A Province in the Lower North, Uttradit has a long history, constantly developing through the years since pre-historic times.
The site of the original town, then called Bang Pho Tha It , was located on the right bank of the Nan River. It flourished as a port for goods transportation. As a result, King Rama V elevated its status into a province, and re-named it Uttradit. Literally the Port of the North, Uttradit is located 491 kilometres from Bangkok, and covers an area of 7,838 square kilometers.
Centrally located, the city's main temple, Wat Tha Thanon , houses the sacred bronze Lanna Buddha image of Luang Phor Phet, which is regarded as the province's protector.
To the west of town is Wat Phra Boromathat , commonly known as Wat That Thung Yang. The wiharn (chapel) reflects the Laotian architectural style.
During the times when Burmese armies invaded Ayutthaya, King Fang stationed himself at Wat Phra Fang to monitor their movements for intelligence reporting to the Siamese capital. The carved wooden doors of the temple's wiharn (chapel) are regarded as the nation's second most beautiful carvings and are 5.30 meter tall.
Taking the staircase that ascends 60 m. up, will take you to Wat Phra Tan Sila-ard , situated at the summit of a hill, which houses a sacred Buddha image of the same name. Religious devotees nationwide regularly congregate her to pay their respects and to worship. Nearby is the ancient Wat Phra Yuen Phuttabat Yukon that contains buildings elaborately designed and decorated by highly skilled Chiang Saen artisans, the last surviving samples of their works in modern days.
Phraya Pichai was a courageous Uttaradit native, who frequently fought side by side with King Taksin the Great to expel the Burmese invaders. After the nation was reunited, the king bestowed upon him the governance of Pichai town, and promoted his official title to Phraya Siharad Decho. The Phraya Pichai Dab Hak Memorial was created to honor him, and placed in front of the provincial hall.
Uttaradit Cultural Hall boasts a collection of antiques and artifacts found in Uttaradit, with an abundance of knowledge and proof of historical facts.
Presently a provincial district located only 8 km from the city, Lup Laa town was once enshrouded with mystical tales due to its location within densely forested mountains that overlapped each other, making it indistinguishable and appearing to be'lost', thus its name. Nowadays, the forest are gone and the town is known for its production of intricate, embroidered cloths and brooms made from a local plant.
Nearby, is the spectacular, man-made Mae Phun Waterfall, that has a very natural appearance.
The Sak Yai Forest Park is located in Nambad District. Within the park is the world's largest teak tree ("sak yai") with a circumference of 987 cm and 47 cm tall, estimated to be 1,500 years old.
The abundant number of Bor Lek Namphee mines in Thong San Kun District produced high quality raw iron, that was used to make swords and weapons in older days, and believed to possess magical, protective powers. However, one mine in particular, Bor Phra Saeng , was prohibited from being mined by commoners since the raw iron here was regarded as the best quality, and was reserved for making swords for monarchs only.
Wat Thamma Thipatai at In Chai Mi intersection is where the door panels of the large and ancient Vihan of Wat Phra Fang are kept. The panels, made of wood, measure 2.2 metre wide x 5.3 metre high. The carved design is in the graceful style of the Late Ayutthaya Period. They are rated as the second best such creations, next only to those at Wat Suthat in Bangkok.
Located in town on the Nan River bank is Wat Tha Thanon , which houses Luang Pho Phet , the principal Buddha statue of the province. It is of the Chiang Saen style and cast in bronze.
To the east of town, about three kilometres away on Samranrun Road is Wat Yai Tha Sao. It features and old Vihan with beautiful wood-carved door panels and lintels.
The Praya Phichai Daaphak Memorial is installed in front of the townhall erected in honour of a hero. As governor of Muang Phichai (south of Uttaradit) about 200 years ago during the Thon Buri Period, he valiantly fought the Burmese invaders until one of his swords broke in two, but he prevailed over them. Hence the sobriquet "Phichai of the Broken Sword".
Once the official residence of the provincial governor, the Uttaradit Provincial Cultural Hall houses important historical relics. A major item is the "Yan Mat" , a carved wooden carrying pole made by Late Ayutthaya Period craftsmen.
Wat Klang , about three kiometres from Muang district at Tambon Ban Kae, is an old temple with beautiful plaster bas-reliefs over the Ubosot. Inside, are rare wall murals of the Early Rattanakosin Period style, depicting the Jataka and assemblage of celestial beings.
Amphoe Laplae can be reached from the provincial town by taking Highway No. 102, taking a right turn after about 3 kilometres onto Highway No. 1041 and continuing on for a further 6 kilometres. The site was originally an ancient community during the Ayutthaya Period. It served as a secret hideout for people in Phrae and Nan, who fled from enemies or calamities, as its location was sandwiched between mountains. Today, Laplae is an attractive place to visit with interesting ancient sites and hand crafted materials. It is also a major producer of Langsat, the province's famous fruit.
Wat Phra Borom That Thung Yang is about three kilometres from town on Highway No.102. An old temple, it was once called Wat Mahathat. There is a large, circular-shaped, Ceylonese-style Chedi enshrining a Holy Relic.
The Phra Si Phanommat Memorial in Amphoe Laplae, commemorates a community leader who was highly respected by the townspeople. Of Chinese descent, the tax collector taxed alcohol products, and contributed tremendously to the development of the community, thus being rewarded with the rank of Phra Si Phanommat from King Rama V.
