:: PHETCHABURI

Phetchaburi , an important royal fort during the Ayutthaya period, now serves as a major stop for sightseeing before continuing down south by road or rail to other beach towns in Southern Thailand. The province is worth visiting for its splendid historical park and ancient temples, wonderful beaches and caves, as well as a great variety of local food.

Phetchaburi occupies an area of 6,225 square kilometres, characterised by thick jungles and mountain ranges lying in the west as a border between Thailand and Myanmar, and 80 km. long coastline towards the Gulf of Thailand in the east. Phetchaburi is divided into 8 districts (Amphoes): Muang Phetchaburi, Ban Laem, Ban Lat, Cha-am, Kaeng Krachan, Khao Yoi, Nong Ya Plong and Tha Yang.


:: Attractions

The main town of Phetchaburi is dominated by the 19 th century Phra Nakorn Khiri (City on the Mountain), or Khao Wang (Palace Hill), a palace complex perched on top of 3 peaks built by King Rama IV. The extravagant use of European, Chinese and Japanese architectural styles are set among natural woods, rocks and caverns. Take a strenuous hike up or opt for the cable car ride up the steep ascent. Another palace built by King Rama IV is the Baan Puen Palace (Cannon Palace), located in Phetchaburi town. The European style palace served as a rainy retreat. The rooms were nicely adorned with colorful tiles, with a different color theme for each main room. Popular filming location.

Slightly north of that is the Khao Luang Cave containing stalactites, chedis and Buddha images. A concrete stairway leads down to the biggest and most important cave in Phetchaburi, a favorite of King Rama IV. The cavern's beauty was intensified by sunlight streaming in from a large opening above.

The only purpose-built health resort in Thailand is the Chiva-Som (Haven of Life) , located near King's summer palace. The ambience is one of scrupulously maintained elegance where patrons pursue the state of well being. VIPs have included Steven Segal and other world celebrities.

 

Maruekathayawan Palace (Palace of Love and Hope) was the summer palace of King Rama VI and located between Cha-am and Hua Hin. The elongated, grand golden teak building was designed by an Italian architect and constructed in 16 days. The wooden halls, verandas, and royal chambers are cool and airy and painted in pastel colors, with simple decorations.

Excellent trail hiking is possible at the Kaeng Krachan National Park , Thailand's largest park which covers nearly half of Phetchaburi Province. It contains some of the most pristine tropical evergreen forest and at least 40 species of large, wild animals.

:: City Attractions


Wat Mahathat Worawihan
This old temple is situated by the Phetchaburi River in the town centre. There is a five-topped pagoda constructed in accordance with the Mahayana concept housing Lord Buddha's relics. The stucco designs decorated on the vihara and the ubosot reflect the excellent skill of local craftsmen.

Khao Bandai It
This hill is 121 metres high and just 2 kms. south of Khao Wang. It is the site of an ancient temple of the Ayutthaya Period. There are several caves called Tham Prathum, Tham Phra Chao Sua, and Tham Phra Phuttha Saiyat.

Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park This covers a hilly area with an old palace and historical temples in the vicinity of the town. This summer palace was built by King Rama IV in 1860. It was named " Phra Nakhon Khiri Palace", but the folk usually call it "Khao Wang”. It consists of royal halls, temples and groups of buildings, constructed mostly in harmonious Thai, Western neoclassic and Chinese architectural styles. The Phra Nakhon Khiri Museum on the western hilltop exhibits some royal paraphernalia of King Rama IV and King Rama V, decorative sculptures, and ceramics from China, Japan and Europe. To reach the hilltop, one can either walk or take a cable car.

Tham Khao Luang Located 5 kms. north of Khao Wang, this cave houses a Buddha image cast by the royal command of King Rama V as a dedication to King Rama III and King Rama IV.

At the foot of the Khao Luang Hill, there is a large monastery called "Wat Tham Klaep” or Wat Bun-thawi which has a very large hall and a chapel with beautifully carved door panels.

 

Wat Yai Suwannaram This is another important temple in the town, situated 1 km. east of the city hall. The main shrine hall has no windows. It contains 300-year-old mural paintings of mythical angels. The multi-purpose hall, once located in Ayutthaya's Grand Palace, was entirely built of teak wood and decorated with fine carving work especially at the door panels. The hall also houses a preaching throne with intricate wood carvings and gold gilt works of Bangkok design.

Wat Kamphaeng Lang This temple, situated in the town, was originally a Khmer place of worship. It was later turned into a Buddhist temple and a shrine hall was constructed. However, the outlook of the place has not much changed due to the existence of sandstone walls and four Khmer style pagodas.

Phra Ram Ratchaniwet This palace of European architectural style is originally called "Wang Ban Pun". It is situated in the south of the town. King Rama V commanded it built as a rainy season palace in 1916. It was used to welcome and accommodate state visitors during the reign of King Rama VI.

Hat Chao Samran This historic beach is 15 kms. southeast of the town. Legend says that King Naresuan the Great and King Eka Thotsarot made several royal visits here and highly appreciated its beauty. The villagers thus rendered it a name "Hat Chao Samran", which means "Beach of Royal Leisure”. King Rama IV ordered a seaside palace built at this beach in 1918 and called it "Hat Chao Samran Palace”.