Sing Buri Province
Sing Buri (Thai: สิงห์บุรี, pronounced [sǐŋ būrīː]) is one of the central provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Nakhon Sawan, Lop Buri, Ang Thong, Suphan Buri, and Chai Nat.
The word sing originates from Sanskrit singh meaning lion; and buri, from Sanskrit puri meaning fortified city or town. Hence the literal translation is “lion city”.
Sing Buri is on the flat river plain of the Chao Phraya river valley.
The area of Sing Buri held an important position in early Thai history from the Dvaravati period down to the Ayutthaya period. Formerly the province was separated into three small provinces, In Buri, Prom Buri, and Sing Buri, which were unified by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1895.
Seal of the fort of Khai Bangrachan, the old seal of Sing Buri Province
Seal of the Monument of eleven villagers’ leaders of Khai Bangrachan, the seal of Sing Buri Province since 2004.
The provincial seal shows the fort of Khai Bangrachan, a historical monument. When the Burmese attacked Ayutthaya in 1765, 11 villagers from Bangrachan fought the army when it stopped north of Ayutthaya. They managed to delay them for five months before they were finally defeated, soon thereafter Ayutthaya fell as well. Annually on February 4 a ceremony is held in remembrance of these local heroes. This story was also made into a movie in Thailand.
The provincial tree is the Red Sandalwood Tree (Adenanthera pavonina).
The province is subdivided into six districts (amphoe). The districts are further subdivided into 43 communes (tambon) and 363 villages (muban).
Mueang Sing Buri
Khai Bang Rachan
The Provincial Court and City Hall of Sing Buri: These are one-storey European-style brick buildings. Apart from their beauty, the buildings are of great architectural value. The Fine Arts Department registered the buildings as national historical monuments.
Wat Sawang Arom: This temple is a centre of arts education regarding the construction of ubosoth (ordination halls), viharn (image halls), sala (open air pavilions) and particularly regarding the sculpture of Buddha images. Within the temple compound, the Nang Yai Museum has collected more than 300 perfect and playable “Nang Yai”, great shadow puppets.
Wat Phra Non Chakkrasi Worawihan : A royal temple of the third class. Inside the viharn (image hall), a large reclining Buddha image is enshrined. Furthermore, there are two other Buddha images: Phra Kan and Phra Kaeo. They were built during the reign of King Rama V to be the principal images at a ceremony for civil servants where they would swear an oath of allegiance to the king.
Wat Na Phrathat: The main item of this temple is the Phra Prang, a corn-shaped pagoda. The pagoda has figures of demons holding batons and garudas over the relic chamber. The Fine Arts Department registered the temple as a historical monument.
Wat Prachotikaram: Two large Sukhothai-styled images of Buddha, in the posture of persuading relatives not to quarrel, are enshrined here. The Buddha images of Luangpho Sap and Luangpho Sin have beautiful features and are worshipped by the general public.
Wat Kradangnga Buppharam : The ubosoth (ordination hall) here is a beautiful and unique example of the modern style. An ancient bell-shaped Chedi (pagoda) is like that of the early Ayutthaya period. This is considered the most complete pagoda among those of the same era and was registered as a national historical monument.
Wat Kudi Thong There is the Mondop (square building) resembling the twelve-indented corner pagoda, built in 1900 by Luangpho Panya Uttamaphichai the abbot. At the top of the mondop, the Lord Buddha’s relics are enshrined. Inside, the Lord Buddha’s metal footprint is worshipped.
Burmese Mounds and Camp: This ancient community features long mounds similar to an L-shape. It was presumed that the mounds were built in the Ayutthaya period around 1584 when the Burmese army set up a camp at the mouth of the Bang Phutsa River for the gathering troops to strike at the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Nowadays, it is a recreational park for the general public.
Wat Amphawan: This temple is located in Tambon Phrom Buri. Phra Ratchasutthiyanmongkhon (Luangpho Charan Thitathammo) is the abbot (81 years old in 2009), who is known for his healing powers.
Wat Phra Prang Muni: Next to the pagoda is the viharn (image hall) of Luangpho Yen, the sacred stucco image of Buddha from the Ayutthaya period. Inside the ubosoth (ordination hall), one can see murals by Pheng, a Laotian, which depict stories about hell and heaven and apparently are second to none in beauty.
Wat Phikun Thong: Here is found Thailand’s largest Buddha image in the posture of giving a blessing, called “Phra Phutthasuwanmongkhon Mahamuni” or “Luangpho Yai”.
