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.
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.
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”.
Hat Chao Samran, this beach stretchs for 2 kms. and is full of white sand.
Wat Khao Takhrao Travel 12 kms. from Phetchaburi to Amphoe Ban Laem and continue for another 6 kms. This temple houses a highly revered sitting Buddha image called "Luang Pho Khao Takhrao". The image was found at the mouth of the Mae Klong River in Samut Songkhram by the villagers of Ban Laem, who migrated from Ban Laem to Samut Songkhram during the fall of Ayutthaya.
Lao Song or Thai Song Dam Tribal Villages These are found in many vicinities in Amphoe Khao Yoi, particularly at Ban Nong Prong and Ban Thap Khang. Their ancestors have migrated from Laos. Their old customs and traditions are occasionally practised. In April, they organize their own social events with entertainment and folk plays.
Tham Khao Yoi This cave is located behind the railway station of Amphoe Khao Yoi, 22 kms. prior to arriving at Phetchaburi town. It houses several Buddha images and was the place where King Mongkut practised meditation while he was in the monkhood.
Wat Kuti This temple at Tambon Bang Khem, north of Amphoe Khao Yoi, houses a Bot or rite hall made entirely from carved teak wood. Its outer surface of the walls was carved into scenes depicting Lord Buddha's story and the door panels into openwork of intwined spray patterns, all with masterly craftsmanship.
Hat Puk Tian This wide and long beach is popular among Thai tourists. It is 7 kms. south of Hat Chao Samran.
Kaeng Krachan Dam This dam is located 53 kms. southwest of the town along the Phetchaburi-Tha Yang-Kaeng Krachan route. The construction was completed in 1966. It is 58 metres high and 760 metres long and 58 metres high, overlooking beautiful scenery of the reservoir and its islands.
Kaeng Krachan National Park This is the most extensive national park of Thailand occupying an area of 2,915 square kilometres and still largely unexplored. The national park office is located, 3 kms. beyond Kaeng Krachan Dam. It was declared a national park on June 12,1981, with clearly defined areas for a reservoir and year round green jungle in the Tanaosri Ranges, which are the origins of many rivers. The area is also rich in flora and fauna and has an 18-level waterfall named Namtok Tho Thip. About 54 kms. from the park office on the Sai Wang Won-Namtok Tho Thip route, there is a viewpoint affording magnificent views of misty mountains in the morning and suitable for bird and butterfly watching. Rafting along the Phetchaburi River takes some 6 hours, passing rapids and several smaller rivers.
Hat Cha-am This beautiful beach, twinned with Hua Hin of Phrachuap Khiri Khan, is located 40 kms. south of the town or 20 kms. north of Hua Hin, and another 2 kms. along an access road. Cha-am was originally a small fishing village. After a royal palace was built near Hua Hin in the reign of King Rama VI, the land was occupied by the royal family and the elite. Today, it is very popular among Thais who love superb seafood and comfortable hotel or bungalow accommodation.
Hup Kraphong Turn right at Km.201-202, 4 kms. before arriving at Cha-am and continue for another 8 kms. This area was originally dry and infertile. In 1962, King Rama IX had an idea to help local farmers and established the Hup Kraphong Rural Development Project with the support of Israel. There were studies on various crops growing in accordance with market requirements. Tourists can buy farm produces as well as fine crafts made of hemp.
Marukhathaiyawan Palace This summer palace, referred to as "the palace of love and hope" is located between Cha-Am and Hua Hin. It was built under the royal command of King Rama VI in the year 1923, with the materials from the demolished Hat Chao Samran Palace. It is a two-storeyed wooden pavilion with series of halls linking each other, and a long corridor leading to the sea. The compound is open everyday, Mon to Fri 8 a.m.-4 p.m. ; Sat, Sun and public holdays 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is 90 baht per person.
BRC Adventure Park at Khao Yoi , Phetchaburi offers sport adventure. It allows visitors to imagin that they are action heroes or Tarzan of the jungle. Sliding, crossing a Tyrolean traverse, via ferrata and abseiling 100 metres are very fun and excite. BRC staffs can take care of you with good technical knowledge if you would like to join sport adventure. The 6 hour activity costs 1,800 baht per person. Contact in advance at BRC Adventure 263 Sirindhorn Road, Bang Phlat, Bangkok 10700 Tel: 0-2434-6100, 0 -2435-5797 Fax: 0-2435-5797
Rafting along Phetchaburi River is another popular exciting activity. The trip from Phetchaburi to the starting point takes 3 hours by 4-wheel drive truck and the raft trip take 5 hours passing a verdant forest and a Karen hilltribe village. Contact Fuji Tour at Tel: 0-2918-6067, Rabiang Rim Nam Tour at Tel: 0-3241- 0695.
