As I travel south on Highway AH1, it isn’t long before I find myself following the Ping river on my left. This is the main river in the Kamphaeng Phet Province. The region had its own royal city as early as the 14th Century, but was known then as Chakangrao. I am particularly taken with the idea that this area of Thailand is a big supplier of bananas, and a banana festival is held every year to thank the gods for the harvest.
Ayutthaya was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767 in this province. Siam was the ancient name of this country until 1939. Interestingly, it was restored to the name of Siam between 1945 and 1949, but has been Thailand ever since. The oldest known mention of their existence in the region by the exonym Siamese is in a 12th century A.D. inscription at the Khmer temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, which refers to syam, or “dark brown” people.
As I drive on and into Mueang Nakhon Sawan, my final destination for today, I notice that Google maps indicates that this last stretch of the road is both AH1 and AH2. Can’t find anything to clarify this.
Mueang Nakhon Sawan is the capital province in this area. The main rivers of the district are the Nan and Ping, which meet in the town of Nakhon Sawan to form the Chao Phraya. In the eastern part of the district is the Bueng Boraphet swamp, the most important wetland of the whole province.
I ‘book’ myself a hotel for tonight, as my virtual self could do with a good hot shower and a straight meal. I ‘book’ a room in the Bonito Chinos Hotel. it has good reviews and a good parking area for my travelling friend. I will eat in the restaurant and get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow, Bangkok.