Attractive Old District of Pang-Nga at Takua Pa
One would find the beauty which hidden as an ordinary place in suburban. Similarly, you might discover the charm of the old town of Pang-Nga, “Takua Pa” from the first glance of your trip. A little town in the south of Thailand where you would unintentionally fall for. Takua Pa, an old district once the significant port city of the west coast of Siam established since the 500 of the Buddhist Centuries. The location was remarkably flourished from the mining and also the lovely motherland of Baba people.
Background of Takua Pa District
Takua Pa or was known as Tokol Town (which means “cardamom),” later the word distorted to “Takola” and “Takua Pa” finally. According to the historical record of India in the book titled “The Debate of King Milinda” noted that “In year 500 of the Buddhist Centuries, Takua Pa was a sea lane of the Arabian merchants to pass through Takua Pa River in Pang-Nga province to Chaiya district in Surat Thani province. And Hokkian immigrated to the land in late of King Rama III and started to live the life as a workman in the mine and succeed to make their way up to be the mine boss.
The Chino-Portuguese Architecture
In the old days, Takua Pa was considered a province and in the reign of King Rama VII with the fruitful of the land which was plentiful of tin resulted in lots of Chinese relocated to work in the mine. And it was a beginning of the mixture in the architecture in this area of the western and oriental design that well-known as “the Chino-Portuguese Architecture.” Although the notable construction of Chino-Portuguese here was not crowded as same as in the Phuket Old Town, it projects the unique beauty in the design excellently, though.
With the peaceful and pure atmosphere of the buildings within the town, in particular, Udom Thara Road and Si Takua Pa (Grand Market) where are the critical area filled with the two stories masonry row house buildings with a delicate design of ventilator and balcony and the arched door at the façade. However, after that, Takua Pa was degraded to be the district by the command of King Rama VII; as a result, the role of this remarkable town decreased and was exhaustive when the end of tin mining. Unfortunately, Takua Pa became the abandoned city and just knew as the pass way to Phuket.
The lifestyle in Takua Pa Old Town
Currently, though the end of mining in Takua Pa district, however those of the significant architectures still serve the livings within this town, as well as the friendly people to welcome all travelers who visit this lovely area. The charming simplicity of the lifestyle in Takua Pa, specifically every Sunday between 2.00 – 6.00pm during the tourist season in November – April annually will be the special event that is the collaboration between the Takua Pa Municipality and Talad Yai (Grand Market) Community creating the street of Si Takua Pa to be the cultural street of the town.
The numbers of resident join in with the vendor stalls together with the significant local products and foods, such as Khanom Saba (the southern style deep fried rice dough with sesame), A-Pong (the southern style crispy rice pancake), Khanom Beung (Thai crispy pancake), and Khanom Kho (Sweet Rice Dumpling with Coconut), for example. This revitalizes this old city to attract the visitor as the tourism destination in the south of Thailand again.
Where to Check-in in Takua Pa District
The must not miss check-in spots in Takua Pa district when you make the tour to this province can travel by the classic style pick-up truck that would enhance your experience at this lovely town perfectly.
1. Saphan Lek Kok Khanoon (the Iron Bridge)
The first must-visit location in Takua Pa is “Saphan Lek Kok Khanoon” or “Saphan Lek Boonsoong,” a small iron bridge serves the people to cross Takua Pa River. The notable bridge was constructed in 1968 which made from the iron from the retired mine dredge. It is considered another tourist spot that is famous among the travelers to take the photo with the bridge very much.
2. Tao Ming School
Predominantly, the yellow building is known as “Tao Ming School,” a building that was founded in about 1922 A.D. by the Chinese entrepreneurs. The school established by the fundraising of the Chinese mining business owners and merchants to provide the primary education as well as served as the Chinese language school of the region. Presently, the building of the Tao Ming School opens to the public to visit and see inside as the tourist attraction as well.
3. Ban Khun In
A historical site which is only the ruin nowadays, once was the residence of Khun Indrakiri (Choy Na Nakhon) a niece of Phaya Senanuchit or Nuch Na Nakhon, the former regent of Takua Pa and also was in the position of chief district officer of Takua Pa, too. The residence surrounded by the high wall with about 3.8 meters high and 158 meters long and it expected the wall made from gravel and concrete without brick.
