Text by Ken May - March 2009 Map by Tricky Vandenberg
WAT SINGHA SAI
Wat Singha Sai might be a disappeared temple. It appeared on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's (1926) map. It was also listed on the Fine Arts Department tourist map of 1993. There are some contradictions as to its exact location. Nevertheless, this temple would have been located along Khlong Nai Kai (Khlong Makham Riang) on the property of where a Women's Dormitory stands today. Khlong Pratu Jin - now buried - once flowed through this area along an east-west axis toward the Chinese Gate (Pratu Jin).
It isn't clear when Wat Singha Sai was originally founded. Chinese maritime traders settled in this harbour/warehouse area along a road known as China Street. China Street is documented on the French map by Sieur de La Mare (1751). Engelbert Kaempfer added in 1727 that China Street was made of brick and included some of the best houses in the city (p 44). In addition to the Chinese population, these houses also belonged to French, Dutch, Muslim, and English merchants.
It is not clear what this temple looked like. No trace of it can be seen for certain. There exists a rectangular mound just north of Wat Tha Ma in which a temple was once located. There are a few sections of Buddha images stacked next to a tree as evidence. There is also a second rectangular mound to the west of this site, but it has eroded down to only a few bricks. One of these sites might be the remains of Wat Singhasai, but more research is needed to be sure.
This temple probably "disappeared" as a new population moved into the neighborhood during the Ratanakosin period. It may have also been a casualty of road construction in the area. Given its location near the harbour, it could also have been a casualty from the period in which King Rama I and King Rama III removed bricks to Bangkok to build a new capital.
During the post-Ayutthaya period, a teacher training college for women was located close by. This explains why this old temple is situated on a women's dormitory property today.