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.
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.
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 Phum 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 Lap. 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.
Phu Hin Rong Kla is a popular destination located along the Phitsanulok and Phetchabun border s and offers views of exotic scenery. It was once the base of communist insurgents fighting against the government some twenty years ago.
The Pho Khun Pha Muang Memorial at Lom Sak district in the north of Phetchabun commemorates this former ruler of the area, which was a contemporary site of the Sukhothai period.
Lom Sak District is the starting point to Phu Hin Rong Kla to the west. As the route is quite steep, extreme care should be exercised when driving.
Some 130 k ilometres south of Phetchabun on Highway No. 21, and with another 9 k ilometres after a left turn, is the Si Thep Historical Park. Si Thep is an ancient town where many architectural structures still remain, indicative of its past prosperity during the 11 th -18 th Buddhist Centuries. It was once the cent re of contact between the Dvaravati kingdom in the Central Plain basin and the Khmer kingdom in the Northeast. A twin-city, there were over one hundred ancient sites all built with bricks and laterite, most of which have crumbled. There are also remains of several ponds spread out all over the area. Most of the ancient relics recovered are parts of architectural structures such as elaborate lintels, plastered designs and Sema stone (used to mark out the limits of Buddhist temples), and human skeletons still adorned with ornamental pieces.
Rai B.N. is a private agricultural plantation growing cold-climate crops, including various flowers which alternately bloom throughout the year. It is situated on the route to Khao K h o 3 k ilometres from Ban Camp Son, and offers fruit-based items for sale.
Khao Kho is made up of mountain ranges to the northwest of town about 1,174 met re s above mean sea level covered in the main by deciduous plants. Very cold during November-February, it once was the base from where communist insurgents conducted their struggles against the authorities from 1968-1982. Today it is accessible via two routes; off H ighway No. 12 (Phitsa nu lok - Lom Sak) at Ban Camp Son with a further distance of 30 k ilometres, or off highway No. 21 at Ban Na Ngua, about 13 k ilometres from town with a further distance of 30 k ilometres. Both routes wind through considerably steep terrain. Interesting places include various viewing points, remains of communist bases and buildings, a war memorial, arms museum, and a C hedi containing Holy Relics, and the Si Dit Waterfall.
The Nam Nao National Park is an immense tract of forest still in perfect condition. With pineries, grasslands and virgin jungles, it is habitat to large number of animals and more than 100 species of birds. During December-January, the mercury could drop to as low as 2-5 degrees Celsius. The park headquarters is about 50 k ilometres to the west of Lom Sak district on Highway No. 12. Points of interest are spread out. Attractions reached by taking Highway No. 12 (Lom Sak-Chum P hae) include:-
Tham Pha Hong , 300 meters off the main road at Km.39 to the north. Within the caves are formations of stalactites and stalagmites. It is also a point from which to view the scenery at sunset.
Ban Paek Pinery, 5 k ilometres by foot off the main road at Km.49.
Phu Kum Khao Pinery , 15 k ilometres off the main road at Km.53. Densely packed pine trees cover areas of about 10 sq uare kilometres.
Heo Sai & Sai Thong Waterfalls are both located on the same route, and can be reached on foot for a distance of 1 kilometre and 1.5 k ilometres respectively, off the main road at Km. 67.
There are also attractions on H ighway No. 2216 (Lom Kao - Hua i Sanam Sai), such as Pha Lom - Pha Kong Cliffs which are 5 k ilometres from the main road at Km. 40, and the Tham Yai Nam Nao cave near Km. 60.
Sweet Tamarind Day, Sweet tamarind is grown mostly in Phetchaboon. Sweet Tamarind Day is thus organised in Phetchaboon to celebrate the harvest of this fruit. This day is also called Phetchaboon's Agricultural Day. During the festival, farmers bring their sweet tamarind to sell at reasonable prices to Phetchaboon's provincial athletic field, where contests to determine the best sweet tamarind and other crops are held. Besides this, there are other agricultural exhibitions and entertainment organised during the event.
The Bathing of Phra Buddha Mahadhamaracha Festival or Um Phra Dam Nam Ceremony, is held annually on the fifteenth day of the waning moon in the 10 th lunar month, or during the Sat Thai period in September. Phra Buddha Mahadhamaracha is a highly revered ancient Buddha image of Phetchaboon. The image was found in the Pasak River by a group of farmers four hundred years ago, and was taken to Wat Trai Phum. According to legend, the Buddha image disappeared twice from the temple and was later found in the river. It was said that the Buddha image itself had wandered out of the temple. Therefore, the ritual bathing ceremony is held. The ceremony starts at 1 p.m. The image is carried around town and put under a tent in Wat Trai Phum, so Buddhists can pay respect to it and stick gold leaf on its body. In the evening, prayers are chanted. At night, there are various kinds of entertainment. The next morning, people make merit as it is Sat Thai Day. Foods, including Krayasat, and other necessities are given to monks. The Buddha image is then taken and immersed in the Pasak River by the governor of Phetchabun, and traditional dances are performed to show respect to it. After the ceremony, the water in the river is regarded as sacred. As a result, plople swim in it or take the water to drink before the boat racing begins.
