For a small town, Salaya has plenty going on.
The small town of Salaya is noted for three things. Foremost is the grand Phuttamonthon park hosting the world’s tallest freestanding buddha, which we’ll talk about in a minute. Second, it is a university town with a few colleges, as well as a large peri-urban campus of the renowned Mahibol University, which is an offshoot of the Siraraj Medical School located next to the Old Thonburi station which you may have visited earlier. Finally, you should see Chong Thanon Salaya Market right next to the train station. Thailand’s markets are legendary. While many of Bangkok’s markets are tourist-oriented, most mid-sized markets like this act as focal points for the Kingdom’s communities. This one in particular is said to have great samosas, and an interesting sort of steamed pancake.
The Phutthomonton Park
Through the trees and buildings, you just might be able to get a glimpse of the world’s highest freestanding statue of Buddha from the train line. The 52ft high cast of a walking Buddha casts a silhouette against the sky at day. It is attributed to the Corrado Feroci – an Italian born sculptor of many of Bangkok’s most famous monuments, and founder of Silpakorn University of Fine Arts – but it was cast in 1981, almost 20 years after his death. The statue sits bang in the middle of a 400 hectare park that is popular both for worshipers as well as runners and cyclists. If you need to stretch your legs and are happy to take the next train, the park sits adjascent to a modest botanical gardens and the campus of Mahidol University – one of Thailand’s most reputed.