:: PHETCHABUN

Situated right in the heart of the country some 346 kilometres from Bangkok, Phetchabun borders on three regions, the North, the Central and the Northeast. The central part of the province is on the Pa Sak river basin with mountain ranges running along both the western and eastern sectors. Because of the fertility of the land, Phetchabun has always been an agriculturally productive area. The very name of the province actually means the land of crops and foods.

Today, Phetchabun is a province with rich tourism potential. Its climate is pleasant due to the mountainous and forested areas, and it has a history of richness and prosperity for more than 1,400 years.

:: Attractions

The highly revered Phra Phut Maha Thammaracha is considered to be the city's protector and housed at Wat Traiphum , near the heart of the city. The locals found the ornamental Lopburi-style Buddha image in the Pasak River in front of the temple, and conducted a religious ceremony to invite the image to reside at the temple. Later, it disappeared but was eventually found at the bottom of the Pasak River not far from the original site, resulting in an annual celebration.

The city's principal and oldest temple is Wat Mahathat. Believed to date from the Sukhothai era, it contains a 14th century, Sukhothai-style chedi. When the Fine Arts Department renovated the chedi in 1967, they discovered numerous Buddha images from many eras. Also housed within the temple grounds are 2 Buddha images from the U-Thong period.

Srithep City was once a prosperous city during the Khmer era 1,000 years ago. Nowadays, many ruined structures are all that is left as evidence of the once great city

Once the nation's most famous orange orchard, the Chun Mai Thai Company altered their business direction to growing mulberry trees for silk production and raising thoroughbred racehorses.

The Huay Pa Daeng Reservoir , known locally as Phetchabun Lake, is a beautiful and peaceful place for relaxing, especially at dusk and sunset.

The renowned BN Plantation grows fruits, vegetables and flowers suitable for chilly climates, and is open for public visits to view the agricultural process and for purchase of agricultural products.

The Nam Nao (Cold Water) National Park features spectacular waterfalls, caves, various flora and faunas and is a haven for bird watchers. It was originally called'Pa Muang Nao' (Chilly Forest) because of its consistently cool temperature.

Within the Nam Nao National Park, the Haew Sai Waterfall (Sandy Chasm Fall) originated from a sandy stream that is the natural boundary between the province's Lomkao District and Konsan District in Chaiyaphum Province. The 20-m tall fall cascades into a pool suitable for swimming with both banks covered by large, shady trees.

The rolling green hills, similar to those in Switzerland, of Khao Kor was once a major clash-point, between the Thai military and the Communist forces that hid and resided among the densely forested hills. Sites of interest include the different viewing points, the Jeen Haw Memorial, the Weapons Museum, a Khao Kor Memorial dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives fighting here, the Khao Kor Royal Palace, Sridit Falls, Rattanai Reservoir, Khao Kor open zoo, and Nern Mahasachan (Amazing Cliff).

Spreading across parts of Phitsanulok, Phetchabun and Loei provinces, the terrain of scenically beautiful Phu Hin Rongkla National Park consists largely of large areas of rocky plateaus in various forms, such as bumpy plateaus to plateaus crisscrossed with deep crevices and cracks. Highlights include an unusual open-air musuem with exhibits of the Communist camp based here in the 1960s and 70s. After many years of bombing and raids, the communist stronghold fell to the Thai government in 1982 and was opened as a national park 2 years later. The highest peak, Phu Man Khao, rises to a height of 1,620 m.

:: City Attractions

The Phetchabun City Pillar Shrine, was brought over from the ancient town of Si Thep, and is considered the oldest such structure in Thailand.

Wat Mahathat, on Nikon Bamrung Road in town, houses a number of ancient chedis of the Sukhothai style.

Wat Trai
P hum   on Phetcharat Road features a Buddha statue called Phra Buddha Mahadhamaracha cast in the ornamental Lop Buri style. The ritual bathing of the Buddha image or the traditional Um Phra Dam Nam ceremony, is held during September each year.

The Hua i Pa Dang Reservoir was created by the dam constructed to block the waterway to the west of town for irrigation purposes. Some 8 kilometr e s from town on Highway No. 2006, it is a pleasant place for recreation and picnics with scenic natural views in the background, particularly in the morning and late afternoon.

Ta t Mok National Park has a huge waterfall fed by streams flowing down cracks and crevices of the mountains creating a beautiful 12-level fall. On both sides of the trails leading up to it are large, shady trees providing a pleasant surrounding. To reach the park, take off from town past the town hall to the east for some 15 k ilometres to Ban Chaliang La p. Then, take a right turn onto Highway No. 2275. After just 300 met re s is a left fork leading to an access to a steep slope for a distance of 20 kilometres. From here, it takes another 1.8 k ilometres on foot to arrive at the waterfall.