research after the trip was over -using a map and a National Geographic guidebook. It was then that I realized I had been on the Nakhon Chaisi river, in Nakhon Pathom, at the Don Wai Floating Market -which I had reached by boat from Wat Rai Khing.
Ok, fair enough, but how did I know where to start looking if I didn’t even know I was in Nakhon Pathom? Here’s where I use a little trick while out traveling -and I’ve used this trick a lot!
While I’m out filming, I always look for an important looking landmark with a sign I can read (for me that means English). I then take a picture or video of the sign. After a busy day, there’s no way I’ll remember the name, so I always record it with my camera. In Thailand, wats are particularly good for this -they almost always have a sign written in English at their entrance.
I don’t worry if this landmark or location is not in my tourist guidebook (they usually aren’t), as I usually go straight to Google to find it. That’s because I want picture verification that it is, in fact, the right place. It’s amazing how many name misspellings, improper spellings, or downright wrong names exist in internet search results. You will even see misspellings or wrong locations copied across multiple websites. For that reason, the name and spelling I go with is always the name on the photo or video I have. The most “official” name is always the name at the front entrance gate, not what you may find on Google!
From Google, you can usually gather enough information to find out the approximate location you were at. From there, you can go to your map to identify nearby physical features (i.e. the Nakhon Chaisi river). You may even be able to find information in your guidebook at this point.
I first noticed the tourist souvenir plates shown above while in our boat at Don Wai. At this point I had no idea where I was, but I knew I’d better video those plates so as not to forget the name “Rai King.” Turns out, I was at “Don Wai,” not “Rai King,” but the plates at least gave me a starting point.
Later, when the boat returned to Wat “Rai King,” I was able to video the official sign, shown above. Unfortunately, someone was standing in front of it, but the name “Nakhornpathom” was clearly visible. Also, the spelling of “King” on the sign was “Khing.” Using Google and my map of Thailand, I was able to find Wat Rai Khing, Don Wai, and the Nakhon Chaisi river. I’m using the spelling “Khing” since that’s how it’s spelled on the entrance sign, though I’ve not been using “Nakhornpathom.” The spelling “Nakhon Pathom” is much more common, and is used on all my Thailand maps, and guidebooks.
The only real drawback to this form of landmark orientation, is that you never know where you are until the trip is over. In other words: not “where you are,” but “where you were.”
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Bangkok, Buddha, Buddhism, chedi, don, Don Wai Floating Market, floating market, king, monk, Nakhon Chaisi, Nakhon Pathom, river, temple, Thai, Thailand, traditional, traditional culture, wai, wat, Wat Rai Khing, Wat Rai King