WAT THA MA (วัดท่าม้า)
Wat Tha Ma (also known as Wat Tha Lak) is located on the property of a Women's
Dormitory on the southern side of U-Thong Road. It is visible from this road, but a gate
However, males are sometimes steered away from the site to protect the safety of the
female residents.

This temple was located along Khlong Pratu Jin, which flowed with an east-west axis.
Khlong Nai Kai (Khlong Makham Riang), which flowed north to south, was located just
east of this temple, which gave Wat Tha Ma a more strategic location. Its name refers to
the "Monastery of the Horse Landing". It could likely be a spot where horse were taken
off ships and transported to stables on land. Note: horse stables and
Wat Khok Ma
were located on the northern side of Khlong Nai Kai. There may have been a
connection between the two temples given their names.

It isn't clear when Wat Tha Ma was originally founded. Chinese maritime traders settled
in this area in abundance, and a road known as China Street once passed by this temple.
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 house in the city (p 44). In addition to the Chinese population, these houses also
belonged to French, Dutch, Muslim, and English merchants. The
first tourist map by the
Fine Arts Department (1957) places Constantine Faulcon's house just east of Wat Tha
Ma (at a mounded location presently sealed off with barbed wire).

There are no observable walls of foundations today. The shrine that could be seen from
the road consisted of one fully intact Buddha image with a decapitated head lying in
front. A tin roof protects both of them. A number of sections from disembodied Buddha
images can be seen in the bushes near this shrine.

The modern neighborhood has a large Chinese-Thai population, mostly from a Teochiu
background. They lived on boats along the river, mostly profiting from the rice trade,
before they started to move onto land to buy property - not made available for purchase
until 1936. During the post-Ayutthaya period, a teacher training college for women was
located nearby. This may be why this old temple is situated on a women's dormitory
property today.
Text by Ken May - May 2009
Photographs by Tricky Vandenberg
Addendum

Wat Tha Ma or the Monastery of the Landing of the Horse features on Phraya Boran
Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 and on an older, 19th century map. The latter
indicates no existence of a chedi or prang. Both maps put the monastery in the same
location.

The site is located in geographical coordinates: 14° 20' 55.21" N, 100° 34' 29.59" E.
Addendum & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - November 2010
Updated October 2015
(Buddha shrine on the site of Wat Tha Ma)
(Broken Buddha images in situ)
(Detail of a 19th century map - map is orientated S-N)
Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map
Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map
(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno
1926)
(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)