Hotels and accommodation
- Ban Phak Thahan Ma : Km. 28, Highway No.2196 Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 56 701778, 0 5672 2011] : 400-800 baht
- Ban Rim Doi Resort : Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 5656 1083]
- Ban Suan Kaset : Amphoe Khao Kho : 600 baht
- Bankalow Sawasdee : 45 San kumueang Road Tambon Nai Mueang Amphoe Muang [Tel. 0 5672 1850, 0 5672 1377] : 190-370 baht
- Burapha : 308 Saraburi-Lom Kao Road Amphoe Muang [Tel. 0 5671 1155-9, 0 5672 2633-4 Fax. 0 5672 1383, 0 5672 2636] : 200-1,530 baht
- Chuan Chom Resort : 146 Mu 4 Tambon Thung Sa-mo Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 5670 2255, 01-826-5273] : 1,000-3,600 baht
- Khao Kho Highland Resort : 27 MU 9 Tambon Camp Son Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 56 740471, 0 5675 0495 Bangkok Tel: 0 2530-0990, 0-2539-7077, 0-2934-7344 ext.189-190]
- Khao Kho Lodge : Mu 8 Tambon Khao Kho Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 5672 8100-1, 01-227-1965] : 500-1,500 baht
- Khao Kho Resort : 46 Mu 6 Tambon Camp Son Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 5675 0071-3 Bangkok Tel: 0-2928-8592, 0-2928-8848] : 350-450 baht
- Khao Kho Talay Phu : 137 Mu 5 Tambon Thung Sa-mo Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel. 0 567 50061-2 Fax. 0 5675 0063 Bangkok Tel. 0-2940-7311-2 Fax. 0-2561-4297] : 1,400-3,000 baht
- Khao Kho Valley : 65 Mu 6 Tambon Camp Son Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 5675 0262, 0 5675 0291 Fax: 0 5675 0272 Bangkok Tel: 0-2331-3447-8, 0-2741-7604] : 1,000-12,000 baht
- Khaokho Talay Pu : 137 Moo 5, Tungsamho, Khaokho [(66 56) 750-061-2]
- Kosit Hill : 39 Samakhichai Road, Tambon Nai Mueang Amphoe Muang [Tel. 0 5672 2370-2, 0 5674 3642-5 fax. 0 5672 2370] : 900-3,200 baht
- Lom Kao Swiss Hill Resort : 106 Mu 5 Tambon Na ko Amphoe Lom Kao [Tel. 0 1227 4078 Bangkok Tel: 0 2279 6312, 0 1279 6359 fax. 0 2271-2871] : 900 baht, 3,000 baht
- Lom Sak Nattirat Grand Hotal : 163/10 Khotchasani Road Amphoe Lom Sak [Tel: 0 5674 5021-8 Fax: 0 5674 5029] : 800-3,000 baht
- Mathaneedol : 165 Tambon Camp Son Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 1910 0376 Bangkok Tel: 0 2934 8127, 0 1406 0564] : 1,500 baht
- Mountain Park International Golf and Resort : 123 Mu 7 Tambon Camp Son, Km.103 Phitsanulok-Lom Sak Road Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 5675 0445-7 Bangkok Tel: 0 2279 8791-3] : 1,000-4,200 baht
- Nam Nao National Park : Amphoe Nam Nao [Tel: 0 5672 9002 Bangkok Tel: 0 2561 4292 ??? 724-5, 02579-7223, 0 2579 5734] : 800-3,000 baht
- Nattirat : 163/10 Khotchasani Road Amphoe Lom Sak [Tel: 0 5674 5022-5, 0 5670 1693-4 Fax: 0 5674 5029] : 200-350 baht
- Phet Hotel : 59 Phraphutthabat Road, Tambon Nai Mueang Amphoe Muang [Tel. 0 5671 1275] : 120-190 baht
- Phet Resot : KM. 12 Lom Sak -Chumphae Road Amphoe Khao Kho : 350-600 baht
- Phetchabun Garden Hill Resort : 47 Mu 18 Tambon Kanchu Amphoe Bung Sampan [Tel: 0 5673 1282, 056791607 Fax: 0 56 791607, 056731282 Bangkok Tel: 0 2745 1666-9] : 1,100 baht, 4,800 baht
- Phetchabun Hotel :102/1 San Khu Mueang Road, Tambon Nai Mueang Amphoe Muang : 100-160 baht
- Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park : Amphoe Lom Sak [Tel: 0 5623 3520 Bangkok Tel: 0 2561 4292 ext. 724-5, 579-7223, 579-5734] : 1,600 baht, Tent: 800 baht