Wat Champa Thong: The royal boat which was used during HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s cruise along the Noi River is kept here. The name of this paddle boat or Ruea Mat Keng is “Champa Thong Sing Buri”.
Heroes of Khai Bang Rachan Monument and Khai Bang Rachan Park: It covers an area of around 115 rai and features an arboretum. Sculptures of eleven heroic leaders of Khai Bang Rachan appear magnificently in the garden. Within the Khai Bang Rachan Park lies the Heroes of Khai Bang Rachan Historical Centre which has three exhibition rooms.
Wat Pho Kao Ton or Wat Mai Daeng: It was the stronghold of the villagers of Bang Rachan resisting the Burmese troops in 1767. Here one can see the “Phra Achan Thammachot Viharn”, a hall with four porches. Phra Achan Thammachot was among the important leaders of the Bang Rachan villagers. Next to the temple one finds the spiritual shrine of the heroes of Khai Bang Rachan.
Wat Phra Prang (Channasut): This temple features a Phra Prang (corn-shaped pagoda) in the early Ayutthaya style of art (15th to 16th century). At the back, there is an ancient viharn (image hall), also in the Ayutthaya style, with a lion-figured wood-carved gable and eave brackets.
Maenam Noi Kiln Site: It was the largest site for pottery production in the Ayutthaya period (1371 to 1767). The kilns here were crossdraft kilns made of brick. Apart from being a cultural heritage site, this archaeological site is also one of the study centres on ceramics in the world.
Mae La Maha Rachanuson Park: It is getting more difficult to find Pla Chon Mae La or striped snakehead fish which is a famous foodstuff and souvenir from Sing Buri province. Therefore, officials have attempted to conserve and help increase the fish by means of dredging the river course and building a park on the bank of the Mae La River.
Wat Sutthawat or Wat Mai: The old viharn (image hall) here was built in the Ayutthaya period. Inside, there are murals by master craftsmen, depicting the life of the Lord Buddha and the Chulamani Chedi in heaven where His hair relic was enshrined.
Wat Bot: The ubosoth here is the only one which used train tracks as its core base. Interestingly, all doors and window panels of the ordination hall were skilfully carved by Chuen Hatthakoson, a native of Sing Buri. Inside the ordination hall, there is an ancient principal Buddha image which has very beautiful features.
In Buri National Museum: This museum houses a collection of decorations of Buddhist monks’ ecclesiastical titles, rank insignia fans, Buddha images of different periods, Thai and Chinese ceramics, and Thai musical instruments. On the ground floor, folk plays, fish traps, a weaving loom and ancient lamps are on display.
Mueang Boran Ban Khu Mueang (Ban Khu Mueang Ancient City): It was an ancient community in the Dvaravati period. Many pieces of pottery were excavated here. Other items also found here include coloured beads, earthenware lamps, a greenish stone Dharmacakra (wheel of law), earrings and silver coins. At present, discovered artefacts are kept at the In Buri National Museum.
Wat Muang: This temple is a rectangular limestone building with a front portico. The gable is decorated with pieces of pottery. Inside the temple is enshrined the principal Buddha image in the posture of Buddha subduing Mara whilst seated on a lotus on top of a lion-footed pedestal. There are tempera based murals by a local artisan, which were presumed to have been drawn during the reign of King Rama IV (1851–1868).
Suan Chomphu Thong Sam Si (Thong Sam Si Rose Apple Orchard) is an Agritourism site located at 10/1 Mu 5, Tambon Thon Samo, Amphoe Tha Chang. Fruit trees grown here are rose apple, lychee, and santol.
Khanom Pia (Chinese pastry) has been a famous souvenir of Sing Buri since 1936 and is known for its delicious taste and freshness. The Chinese pastry is made in various flavours and fillings.
Pla Chon Mae La: Sing Buri is well known for its source of tasty striped snakehead fish.
Salapao Mae Saichai: this Guangzhou style of Salopao (Chinese bun) is well known for its soft texture and for being able to be stored for a long period.
Kun Chiang and Mu Yong: Chinese pork sausage and flossy pork are long famous as a souvenir for being crispy, less oily and very delicious.
Nuea Thup and Mu Thup : Pounded dried beef and pork are very popular. They can be stored for a long period.
Mother of Pearl inlay products are made at Ban Paeng opposite Wat Chinda Mani. These skilful work of fine art range from small items such as Talum Muk (footed container with an inward curved mouth), jewellery caskets, betel nut containers and bags to large-scale furniture.
Mattress Making: Sing Buri produces quality mattresses filled with new kapok, featuring fine embroidery and with a beautiful design.