Phra Nakhon Khiri Fair Phra Nakhon Khiri, also known as Khao Wang, is an important historical site. During the reign of King Rama IV, it served as the king's out-of-town palace.
To celebrate Phetchaburi's cultural heritage-particular Phra Nakhon Khiri-the people of Phetchaburi hold the Phra Nakhon Khiri Fair regularly around the end of February at Khao Wang Compound.
The five-day fair presents a parade of people enacting the procession of monarchs who ruled Phetchaburi; during the Dvaravati and Srivijaya Periods. Aprat from that, there are exhibitions on Phetchaburi's history and archaeological objects. Cooking demonstrations on the province's famous dishes and sweetmeats are among the main attractions of the fair. Also featured are various kinds of entertainment and contests.
Thai Song Dam Festival , a merit-making at Song Dam Village, Khao Yoi district. Games, entertainment and the authentic cuisine of Thai Song Dam villagers are all on offer. Many villagers wear their traditional costumes – a sight rarely seen today. The festival is held annually on April 18.
Hotels and accommodation
Beach Garden Cha-Am : 949/21 Cha-Am Beach, Amphur Cha-Am [(66 2) 260-2515]
Cha-Am Methavalai Hotel : 220 Ruamchitr Road, Cha-um [(66 32) 433-250-3]
Dusit Resort and Polo Club : 1349 Petchkasem Road Cha-Am, Petchburi [(66 32) 520-009]
Gems Cha- am Hotel : 251 Chao - Lai Road, Cha-am [(66 32) 434-060-79]
Golden San ds : 854/2 Burirom Road, Cha-Am [(66 32) 451-200-8]
Long Beach Cha-Am Hotel : 225/75 Beach Rd, Cha-Am Bay [(66 32) 433-844]
Regent Cha-Am Beach Resort : 849/21 Petchkasem Rd., Cha - Am [(66 32) 451-240-9]
Royal Diamond Hotel : 555 Moo 1 Petchkasem rd., Raisom Muang [(66 32) 411-061-70]
Best 88 : 125/1 Si Ratchaya Road Amphoe Muang [0 3242 6077, 0 3242 4790] : 250 baht
Bua Kaeo : 35/23-26 Phetkasem Road Amphoe Muang [0 3241 0395] : 250 baht
Chom Klao : 1/3 Phongsuriya Road Amphoe Muang [0 3242 5398] : 500 baht
Khao Wang : 174/1-3 Ratwithi Road Amphoe Muang [0 3242 5167 Fax: 0 3242 5167] : 500 baht
P.P. Park : 134 Phetkasem Road Amphoe Muang [0 3242 8386] : 250 baht
Phet Nam Nung : Phetchaburi Rajabhat Institute Amphoe Muang [0 3242 4932] : 500 baht
Phetkasem : 86/1 Phetkasem Road Amphoe Muang [0 3242 5581 Fax: 0 3242 5581] : 500 baht
Royal Diamond : 555 Mu 1 Soi Samchaophet, Phetkasem Road Amphoe Muang [0 3241 1060-70 Fax: 0 3242 4310] : 1,200 baht
Sa-nguan Chai : 27 Ratchadamnoen Road Amphoe Muang [0 3242 5051] : 250 baht
Tek Heng Long : 74-76 Mattayawong Road Amphoe Muang [0 3242 5023] : 250 baht
Chao Samran Sea View : Chao Samran Beach Amphoe Ban Laem [0 3247 8486] : 1,500 baht
Ban Kiang Hat : Chao Samran Beach Amphoe Ban Laem [0 3247 8192] : 800 baht
Ban Rim Hat : Chao Samran Beach Amphoe Ban Laem [0 3247 8260] : 800 baht
Pralom Resort : Chao Samran Beach Amphoe Ban Laem [0 3247 8082-4] : 800 baht
Fuangfa Bungalow : Chao Samran Beach Amphoe Ban Laem [0 3247 8059] : 500 baht
First Home : Chao Samran Beach Amphoe Ban Laem [-] : 200–300 baht
Hat Chao Samran : - [0 3247 8171] : 500 baht
Hat Wong Phrachan : Chao Samran Beach Amphoe Ban Laem [0 3247 8245, 0 3247 8433] : 500 baht