- Phu Phet Hill Resort : 140 Tambon Thung Sa-mo Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 5675 0398 Bangkok Tel: 0 2576-1396-9, 0 2576 1617] : 1,600-2,000 baht
- Piam Suk Swiss Hill Resort : Tambon Camp Son Amphoe Khoa Kho [Bangkok Tel: 0 2447-0698-9, 0 2447-1292] : 800-1,500 baht
- Ruan Doem Khao Kho Resort : 142 Mu 4 Talat Thung Samo Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel. 01-806-7746, 01-753-8913 Bangkok Tel: 0 2 993-5056-7] : 2,000-3,500 baht
- Ruan Phak Phu Tit Tam : beside Khao Kho Royal Pavilion Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 5672 1934-6 ext. 3120, 0 5672 2011] : 300 baht
- Siam : 21 San Khu Mueang Road, Tambon Nai Mueang Amphoe Muang [Tel. 0 5671 1301 fax. 0 5672 1551] : 210-350 baht
- Sirirot : 104 Phetcharoen Road,Tambon Nai Mueang Amphoe Muang [Tel. 0 5671 1037] : 100 baht
- The Imperial Phu Kaew Hill Resort : 99 Mu14 Tambon Camp Son Amphoe Khao Kho [Tel: 0 5675 0056-8 Bangkok Tel: 0 2 261-9000 Fax: 0 2551-9304-5] : 4,120-5,300 baht
- Amphoe Muang
- Kam Poo House : 515 Phet Charoen Rd., Tel: 0-5672-0697, 0-5671-1077
- Chang Meng Pochana : 23-25 Kasemrat Rd., Tel: 0-5671-1326
- Samthong : 49/2 Klang Muang Pattana Rd., Tel: 0-5672-1269
- Tamarind Coffeshop : Burapa Hotel, Tel: 0-5672-1384, 0-5672-2633-4
- Tiew Pai : Kosit Hill Hotel, Tel: 0-5672-2370-2
- Montri : 54/21 San Kumuang Rd., Tel: 0-5671-1338
- Sathaphon : 13 Nikorn Bumrung Road, Tel: 0 5671 1320
- lung Tong : Lak Mueang Road, Tel: 0 5672 1976, 0 5674 8104
- Den Chai Kratai Phueak : Saraburi- Lom Kao Raod, Tel: 0 5672 2582, 0 5672 1225
- Khao Kho
- Ton Kho : Phu Phet Hill Resort, 104 Tambon Thung Sa-mo, Tel: 0 5675 0398 Amphoe Lom Sak
- Lab Pet Nai Prasit : 11 Pitak Road, Near Post Office
- Krua Fueng Fa : 1 Mu 4 Saraburi- Lom Kao Road, Tel: 0 5670 1588
- Daivo : 17/1-19/1 Khotchaseni Road, Tel: 0 5670 1129, 0 5670 1519
- Bua Thong : 49 Khotchaseni Road, Tel: 0 5670 1435
- Mueang Lom : 22/13-14 Samakkhichai Road, Tel: 0 5670 1105, 0 5670 1646
- Ruen Thip : 74 Mu 4 Tambon Nong Khwai, Tel: 0 5670 1184, 0 5674 5537 Amphoe Lom Kao
- Khanom Chin Pa Sinrong : 319 Naruephat Road, Tambon Lom Kao, Tel: 0 5670 9579 Amphoe Wichian Buri
- Kai Yang Ta Pae 2 : 145 Mu 1 Tambon Sa Pradu, Tel: 0 5656 7017
- Kai Yang Rot Thip : Wichian Buri Junction, Tel: 0 5679 1354 Amphoe Bung Sampan
How to get there
* By car
From Bangkok, drive along Highway No. 1 passing Saraburi to Phu Khae (Km. 125), turn right into Highway No. 21 and proceed to Phetchabun via Chai Badan, Si Thep and Wichian Buri, a total distance of 346 kilometres.
* By bus
Transport Co. Ltd. operates both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned bus services along the Bangkok-Phetchabun-Lom Sak route. Buses depart from Bangkok's Mochit 2 Bus Terminal daily. Call 0 2936 2852-66 for more information. Private bus companies are, Phet Tour, Tel: 0 2936 3230 and Thin Siam Tour, Tel: 0 2936 0500.
* By plane
Thai Airways flies from Bangkok to Phetchabun on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 0-2280-0060, 0-2628-2000 or view their website at www.thaiairways.com
PBAir provides flight services from Bangkok to Phetchabun every Friday and Sunday. For more information, contact their Bangkok office at tel. 0 2261 0220-5.