:: NAKHON NAYOK

Nakhon Nayok is another tourist destination not far from Bangkok. The province comes alive during the holidays with tourists. Nakhon Nayok is renowned for it's refreshing waterfalls and abundant varieties of fruits.

Historically, it is believed that the area of Ban Dong Lakhon, which is situated to the south of Nakhon Nayok town, was a Dvaravati settlement, dating back for more than a thousand years. As for the name of "Nakhon Nayok”, records going back to the Ayutthaya's period indicated that it was an Eastern frontier town during the reign of King U-Thong. In 1894, under the royal command of King Rama V, Nakhon Nayok was designated as a part of Prachin Buri province. Eventually, it became a province.


In the past, Nakhon Nayok was called "Ban Na” (village of the rice field). From hearsay, during Ayutthaya period, Nakhon Nayok was just a forested highland, on which farming nor planting was fruitful. Jungle fever was everywhere, thus the town people migrated elsewhere, leaving the place deserted. News of the plight of people reached the King. Subsequently, the King commanded that paddy field taxes be lifted to encourage the people to stay on, which worked, and also enticed the people around the area to migrate to the town. After that, it became a large community and the town was renowned as "Muang Nayok” (the town that paddy (tax) was lifted).

:: Attractions

Khao Yai National Park is the nation's largest national park with Nakhon Nayok forming a quarter of the total park area. The park's dense forests and sprawling high altitude contains a variety of wildlife still in existence in the wild. Several beautiful waterfalls are featured here, including the formidable Heo Narok (Chasm of Hell) which claims at least one elephant death per year since it runs through the wild elephants' natural jungle path. Great for organized jungle treks.

Dating from the Davaravati Period (6 th -13 th century), the Dong Lakhon Ancient City is an oval-walled settlement measuring 600 meters at its widest and 700 meters at its longest. Religious artifacts such as Buddha heads, seals and jewelry have been excavated from this site and are now exhibited at the Prachin Buri National Museum.

The Sarika Waterfall is a popular, picturesque 9-tiered fall cascading down a forested hillside. Another beautiful fall is the Nang Rong Waterfall where water flows over large rocks down multi-levels, with every level containing a pool suitable for swimming.

The extensive botanical garden of privately owned Wang Takhrai's beautiful landscape is decorated with variety of plants and contains a large stream flowing right through it. Popular activities include riding downstream on inflated tire inner tubes, canoeing, and cycling.

 

The Phra Chulachomklao Military Academy is a training center for future military officers. Within the vast property are sites of interest opened to the public, such as a museum, a golf course, and a shooting range. They've recently initiated a ‘boot camp program' which allows the public to experience some of the thrilling military exercises.

Phra Phuddachai is a painting etched on a cliff wall near Khao Cha Ngok. The original painting featured a faint Buddha image was retraced to be more visible by the military in 1942. The locals regard this as one of the province's most sacred sites.

The inside of the city pillar is elaborated decorated with one corner dedicated to Narai, a Hindu god, and another corner to a Buddhist image from the Ayutthaya period.

The Chao Por Khun Dan Shrine is one of the highly respected shrines by the locals. According to legend, he led Nakhon Nayok's local administration under the Ayutthaya era. In 1587, Khmer invaders conquered the towns of Nakhon Nayok and Prachin Buri. Chao Por Khun Dan mobilized the people and successfully expelled the invaders out.

Because of its proximity to a cemetery for Japanese soldiers from WWII, a memorial dedicated to the soldiers is contained within Wat Phramani grounds.

:: City attractions Part 1

San Lak Mueang (City Pillar Shrine) at one time it was a shrine housing a 1-metre wooden column topped with a carving in the form of a lotus bud, situated near the Old City Wall, which at present is the residence of the Provincial Land Assistant as well as the Municipality Sanitary Service Centre. In 1910, the neglected city pillar was enshrined at the Red Building in the women school of Sri Nakhon Nayok School. Later the shrine was rebuilt into an elegant four-cornered pavilion. Nowadays, City Pillar Shrine is the most revered shrine of the townspeople.

Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy , located in Tambon Phrommani, 14 kilometres from Nakhon Nayok town and 75 kilometres from Bangkok using the Bangkok-Ongkharak route. The Academy is adjacent to Khao Cha-ngok Mountain and occupies an area of about 3,000 Rais (1,200 acres). It is a training centre for the Thai military cadet. There are several interesting attractions in the Academy compound, which can be accessed by car. However, if you should prefer the peace and quiet and would rather be close to nature, bicycles can be rented at the tourist centre in the Academy compound.

Attractions in the Chulachomkloa Royal Military Academy include:

King Rama V Monument , situated at the general headquarters of the Academy on Khao Cha-ngok. It was built in honour of and reverence to His Majesty King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V) who was the founder of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. The monument depicts a seated King Chulalongkorn in full Army regalia, bearing the Royal Insignia of the Supreme Commander of the Thai Forces.

 


Circular Pavilion , historically, under the command of Field Marshall Crown Prince Pitsanulok Prachanat, the circular pavilion was built as a recreation area for the military cadet. It enshrines a sculpture of King Rama V.

100 Year Royal Military Academy Museum exhibits biographies of the graduates who performed public services and also displays history of wars, weapons that were used in wars in the past, various uniforms of soldiers of all forces as well as a wax sculpture of King Rama V. It is open daily from 08.30-16.30. Admission is 10 baht.

Shrine of Chao Pho Khun Dan is a revered shrine of the Thais. Historically, Khun Dan was a commander in Nakhon Nayok during the Ayutthaya period. His heroic deed was the expulsion of the Khmer rebels in the year 1587, during the reign of King Naresuan Maharat. Whilst Thailand was involved in a war with the Burmese, the Khmer took the opportunity and invaded the country and herded residents of Prachin Buri back to Cambodia. The Khmers also conquered Prachin Buri and Nakhon Nayok. Khun Dan gathered people, retreated, and set-up camp at Khao Cha-ngok and later defeated and expelled the Khmers from Nakhon Nayok. There is also hearsay about his supernatural powers. During World War II, the Japanese army set-up camp at Khao Cha-ngok. They vandalized and tore down the Shrine. Subsequently, a lot of the Japanese troops died mysteriously. It is believed that the spirit of Khun Dan took his revenge.


Phra Phutthachai or Wat Phra Chai  was formerly named "Wat Khao Cha-ngok”. At first it was a painting on a cliff face of a small hill near Khao Cha-ngok. There is no exact history of Phra Phutthachai, however, but from word of mouth it is said that, originally, the painting depicted various images of Buddha in many postures. In the year of 1942, the Army's Map Department built a marble quarry at the foot of the hill and restored and enhanced the Buddha images. Phra Phutthachai is sacred to the townspeople. Every year during the 3 rd month of the lunar calendar, the Phra Phutthachai Worship festivities is held.