Laem Luang Resort & Condominium : 52/62 Chao Samran Beach, Amphoe Ban Laem [0 3247 8177-9 Bangkok Tel: 0 2392 7805-6] : 1,500-2,499 baht
Rabiang Rua : 80/1-5 Mu 1 Anamai Road Amphoe Ban Laem [0 3247 8070 Bangkok Tel: 0 2933 6093, 0 2538 2667] : 1,200 baht
Cha-am Royal Beach : 82/6 Mu 6 Hat Chao Samran-Cha am Road Amphoe Ban Laem [0 3247 8301–10 Bangkok Tel: 0 2213-3000-1] : 2,000 baht
Casuarina Resort : 284 Tambon Puk Tian Puk Tian Beach [0 3244 3080-2 Bangkok Tel: 0 2658 1769, 0 2254 1410] : 2,500 baht
1736] : 700-900 baht
Hat Phet Resort : Hat Chao-Cha am Sai Mai Road Puk Tian Beach [0 3259 1044-6] : 700 baht
Hat Taweesuk : 33 Mu 3 Puk Tian Beach [01–828–1970] : 800 baht
Phet Rim Than Resort : 225 Mu 4 Tambon Klat Luang Puk Tian Beach [0 32427220, 0 3241 1811, 01–944-3580, 01–946–1914] : 1,500-2,200 baht
Puk Tian Villa : Km.6 Hat Chao-Cha am Sai Mai Road Puk Tian Beach [0 3259 1026-7 Bangkok Tel: 0 2465 5387, 0 2465 7981] : 500 baht
Suan Phet River View Resort : 13 / 1 Mu 7 Tambon Tha Mai Ruak, Khuen Phet-Khao Luk Chang Road Puk Tian Beach (there are camping services and rafting tour) [0 3245 8338-9, 01–981–8405, 01–944–3320 Fax: 0 3245 8338] : www.suanphet.com :: 600 – 900 baht / 350 baht
Ban Phak Chai Hat : Kaeng Krachan Amphoe Kaeng Krachan [0 3245 9053] : 500 baht
Ban Rim Kaeng : 11 Mu 8 Amphoe Kaeng Krachan [0 3245 9246] : 500 baht
Chat Phet Resort : 36 Mu 13 Tambon Kaeng Krachan Amphoe Kaeng Krachan [01–866–8127, 01–866-2874] : 1,000 baht
Irrigation Office's House : Kaeng Krachan Dam Amphoe Kaeng Krachan [0 3246 1400] : 500 baht
EGAT's House : Kaeng Krachan Dam Amphoe Kaeng Krachan [0 3245 9165] : 500 baht
- Amphoe Muang
Jeng Pochana : 65 Phetkasem Rd., Tel: 0-3242-6172
Ded Dee : 407/9 Pong Suriya Rd., Tel: 0-3242-4697
Tianchai Suki : 377-378 Phetkasem Rd., Tel: 0-3242-4643
Nam Tian : 539 Phetkasem Rd., Tel: 0-3242-5121, 0-3241-1023
Ban Kanom Thai : 130 Phetkasem Rd., Tel: 0-3242-8526-7
Puang Petch : 389 Phetkasem Rd., Tel: 0-3242-6753
Petch Pinkaew : 80 Phetkasem Rd., Tel: 0-3242-5110
Wanpen : 166 Rajwithi Rd. Tel: 0-3242-5616
Rungrudee : 236/36 Rajdamnoen Rd.
Sri Sawad : 48 Moo 5, Phetkasem Rd., Tel: 0-3242-5908
- Amphoe Cha-am
Kan Chan : Cha-am Beach, Tel: 0-3247-1314
Krua Song Pee Nong : Naratip Rd.
Khun Jeed : 198 Ruamchit Rd.
Khun Paew : 206 Ruamchit Rd.
Chom Talay : Suan Buak Had, Phetkasem Rd.
Thai-Japan Prung : Phetkasem Rd.
Thai-Italian : 233/14 Ruamchit Rd.
Nipon Seafood : 263/5 Ruamchit Rd.
Pak Klong : 221 Ruamchit Rd.
Poon Sai : Ruamchit Rd.
How to get there
* By car
From Bangkok, drive along Highway No. 35 (Thon Buri-Pak Tho) passing Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram and then Highway No. 4 to Phetchaburi, a total distance of 123 kilometres.
* By bus
Both air conditioned and non air-conditioned buses depart from Southern Bus Termianl for Phetchaburi daily. Contact 0 2435 1199-200 or Phetchaburi Tour, Tel: 0 2435 7408.
* By train
Visitors can take trains from either Hua Lamphong Railway Station or Bangkok Noi Railway Station. Call 1690 for more information.