The San Pakoy area is an area situated opposite to Wat Gate area and with Charoen Mueang road in the middle. Before the arrival of the railway to Chiang Mai this area was only a small community. The first community to settle here was the Ban Thasatoy community at the back of the present San Pakoy market. This market features in our Chiang Mai markets tour.
With the arrival of the railway to Chiang Mai in 1922 a lot of Chinese from Bangkok moved into the San Pakoy area to make a living. It became an important business center in the city. Shops were on both sides of Charoen Mueang road making it the center for sending goods to Bangkok. The agricultural products from the surrounding areas of Chiang Mai were rice, pigs, tobacco and sealing wax. The community was also the site for distributing goods from Bangkok to other markets around Chiang Mai. One native of Chiang Mai mentioned that at that time San Pakoy area was filled with warehouses for transporting goods to other areas and it was always busy with buyers and ox carts which could be hired to haul goods. The majority of businesses was owned by Chinese business men, like Mr.Song Sae-ung (Ungkhapairoj). He remembers that traveled by train to Bangkok to buy salt, sugar and shrimp paste to be sold at his shop. Merchants from the Ton Lam Yai market and other surrounding markets would come to purchase his goods. Khun Anukornburee (an ancestor of Nimakorn family) started Leochunlee shop by selling bicycles shipped from Bangkok by rail.
The important center of this area was Kad San Pakoy (San Pakoy market). There are no documents of when this market was established. However, it is believed that it might have been before 1926 because when King Rama VII visited Chiang Mai, the market already existed. There is evidence showing that there was a joint investment between Pra Pijitosod, Khun Anupolnakorn and Major General Anirutteawa (ML Feun Puengboon). Nowadays the San Pakoy market is well-known for delicious food, especially Chinese. There are shops on both sides of Charoen Mueang road. The famous Salapao Wikul (Chinese steamed bun) and Charoen Mueang restaurant can also be found here.
The center for Buddhists in this area is the San Pakoy temple. It is situated at the side of San Pakoy market. Originally, its name was Wat Nang Leo and was located on the Ping river bank. After the temple was flooded it was moved to the present site. It was renamed Wat San Pakoy. There is evidence showing that the chedi in this temple was built in the era of Prachao Kawirolot Suriyawong and the ceremony for the chedi was in 1868. From the survey of this temple it was found that the present viharn was completed on 14 March, 1929.
Though this area has a separate Chinese temple for Chinese merchants it is understood that this temple is also the center for Chinese Buddhists in the area. The San Pakoy area met its decline when the road between Bangkok and Chiang Mai was completed. Road transportation replaced the railway because it was faster and because the train ran only two days a week. Furthermore, having cars meant that people could go directly to the production sites without having to go through the middlemen at San Pakoy market anymore.