KHLONG SUAN PHLU (คลองสวนพลู)
Text by Tricky Vandenberg - June 2010
Updated January 2014
Khlong Suan Phlu or the Canal of the Betel Garden, flows through Kramang and
Suan Phlu sub-district of Ayutthaya. The canal is situated off the city island in the
southeastern area.

The canal links the present
Pa Sak River in the north with the Chao Phraya River in the
south. Khlong Suan Phlu created an island, being called "
Ko Wilandia" in Ayutthayan
times (1350-1767). The Dutch settlement and Wat Phanan Choeng are situated on this
former island.

Khlong Suan Phlu splits after 500 meters in a western arm called Khlong Pak Nam Mae
Bia and an eastern arm called
Khlong Phra Non. Khlong Khanom Tan exits in Khlong
Suan Phlu, about 100 meters down from its origin.

The canal housed the ancient Buddhist monastery
Wat Khom (defunct) on its western
bank and the
English settlement (defunct) on its north bank. The canal was used by the
English traders to transport their goods to the harbour area in front of
Wat Phanan
Choeng.

The mouth of the canal was in the Ayutthayan era, a thriving market (Pak Khlong Suan
Phlu Floating market) and a gathering point of merchants from the South. [1]

The canal is mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya as being a place were the
Chinese set up a stockade to defend Ayutthaya against the Burmese in 1766. It took the
Burmese half a month to capture the stockade, which was the last defensive position of
the Siamese outside the city walls. [2]

We find this canal on different old maps such as the ones of de Courtaulin, Kaempfer and
Bellin. Kaempfer called the canal
Klang Patnam Bija in his posthumously published
work (1727)
The History of Japan.

As most of the canals in Ayutthaya, also this canal is not maintained; nearly completed
silted and heavily polluted. Ken May entering the canal by kayak on 25 January 2010
wrote: "
I was able to recce Khlong Suan Phlu. The opening passage is very narrow
and it is nearly impossible to turn around in places, but I was able to make it a
third of the way through. I was able to make it under the bridge [Rd 3477], but the
water became very shallow afterward, and the canal was loaded with trash bags
and heavily polluted. I was hoping to see traces of Wat Khom, but there was
nothing visible. This is the first time that I was able to attempt Khlong Suan Phlu.
The water is so shallow that I estimate that it will dry up or fill with plants within 3
weeks
."

References:

[1] Discovering Ayutthaya - Charnvit Kasetsiri & Michael Wright (2007) - page 271.
[2] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 517, 520 /
Source: Royal Autograph.
Detail of Engelbert Kaempfer's map published in 1727
(Detail of Engelbert Kaempfer's map published in 1727)