ABOUT THE FANTASTIC 4 COMMUNITIES
A community of wooden houses that has withstood the various changes of time. From the beginning of the Rattanakosin era to the present day the community has been the link between the royal grounds to its surrounding areas. Over time various groups of people settled along the fortresses guarding the capital city. From 14 fortresses, now only 2 remain. They are “Pom Prasumaine” (now a public park) and “Pom Mahakan”. Pom Mahakan is the only fortress left with a standing wall and an actual existing community. Once you step through the small entrance of the wall, you are surrounded by traditional wooden houses that have stood for decades. The intricate architecture of houses that have evolved over time will satisfy those who want to immerse themselves in the past. Visitors can see the Praya Petch Prani Alley, the first musical folk drama theater in Thailand and talk to locals who can be seen doing various crafts. See how locals create traditional cages for singing birds, observe how an uncle sculpts hermit figures from clay, and smell the aroma of delicious fish maw soup cooked by elders. If you just want to escape the busy world, visit the peaceful serene living museum of Pom Mahkan Community.
The Ban Bat community is the first and only community in the world where the locals still earn a living by making monks’ alms bowls by hand. The whole process consists of 21 stages according to Buddhist guidelines, which is why monks who strictly adhere to Buddhist precepts from all over the country come to buy the alms bowls. This art originates from artisans who evacuated from Ayuthaya after it fell in the hands of Burmese invaders for the second time. These artists settled outside the walls of the Rattanakosin island. In 1971 the community was affected by the sale of factory manufactured alms bowls that were sold at a lower price. The community fought back by selling unique and authentic traditional alms bowls. It also opened its doors to tourists so that they can see how crafts are created up close from house to house. So whenever you walk pass the community you can hear locals hammering metal. This sound resonates far beyond the walls of the community inviting people to see this unique art. Other than learning about the art of creating alms bowls, if you are lucky, you can enjoy the local Rumwong Thai traditional community dance, which was popular during the era of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram. It was so famous that hundreds of songs composed by the community were published.
A vibrant community filled with entertainment and food. This place was once a quiet field filled with grazing water buffaloes, called “Sanam Kwai” which literally means “field of water buffaloes” in English. It was then transformed into a lively center of trade after the creation of Phadung Krung Kasem canal, which brought migrants to the area. The Mon people, known for their traditional E-loeng water jars, sold them along the canal. People then called the place “E-loeng” or “Nang Loeng” district. Later on “Nang Loeng” was adopted because it is a more polite term. In the midst of green fields, Nang Loeng stood out with its modern pink western style buildings lining the Nakhon Sawan Road. With the construction of roads and a tram route, Nang Loeng became Thailand’s first market on land. Prior to this, all trade was done in floating markets in the water canals.
Within this small area in Soi Samranrat, where Buddhists products are sold, there lies a 100-year-old palace. This is why the community was named after the owner of the palace as the “Wang Kromprasommot-armornpan community”. The owner was the son of King Rama IV. The palace was deserted after the end of absolute monarchy in Thailand in 1932. The surrounding areas were then turned into residences of government officials, policemen and soldiers. Later on, more villagers came to live here, forming a community. They all earned a living by sewing monk’s robes and selling them on Bamrung Muang Road because it is near the Giant Swing where holy places of worship for Buddhists and Brahman are located. Chinese migrants also opened shops selling religious products on Bamrung Muang Road as well. Even though it is a small community, it is filled with great knowledge of Buddhism and craftsmanship. For example, there is the authentic art of creating long-handled ceremonial umbrellas for Buddhist ceremonies and the secret recipe of Bua Loy dessert, rice balls in coconut milk, where one bite is not enough.