The site was constructed in 1917 in the estimate or about 150 years ago and assumed that it was built by Chinese constructor. Presently, the place is under the responsibility of Na Nakhon family as the significant site in historical and architectural value. The tourist is allowed to take a picture of the area just only from the external space.
4. Wat Sena Nuch Rangsan
Next, an essential Buddhist holy place, Wat Sena Nuch Rangsan, a royal monastery better known among the citizen “Wat Mai Kamphaeng.” The monastery was established in 1847, and the structure within the compound are masonry structure. The venue attracted to the numbers of the villagers to locate and built up the community until it set up as “Sena Nuch Rangsan Community” in 2004. During the period Takua Pa was a province the place served as the critical venue of the ceremony of drinking an oath of allegiance.
5. Wat Phra That Kirikhet
Another significant Buddhist temple in Takua Pa and also is valuable in the history, in particular, the Ubosot (ordination hall) which is the square-shaped building in the early Rattanakosin art and covered with the white plaster. The site is rich in its value, which well presents the city of Takua Pa as the historical site, indeed.
6. Kuan Yu Shrine
After visiting the Buddhist holy places, now we introduce you to the center of the belief of Chinese in Takua Pa, “Kuan Yu Shrine.” The shrine located in the old market and ages more than 170 years and is respectful among the locals extremely. Every year, the vegetarian festival will be organized at the site; also, the place serves as the venue for many ritual activities of the district.
7. Takua Pa Walking Street
The last but not least, before ending up your day trip in this charming location. If you come here at the right time on Sunday during November – April, a vibrant walking street of Takua Pa will be perfect for wrapping up your tour. Strolling about the road of the culture of this old district would be a pleasant experience for you to witness the simple way of life of the locals that gathering here to offer lots of domestic products – food, traditional snacks, and souvenir all along both sides of the street of Si Takua Pa Road.
Specifically, the products and merchants at this walking street are genuine local residents, which is different from the walking streets in other tourist cities that set up the walking street fashionably for the tourists.
Wall Art at Takua Pa Walking Street
Apart from that, the street art and street food of Takua Pa are things added to this walking street for the voyagers to enjoy. Si Takua Pa Road was created to be the street art by the local artist “Eakachai Sae Tan” who showed the magnificent art over the wall, pillar, and structure along the road to express the identity of this lovely town through the 13 pictures in the total, including nomad, classic pick-up truck, auspicious creatures of Chinese, for example.
Thai Baba Heritage Society
Additionally, the special place that you should not skip from the tour in Takua Pa district is “Thai Baba Heritage Society.” The term “Baba” refers to the offspring who was born in the motherland which means the mother is Thai and father is Chinese, and a child called “Baba” (better known among the foreigner “Peranakan”). They have unique culture and tradition especially the costume that is the distinctive character, the ladies costume is upright collar as same as Chinese design, pleated sleeve like Malaysian, short body as Mon, and Indonesian style skirt. It metaphors to the junk sailed from the oversea China that stopped by at the Philippines, Sumatra, Penang, Singapore, and landed at Takua Pa in Thailand at last.
Consequently, the blending of diverse cultures. Originally, Chinese who migrated to Takua Pa was workmen, beggars, and the group of Chinese opera, anyhow with love in commerce supported this of Chinese people to succeed to gain the fortune rapidly. And then they established Tao Ming School as the language school, spiritual shrine, house, and tradition, included the vegetarian festival that has inherited for more than 170 years.
Another must-not-miss is the Chino-Portuguese architectures which scattered every corner in Takua Pa district. The buildings are presently classic style shops, such as Hua Long Shop, a clock and watch service shop, Anchalee, a traditional Wedding dressmaker, also, Duangporn Shop trades local Batik fabric. Those structures are presented as the narrow front space but deep, and the front of each building is connectable with the splendid Chinese style fresco.
So, would you skip to visit this old district of Pang-Nga?