Basketry: Pieces of basketry are made in different forms and popular as souvenirs. Materials used are rattan, bamboo and water hyacinth. They are woven into various figures such as hens, shrimp, frogs, baskets, food covers, and many more. They are finely crafted with beautiful designs.
Krayasat: A kind of crispy rice sweet. It is sweet and at the same time crispy and soft.
The Bang Rachan Heroes Memorial Fair is held every February 4 to 6 at the Heroes of Khai Bang Rachan Monument and Khai Bang Rachan Park in Tambon Bang Rachan, Amphoe Khai Bang Rachan. Activities at the fair include ceremonies which pay homage to the image of Phra Achan Thammachot and include the laying a wreath before the Heroes of Khai Bang Rachan Monument. It also features a sound and light show on the courageous acts of the heroes of Khai Bang Rachan, folk plays, various other entertainment and exhibitions of numerous precious things of Sing Buri.
Kam Fa Festival: It is a merit-making fair of the people of Thai Phuan in Amphoe Phrom Buri’s Ban Bang Nam Chiao and Muban Phokhaphiwat. It is intended to worship and commemorate the deity who guards the sky and controls the rain to fall seasonally. On the second day of the waxing moon in the third lunar month, which is taken as a preparatory day, villagers will join and make Khao Pun (rice vermicelli), Khao Chi (grilled rice) and Khao Lam (sweet sticky rice) for alms to be offered the next morning. An auspicious ritual performed by Buddhist monks is held in the evening when participating villagers bring sticky rice, eggs and sugar. At night, there is enjoyable entertainment. Late that night, the villagers begin to steam sticky rice and make sweets. On the third day of the waxing moon in the third lunar month which is the Kam Fa Day, the villagers will bring the prepared offerings and food to make merit at the temple. Seven days after the Kam Fa, another half day of the Kam Fa ritual is celebrated and after five more days, food will be offered to the monks. Following this offering, a piece of firewood is brought to float in the river as a ritual to expel the drought. This is done lastly to complete the Kam Fa ceremony.
The Ti Khao Bin Festival is an old tradition only observed in the village of Chakkrasi in Amphoe Mueang, Sing Buri, during the Songkran Festival from the 13th until the 15th of April every year. The ceremony is performed by villagers who bring sticky rice or red sticky rice which are steamed and wrapped in banana-leaf cones. The cones of sticky rice will be put on footed trays and offered to Luangpho Phra Non Chakkrasi at Wat Phra Non Chakkrasi. After an appropriate period of time, there will be a ceremony to withdraw the rice. The villagers return to get their trays and take some sticky rice from the cones into a small banana-leaf cup which is then left before the reclining image of Buddha. The rest of the rice, which is considered the rice of Luangpho Phra Non Chakkrasi, will be shared and eaten at the temple by the villagers in groups of 6 to 7 people.
The Kuan Khao Thip Festival: Khao Thip or Khao Mathupayat (rice sweets) is usually made in Muban Wat Kudi Thong, Ban Phokhaphiwat and Wat Uttamaphichai in Amphoe Phrom Buri. The exact date of the festival is not fixed but it always is held during the time that young rice grows enough to give a milk-like juice. A ceremonial pavilion is set up and encircled by a holy thread. Virgin girls will bring nine ingredients: bean, sesame, milk, butter, sugar, coconut, honey, sugarcane juice and the milk-like juice squeezed out of young rice, to mix in a giant wok. The ingredients are then heated by a wood fire of Javanese cassia and jujube trees, which must be ignited using the sun. The stirring will be accompanied by Buddhist monks’ chant of victory as well as the sounds of beating gongs and drums. The ritual still follows the traditional practice by having the appearance of a Brahman priest. The virgin girls who participate in the ritual must be the ones who have not yet started their first menstrual period. They are required to wear white and practise the Buddhist eight precepts in order to purify their body and mind before the ceremony. The girls will help make Khao Thip, which takes around six hours to finish. The sweet will be put in a container as an offering to the monks the next morning.
The traditional Long-tailed Boat Race is held in September each year on the Chao Phraya River at the embankment in front of the old City Hall. Many famous boats from other provinces join the race to win Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Cup. This is a challenging and exciting event and the beautifully decorated boats are shown at their best.
The Fish Eating Festival and Sing Buri Red Cross Fair is held in late-December each year. The Mae La River in Sing Buri is a natural source teeming with fish. Pla Chon Mae La or Mae La striped snake-head fish is very famous. It can be cooked into various delicious dishes of Sing Buri.