Wat Khanon, or the Monastery of the Custom Post, is an active monastery located off the city island in the western area of Ayutthaya in the Ban Pom Sub-district.

The temple's name was derived from its location near a toll house (Khanon), which checked boats for prohibited items and weapons as prescribed by law.

There were four main customs posts called the 'Royal Customs Posts of the Four Directions'. The northern tax station was situated near Ban Bang Luang, in the turn of Ban Maen and on the Pho Sam Ton waterway, behind Wat Na Phra That (Wat Tha Yak). The eastern tax station was in the area of Ban Khao Mao. The southern tax station was the most significant customs house as it controlled all the incoming and outgoing sea vessels. It was located near Wat Prot Sat at Bang Tanaosi in the present Khanon Luang Sub-district of Bang Pa-In, south of Ko Rian. The western tax station was on the Maha Phram Canal (1) at Ban Pak Khu (Ban Mai Sub-district). It controlled the navigation coming from and going to the Chao Phraya River (at present, the Noi River), which in the Ayutthaya period ran a few kilometres west of the city. The tax station was situated south of Wat Lat Bua Khao and north of Wat Khanon. [1]

Each toll house had two officers and twenty serfs (2) who worked in shifts of 15 days and were then rotated. At the customs house, there were horses and fast boats to send urgent dispatches to the capital in case of incidents. Boats were checked for prohibited items and weapons as prescribed by law. Guard boats were making inspections up and down the river, while at night, rafts with torches were anchored mid-stream to allow guards to inspect the night traffic. At the toll houses, import and export duties were collected from ships going to and leaving the capital.

The monastery stood on the south bank of Khlong Maha Phram, a man-dug canal leading to the old Chao Phraya River, present Khlong Ban Bang (2).

Wat Rat Bua Khao stood north, Wat Dawadung (defunct) east opposite the river and Wat Phra Ngam southeast.

Based on the Temple Registration System of the National Office of Buddhism, Wat Khanon was established in 1747 CE in the late Ayutthaya period and received its Wisung Kham Sima in 1757 CE.

The temple has the classic monastic buildings in situ building. The ordination hall has a three-tiered roof but no porches. There are two entry doors to the east and west. The walls on the north and south sides have five windows, and a low inner wall surrounds the hall. The hall was upgraded around 2020 CE, with two porches supported by eight square pillars and an additional three-tiered roof over both porches.

The oldest structures are a few small funerary chedis found northwest of the ordination hall. These square chedis have several layers. One has niches in each of the cardinal directions, and Buddha images have been placed inside, and others have mythological figures.

Wat Khanon is in geographical coordinates: 14° 22' 9.85" N, 100° 31' 27.51" E.

(View of the ordination hall of Wat Khanon in 2010 CE)


(1) The Maha Phram Canal is situated northwest of Ayutthaya in the Bang Ban Sub-district. The waterway is, at present, not much more than a moat, running north of Bang Ban's district office towards Ban Pom. The Maha Phram Canal runs between Wat Khanon and Wat Lat Bua Khao and joins there the Chao Phraya River. The canal was dug to give Ayutthaya access to the Chao Phraya River, which in the Ayutthaya period ran through the present Bang Ban Canal, a few kilometres west of the city. This western entry/exit of Ayutthaya was very important as the waterway was used to travel to the northern cities. The Maha Phram Canal started north of Ban Kop Jao, ran through Ban Maha Phram and had its mouth near Wat Khanon in Ban Pom. The canal joined here with a waterway coming down from Ban Mai (Makham Yong), which ran into the Lopburi River at Hua Laem (Cape Head), northwest of Ayutthaya City, in front of Sat Kop Fortress. The Catholic Seminary of the Holy Angels, established by the French in the 17th century, was situated on the canal's southern bank at Ban Maha Phram.

(2) Serfs or Phrai were neither enslaved people nor free but commoners who served a master periodically with unpaid labour.

(3) Not many people realise the Chao Phraya River was not running on the west side of the city island in the Ayutthaya period. At that time, it was the Lopburi River that flowed around Ayutthaya. Today's Chao Phraya River ran through the Bang Ban Canal to Si Kuk and from there to Bang Sai (historical site: Chedi Wat Sanam Chai), where the Lopburi River joined the Chao Phraya River. At the time, the Chao Phraya River was situated about ten kilometres west of the centre of Ayutthaya. The city was linked to the ancient Chao Phraya River in the northwest of Ayutthaya via the Khlong Maha Phram and in the southwest via the Khlong Nam Ya. Steve Van Beeck (1994), in 'The Chao Phya: River in Transition" (Oxford University Press - New York.), writes that "It was not until 1857 that an alternative path was created [for the Chao Phraya River]. A 5-kilometre channel was dug from the entrance of Wat Chulamani to Ban Mai. The river responded by following this new course and abandoning the old one, in effect making a secondary river of the stretch that ran from Ban Mai, and into the Chao Phya Noi. Half as wide as the river above and below it, the 1857 Ban Mai shunt funnels the Chao Phya down to Ayutthaya."


[1] Ratchathanin, Phraya Boran. Athibai Phaenthi Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya kap khamwinitjai khong Phraya Boran Racha Thanin. Explanation of the map of the Capital of Ayutthaya with a ruling of Phraya Boran Ratchathanin - Revised 2nd edition and Geography of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Ton Chabab print office. Nonthaburi (2007).