Due to its close proximity to Bangkok the city is actually a suburb of the national capital, and is more or less considered a part of Greater Bangkok - had it not been for the signposts you'd hardly notice where one ends and the other begins. Officially, however, Nonthaburi is one of the five neighboring provinces of Bangkok. Covering an area of 622.303 square kilometres and separated into 2 parts by the Chao Phraya River, Nonthaburi is administratively divided into six districts: Mueang Nonthaburi, Pak Kret, Bang Kruai, Bang Yai, Bang Bua Thong and Sai Noi.
The long history of Nonthaburi dated back 400 years to the era of Ayutthaya Kingdom. Firstly known as Tambon Ban Talad Khwan and noted for its fertile soil and plentiful water where a lot of orchards nest along side the Chao Phraya River, this tambon has been promoted to Nonthaburi City in 1549 under the reign of King Mahajakrapat.
In 1665, King Narai the Great had noticed that the river has changed its own route and it might consequently have a negative effect to the city’s security. Hence, the fortifications have been established at the delta of Om River where the city pillar has been built as the symbol of the new foundation of Nonthaburi.
At the time of Rattanakosin Kingdom, King Mongkut has had Nonthaburi moved to the entrance of Bang Sue Canal in Tambon Ban Talad Khwan where later in the reign of King Chulalongkorn, the city hall has been founded and lasted till 1928. In the same year, King Pokklao has initiated the idea of building a new city hall at Rajawitthayalai Ban Bang Khwan, Tambon Bang Tanowsri on Pracharaj I road along side the Chao Phraya River which nowadays belongs to the Ministry of Interior Affairs. The building, constructed in a European style, has become one of the ancient remains of Thailand while the current city hall is situated on Rattanathibet Road.
Several public buses operated by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) connect Bangkok with Nonthaburi.
There are also daily express boats that run along the Chao Phraya River from Wat Ratcha Singh Khon Pier, Amphoe Yanawa and Wat Toei Pier, Amphoe Pak Kret District. Service lasts from 6 am to 6 pm, leaving the pier every 20 minutes. For more information, contact Chao Phraya Express Boat Co. Ltd. (Tel: 0 2222 5330 or 0 2225 3003 or 0 2623 6001-3 or www.chaophrayaboat.co.th)
If you're planning to cover large distances on foot - don't. As is the rule in Bangkok, the multilane roads are made for drivers, not walkers. Sidewalk paving is hardly stellar, and the blistering midday heat and surrounding pollution are further complications best avoided.
Wat Khemaphirataram Rajaworawiharn
Situated on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River, in Tambon Suan Yai, ‘Wat Khema’ was built in the early Ayutthaya period. The monastery underwent restoration during the reigns of Rama II and Mongkut and for a while enjoyed royal patronage. Its large pagoda houses the Buddha’s relics as well as a centuries-old icon of the Buddha which dates to the period of the Wat Khema's founding. Other attractions within the monastic compound include the Tamnak Daeng Building and Phra Thinang Monthian Hall.
How to get there: The monastery can be easily reached by bus. Taking the minibus Rewadi-Wat Pak Nam is also a good option. For those travelling by Chao Phraya express boat get off at Tha Nam Non Pier and from there hop on bus number 203.
There are few accommodation options in Nonthaburi. This is largely due to the lack of foreign tourists, as well as its closeness to Bangkok.