The perfect weekend getaway

Nakhon Pathom's sleepy suburbs have a variety of fun-filled places on offer for cafe hoppers and families to enjoy a day trip

Just a one-hour drive from downtown Bangkok, the suburban areas in Nakhon Pathom have become a popular holiday getaway for cafe hoppers and families to enjoy a one-day trip with fun activities after disease control measures were eased.

Famous for floating markets, lush orchards, historical temples and beautifully decorated coffee houses, this small province has managed to maintain the charm of local life where both old and new ways of living co-exist peacefully. For your visit, Life recommends the following places where people of all ages can spend their weekend together.

The Salaya Leisure Park

The contemporary performance Jub Nang See Pak (Catch Her In Four Regions) is held at The Salaya Leisure Park.

Rosemary House serves options of Thai-style afternoon tea in a European ambience.

The Thai Tone Museum has khon masks in different designs.

Situated in tambon Salaya, this 18 rai community mall recently revamped its space to offer intriguing cultural performances, cabaret shows, handicraft workshops, cruise trips to waterside communities and wellness activities as well as eateries of different styles, making it a new popular venue for tourists.

Amid the modern restaurants and cafes, the Varimantra Thai Zone transports visitors back to the good old days of Nakhon Pathom. To celebrate Thai cultural heritage and local wisdom, this zone is designed to resemble a village amidst the mythical Himmapan forest, home to a towering waterfall and a giant Hanuman-inspired waterfall tunnel.

Behind the entrance, a Thai-style pavilion and staff members in period costume entice visitors with a choice of fun workshops on how to paint khon masks, craft earthenware, blend perfumes, make pastries with scented clay and create herbal white clay facial masks.

But the highlight is a class on how to tie-dye a T-shirt and tote bags using natural colours extracted from local plants like an indigo tree, onion scale, sappan tree, marigold, curcuma, mangosteen peel and jambolan plum.

Walking into the lush garden, visitors can explore the Thai Tone Museum which showcases 100 khon masks with different designs. They are classified by deity, demon and monkey, based on characters in the Thai classic Ramakien such as Tossakan, Hanuman, Phra Ram, Surasen and Nilkan.

There are also some masks of venerable characters like Phra Pikanet (the Hindu god Ganesha) and deer-headed Kalaikot Rishi, which were crafted to pay homage to art masters. Moreover, there's a collection of old handicraft supplies to demonstrate to visitors how to mould, stitch and decorate masks, paint faces and mix colours with traditional techniques.

Just next door, the Cave Show takes visitors to an imaginary world with a striking light and sound show that is a combination of classic khon masked dance and cultural performances from different regions to give an exotic holiday experience.

Inspired by the Built Road episode from Ramakien, this contemporary performance Jub Nang See Pak (Catch Her In Four Regions) recounts the adventure of Hanuman while constructing the path to Langka city for Phra Ram and his army. Tossakan orders Suphan Matcha and a group of fish to interrupt his task and that becomes the beginning of the love story between the monkey king and the mermaid princess.

Visitors can also take a break at Nakhon Pathom Kitchen and enjoy a wide selection of full-flavoured local dishes such as mussel curry, sour and spicy pomelo salad with shrimp and coconut milk soup with snakeskin gourami.

If your stomach still has room for sweet treats, the brand-new Rosemary House serves Thai-style afternoon tea in a European ambience. Like sitting in an English botanical garden, visitors will be delighted with innovative pastries like thong ek (wheat flour dumpling with egg yolk), foi thong (egg threads), sticky rice with mango, pandanus pudding-like mousse, bua loi cake, and sago tart with longan that goes well with Chalaya, which is an exclusive blend of imported Swedish tea and flowers. Meanwhile, those with selfie frenzy can check out a collection of classic Victorian costume rentals to complete your vintage look.

The Salaya Leisure Park is open daily from 10am to midnight. Find out more details at

Thai Film Archive

The Thai Film Archive recently opened Cinematheque and is now presenting a series of interesting exhibitions on the development of the film industry in Thailand. The highlights include the exhibition "Mitr Suksa", which is a tribute to iconic actor Mitr Chaibancha from the 1960s with a rare collection of photographs and memorabilia that depict his life and career.

The video installation Spaceship Of Ban Nabua by film director and artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul; The ‘Persistence Of Vision’ exhibition is on view at Cinematheque. (Photos courtesy of Sarakadee Lite)

Veteran film director and artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul introduces the Spaceship Of Ban Nabua, a video installation that is the sequel to his Primitive Project to transport visitors back to 1965 when the northeastern region became a battlefield for the communist insurgency. There are also displays of photographs, music videos, books and short films while fans can register for a screening of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Next door, the "Persistence Of Vision" exhibition is designed to be a playground for children to trace the origin and history of motion pictures. The journey begins in prehistoric times when people played with light and shadows in storytelling before creating shadow puppetry.

Walking through a tunnel of time, visitors will learn about persistence of vision -- the fundamentals of cinematography, motion picture technology and animation. Also on display is a huge airship adorned with optical toys while a mini theatre offers a screening programme of animations.

Just a stone's throw away from the Cinematheque, the Thai Film Museum is drawing visitors with the exhibition "100 Years Of Film In Thailand" and a film production process. It boasts a wide range of vintage billboards, posters, cameras, costumes and awards to mark the glory of Thailand's film industry.

Another attraction is "Maya City", a European-inspired town square. It is an outdoor exhibition that combines some scenes from the history of Thai and international film like Kinetoscope parlour, Grand Café in Paris, in which the Lumiere Brothers hosted movie screenings, Sam Yot City Gate, and Prince Alangkarn Theatre, whose first film projection was during the reign of King Rama V.

Thai Film Archive is open daily from 10am to 5pm (except Monday). Find out more details at

Jesada Technik Museum

Surrounded by green orchards, Jesada Technik Museum has long been a popular destination for car lovers and families. It's the brainchild of entrepreneur Jesada Dejsakulrit, who began his hobby by collecting a series Messerschmitt KR200 German microcars and later expanded his collection to 500 vintage cars, motorcycles, bikes and airplanes over 10 years.

Jesada Technik Museum has more than 100 classic cars from around the world.

This open-air museum, which opened in 2007, looks like a vibrant motor show and boasts a wide selection of vintage automobiles, trucks, rickshaws, motorbikes and buses from the 1910s to present. There is a BMW Isetta, Arola 4 Wheel, Autobianchi, Bond Mark A, DKW Framo, Renault KZ, Peugeot 202 and Citroen 2CV.

Jesada Technik Museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm (except Monday). Admission is free. Find out more details at

Air Orchids And Lab

Air Orchids And Lab is a great place for those looking for some keepsake. Located on a 250 rai plot of land, it's home to an extensive flower farm, laboratory, cafe and the first orchid supermarket in Thailand.

Air Orchids And Lab has bred more than 2,000 hybrids of orchids. (Photo courtesy of Air Orchids And Lab)

Visitors can observe how local farmers have bred and planted more than 2,000 hybrids of orchids to export to Europe, America, Africa and Australia, while its full-scale laboratory offers high-quality meri-clone and seed culturing services for the orchid and ornamental plant industry.

The market offers a wide range of ornamental plants from other nurseries and baskets of orchid mixed with other ornamental plants for home decoration. There's also gardening tools and nutrients for several kinds of plants.

Air Orchids And Lab is open daily from 8am to 5pm. Find out more details at