Wat Phra Yun Phutthabat Yukhon , near Wat Phra Borom That Thung Yang, features a Chiang Saen-style Mondop, which covers a pair of holy Footprints. It also houses a Sukhothai-style Buddha statue cast in bronze.
A little further from Wat Phra Yun, some 14 kilometres from town, is Wat Phra Thaen Sila Art. The major feature is the base of a sermon platform built with laterite. The square slab with patterns, is believed to have been made during the Sukhothai Period.
Annual celebrations are held at the three temples in February.
Mae Phun Waterfall , located at Ban Ton Klua, is about twenty kilometres from town. The dam-like barrier creates multi-level cascades amid pleasant natural surroundings.
Sirikit Dam is at Tha Pla district, some 68 kilometres from town on the Uttaradit-Tha Pla Road, and is the country's large earthen dam. Built to dam up the Nan River, the dike is 800 metres long. Beyond the dam is a large lake with beautiful scenery. During the cool season, the attractively landscaped terrain bursts out in a profusion of colourful flowers and blooms. There is accommodation and boating services available.
The Sak Yai Forest Park in Nam Pat district is about 80 kilometres from town on Highways Nos. 1045, 1146 and 1047, and features the largest teak tree in the world. It has a circumference of 9.87 metres, and is believed to be about 1,500 years old. Unfortunately, its top has been broken off by storms, but the trunk still stands.
Bo Lek Nam Phi is the source of the best quality steel, used to fashion swords and weapons in the past. Today, there are still two "wells" in existence. Ores from these two sources, are believed to have been used to make swords for kings only. This ancient site can be reached by going a distance of 42 kilometres to Thong Saen Khan district, and continuing on for another 14 kilometres on Highway 1245.
Langsat Day celebrates the province's famous fruit. Langsat-growing has long been the main occupation of the local people. The fair is held in late September each year featuring exhibitions, contests and parades of floats decorated with fruits and flowers, as well as entertainment.
The Tradition of Buddha's Cremation , a religious ritual seen nowhere else, is held at Wat Phra Borom That Thung Yang after Visakha Bucha day in May. It features the re-enactment of the funeral ceremony for the Lord Buddha.
Hotels and accommodation
- Friday : 172 Borom Art Road Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5544 0292-300] : 750-2,500 baht
- Heaven : 185/1 Chonpratan-Sirikit Rd., Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5541 2866] : 80-100 baht
- Nam Chai : 213/3 Borom Art Road Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5541 1753] : 140-180 baht
- Pho Wanit 1 : 33-35 Phloen Rudi Road Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5541 1008, 442180] : 170-300 baht
- Pho Wanit 2 : 2/1-5 Si Uttra Road Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5541 1499, 0 5544 2181] : 140-300 baht Pho Wanit 3 : 47-51 Charoenrat Road Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5541 1559] : 120-150 baht
- Siharat : 163 Borom Art Road Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5541 4184-5, 0 5541 2223] : 750-2,500 baht
- Thanothai : 149-153 Kasemrat Road Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5541 1669] : 300-350 baht
- Uttaradit 2 : 438 Sila Art Road Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5541 1017, 0 5541 2726] : 150-230 baht
- Wiwat : Borom Art Road Amphoe Mueang [Tel: 0 5541 1778, 0 5541 1791, 0 5544 1966-70] : 240-550 baht
- Local Cuisine
- Khun Yai : 181-3 Suk Kasem Rd., Tel: 0-5541-1937
- Chanchai : 32 Suk Kasem Rd., Tel: 0-5541-1619
- Teerak : 149 Barom Art Rd., Tel: 0-5541-1873
- Ruan Kwan : Sriharat Hotel, Tel: 0-5541-2223
- Lup Laa : 217-219 Suk Kasem Rd., Tel: 0-5541-1180
- Leng Lead Mu : 137 Barom Art Rd., Tel: 0-5541-2053
- Sumalee : 13-14 Jessadabodin Rd, Tel: 0-5541-1797
- Samran : 414/5 Yan Sira Art Rd., Tel: 0-5541-1793
How to get there
* By car
a) From Bangkok, take Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin) and Highway No. 32 to Nakhon Sawan via Ayutthaya, Ang Thong, Sing Buri, Chai Nat, then use Highways No. 117 and No. 11 to Uttaradit via Phitsanulok.
b) From Bangkok, drive to In Buri, then turn onto Highway No. 11 (In Buri-Tak Fa route) and proceed to Uttaradit via Phitsanulok.
* By bus
Air-conditioned buses and non air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok's Mochit 2 Bus Terminal to Uttaradit daily. Call 0 2936 2852-66 or visit www.transport.co.th for more information. Private bus companies which operate daily bus services to Tak are Win Tour (Tel: 0 2936 3753-4), and Choet Chai Tour (Tel: 0 2936 0199).
* By train
Trains depart from Hua Lamphong to Uttaradit every day. Contact Bangkok Railway Station Tel. 1690, 0223 7010, 0 2223 7020 or visit www.srt.or.th for more information.
* By plane
Bangkok Airways flies from Bangkok to Mae Sot, 86 kilometres from Tak. For more information, call 0 2229 3456 - 63 or 0 5564 7225-6 or visit www.bangkokair.com.