Wat Pa Thon, or the Monastery of the Drum Quarter, was located on Ayutthaya's city island, outside the Historical Park in the east of the city in Pratu Chai Sub-district. Pa Thon was an area in Ayutthaya where the Thon - a type of Thai drum - and other musical instruments were made. (1)

The Thon is a Thai goblet drum, a single-headed drum. The head is around 20 cm in diameter. The drum has a ceramic or hard wooden body. The Thon lies on the player's lap and is played with the right hand. The drum gives a low pitch. It is often played simultaneously with another instrument called Ramana. The latter is held in the left hand and delivers a high pitch. They are known as Thon-Ramana and played as a pair in Central Thai classical music, usually in the Khruang Sai Ensemble, a stringed ensemble. [1]

Simon de La Loubère (1642-1729 CE) wrote the following about this instrument in his book ‘A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam’: "The people do also accompany the voice in the evening into the courts of the houses, with akind of drum called Tong. They hold it with the left hand, and strike it continually with the right hand. 'T is an earthen bottle without a bottom, and which instead thereof is covered with a skin tyed to the neck with ropes." [2]

The monastery was between Khlong Nai Kai (present Khlong Makham Riang) and the Front city canal (current Pa Sak River). To its north stood Wat Khok Dokmai (defunct), while in the south was Wat Khok Khamin (defunct). Wat Saphan Ngoen (defunct) was situated in the west, opposite Khlong Nai Kai. Pratu Jao Jan, a large gate in the city wall, was located to its east.

There is still some brickwork visible from the monastic structure. Old bricks are shattered all over the area. After the massive flood of Ayutthaya in 2011 CE, the site was cleaned up, but only some brick foundations are visible.

Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown.


Wat Pa Thon shows on Kaempfer's sketch. Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716 CE) was a medical doctor working for the Dutch VOC (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) who surveyed the city of Ayutthaya in June 1690 CE. The site is east of the Hua Jaka Bridge and Khlong Nai Kai, along Pa Thon Road and 400 paces (300 metres) west of the Jao Jan Gate. There is a swampy area in the north behind the complex. A short path on the east side leads to a wooden bridge over a swamp into a rural area (Campi Deserti - deserted fields). The site is indicated as a double demarcated rectangular complex. The west part shows the presence of two chedis. The east part, about 100 paces (80 m) long, contains the present foundations excavated and restored by the Fine Arts Department.

The monastery is indicated on a 19th-century map of an unknown surveyor. Wat Pa Thon stood close to the eastern city wall. Wat Pho Ngam stood in the north, Wat Khok Khamin in the south and Wat Pa Ek in the west. The monastery is indicated with a single chedi.

Phraya Boran Rachathanin's (PBR) map drafted in 1926 also shows the site but names it ‘Ban Pa Thon’ and thus refers not to a temple. Phraya Boran (1871-1936 CE) was the Superintendent Commissioner of Monthon Ayutthaya from 1925 till 1929 CE. Based on PBR’s map, the structure stood on the north side of a brick road called Pa Thon Road. Wat Khok Dokmai was in the north in an – at that time - an unexcavated area called Bang Ian (2) and Wat Khok Khamin in the south. South of the brick road, there was a canal connecting to Khlong Chakrai Yai.

Wat Pa Thon is in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 16.11" N, 100° 34' 37.91" E.


(1) The word "pa" (ป่า) is usually translated as "forest", but in the Ayutthaya era, it also indicated a place where specific products were made and/or sold. Chris Baker translates it as "a quarter". [3]

(2) ‘Bang’ is used to indicate a village on the banks of a waterway.


[1] Internet source culture.go.th/research/musical retrieved on 16 July 2010.

[2] Loubère, Simon (de la) (1693). A new Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam (2 Tomes). London. Edited by John Villiers. Bangkok: White Lotus, 1986.

[3] Baker, Chris (2011). Before Ayutthaya Fell: Economic Life in an Industrious Society. Markets and Production in the City of Ayutthaya before 1767: Translation and Analysis of Part of the Description of Ayutthaya. Journal of the Siam Society. Vol. 99.