Considered to be centrally located in Thailand, Chaiyaphum has an abundance of natural attractions and is famous for its beautiful flower-fields, particularly the Krachiao Flower Blooming Festival during the months of June-July. Chaiyaphum's size, with majority of it being forests and mountains, ranks third in the region and eighth in the country.

The town was founded by a group of Vientiane immigrants, led by Nai Lae, a nobleman, during the beginning of the Rattanakosin era over 2 centuries ago. Within a decade, King Rama III promoted Nai Lae to Phraya Phakdi Chumphon and made him the city's first lord. When the Lord of Vientiane led a rebellion against King Rama III in 1826, he helped Khunying Mo successfully defend Nakhon Ratchasima from the seige. Chaiyaphum is 342 kilometres from Bangkok and has an area of 12,778 square kilometres.

:: Attractions

Phraya Pakdi Chumpon (Laa) Monument was created to honor the town's founding father, fondly called Chao Phraya Laa (King Laa).

On the bank of the Nong Pla Tao (Old Fish Lake), the King Phraya Laa Shrine is located under a large tamarind tree. Legend has it that King Laa passed away at this site after fighting with the Laos Vientiane army in 1826.

Various, odd shapes and sizes of boulders are scattered through out the park, from which Pa Hin Ngam (Beautiful Rock Forest) National Park derived its name. During the beginning of the rainy season, the purplish pink-colored krachew flowers are in full bloom, adding a touch of color to the green meadows and hills.

The Thad Thone National Park features the spectacular sights of Thad Thone Waterfall cascading down multi-levels of vast expanses of broad, rocky plateaus, the Pa Euang Falls, and the Thad Fah Falls.

Built in the 14th century, the Khmer Prang Ku complex houses a Dvaravati Buddha image that is situated in front of the entrance of the central sanctuary, the ancient Prang Pratarn.

Ban Kawao (Kawao Village) is renown for weaving fine silk and cotton fabrics with elaborate designs, especially the mudmee cloth , which uses a special tie-dying technique. During the months of October to January, large groups of migratory birds often flock to the nearby lake of Nong Nam Yai.

Tung Kamung is large expanses of vividly green, grassy meadows that encircles a mountain, covering an area of 1 million rais. Commonly called 'Ya Sabut' (Waving Grass), the area is inhabited by many animals and birds, and has now become H.R.H. the Queen's Wildlife Preservation Project.

The Chulabhorn Dam (Nam Phrom Dam) obstructs the flow of the Phrom River within the Khun Pai Mountains. The earthen dam, similar to Sirikit Dam, is used for producing electricity, irrigation purposes and as a freshwater breeding ground. Surrounded by high mountains and dense jungles, a cool climate prevails throughout the year. Part of the beautiful scenery includes a view of the Royal Residential Palace and a cold weather cultivation research center.

Covering an area of 1,560 sq km, the Phu Khiew (Green Mountain) Wildlife Sanctuary consists of a lush forest where the Phrom Stream, Sapoung Stream, and the Chi River originates. Aside from the wildlife, there are over 350 different bird species living here.

Also located in Phu Khiew District, the Phra That Nong Sarm Muen (Thirty Thousand Lake Chedi), derived its name from the local lake. Considered one of the most elegant and well-preserved chedis of its kind, it dates back from the 17th-18th century.

:: City attraction

Tat Ton National Park covers some parts of Phu Laen Kha mountain range. To get there, take Highway No. 2051 for 21 kilometres. Tat Ton waterfall is an important tourist spot. The water here cascades down wide rock plateaus, creating breathtaking scenery, especially in the rainy season when there is plenty of water. The park also has Pha Iang waterfall , which is 32 kilometres from the city on the Chaiyaphum-Nong Bua Daeng Road, and Tat Fa waterfall , which is 25 kilometres from the city on the Chaiyaphum-Kaeng Khro Road.

Phraya Phakdi Chumphon monument is at Sun Ratchakan roundabout on the way into the city. The people of Chaiyaphum built it to honour the city's founder.

Chao Pho Phraya Lae shrine is on the bank of Nong Pla Thao, 3 kilometres from the city, on the way to Ban Khwao. There is a large tamarind tree on the bank, which is said to be where Chao Phraya Lae died fighting Vientiane soldiers in 1826. Prang Ku is at Ban Nong Bua, Tambon Nai Muang, 3 kilometres from the city. Prang Ku is a Khmer-style ancient site built in the 18 th Buddhist century. The main pagoda is square with a length of 5 metres on each side. A stone Buddha image in the meditation posture from the Dvaravati period that was moved from elsewhere sits beside it. A building is situated in front of the pagoda surrounded by a wall. Everything is made of laterite except for the door and window frames, the lintel and columns that are made of sandstone. Outside the wall is a pool in perfect condition.

Phu Phra at Ban Kanaisa, Tambon Na Sieo, is a small mountain with drawings of Buddha images from the U Thong period on the face of a cliff. They date from the 13 th -14 th century, around the early Ayutthaya period. A 3-day fair to pay homage to the drawings is held every April. To get there, take Highway No. 201 (Chaiyaphum-Phu Khiao) for 13 kilometres, then turn left onto the Na Sieo-Huai Chan Road and drive for 6 kilometres.