Thailand, the global capital for unpronounceable names, is also a country so rich in culture and history that it can be felt the moment you land. This culture is evident in the people. It’s the way they greet you, their welcoming spirit. It’s in their food, the way it’s prepared and eaten. And, of course, this depth in history can be seen in their architecture. With numerous temples defying time, the structures pose a great opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history of the country.
Thailand is divided into provinces but we’ll zero in on one, Phetchabun. Phetcha is a Sanskrit word meaning diamond and bun means perfect. The name, therefore, means, Perfect Diamond. And this province is truly Thailand’s perfect diamond as it boasts pristine forests, rivers and mountains which make up a host of exciting things to do. Here’s our list of things to do in Phetchabun.
1. A visit to the Wat Pha Sorn Kaew Temple
Sitting atop a hill against a backdrop of stunning mountain ranges is the Wat Pha Sorn Kaew Temple. This is one of Thailand’s best-kept secrets, a beautiful work of art. As you approach this attraction, five figures can be discerned from a distance. These are five statues of the Buddha, each of a different size. A sight to behold, these statues look majestic amongst the mountains. Wat Pha Sorn Kaew Temple is arguably Thailand’s most attractive temple.
A feature that gives it its verve is a colorful mosaic wall that bears a tapestry of tiles and ornaments. The temple is surrounded by nature and is set in a very tranquil location earning it the reputation of being a center for meditation. There currently isn’t public transport to the site as the temple doesn’t receive many visitors. However, using private transportation, Wat Pha Sorn Kaew is easily accessible. Entrance is also free for all but there’s no harm in leaving a donation to help maintain this gorgeous place.
Wat Pha Sorn Kaew Temple
Address: 95 Moo 7, Baan Thang Daeng, Khaem Son 67280, Thailand
Website: Wat Pha Sorn Kaew
2. Enjoy the scenery and wildlife at the Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
Being predominantly mountainous, this park is perfect for hikers. However, it’s also endowed with a high population of bird life, boasting hundreds of different bird species. Because of this, bird watchers enjoy spending time at this park. This paradise is replete with the best that nature has to offer. Waterfalls, in all their splendor, pepper the park, each one easily accessible via the hiking trails. And as you ascend higher, various viewpoints are set up, enabling you to behold the picturesque scenery that surrounds the park.
To enjoy all this splendor, entrance fees of 500 THB (USD 15) for adults and 250 THB (USD 7) for children are paid at the gate. And if you’re going to be using your car an additional 30 THB (USD 1) is paid.
Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
Address: National Highway 2331, Tambon Noen Phoem, Nakhon Thai Chang Wat Phitsanulok 65120, Thailand
Website: Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
3. Visit the Weapon Museum in Khao Kho District
Used as a base to set up cannons during the fight against the communists, it was transformed into a weapons museum at the end of the war. Standing on Khao Kho Mountain, the museum is a site rich in lessons on history. Also known as Itti Base, this is home to weapons of various kinds, some set outdoors and some within the museum building. On exhibition is a fighter plane, cannons, an infantry fighting vehicle, tanks and bunkers. And if you’d like a lecture on the deep history of this place, a lecturer is on hand to demystify the whole subject. This trip to the past will cost you just 10 THB, about 30 US cents.
Address: Highway 2196, Khao Kho 67270, Thailand
Website: Weapon Museum
4. A relaxing trek through Thung Salaeng Luang National Park
This park is the nature lover’s paradise. Consisting of untampered forests and a rich assortment of animal and bird life, a trek in Thung Salaeng Luang yields inexplicable excitement. A part of the landscape is limestone, compacted over time to form hills. Covering these hills are lush tree clusters that form beautiful forests, home to 17 mammal species, the most populous being the elephant. If you’re lucky, you might also spot a tiger but their sightings are rare. The bird life, too, is diverse with the park accommodating over 190 bird species. With camping grounds demarcated and cabin accommodations available, a trip to Thung Salaeng Luang National Park should make up more than a day’s trip.
Thung Salaeng Luang National Park
Address: Tambon Chom Pu, Amphoe Wang Thong, Phitsanulok
Website: Thung Salaeng Luang National Park
5. Learn Thai history at the Si Thep Historical Park
One can never learn too much history. And a trip to Si Thep is a visit to the past that’s laden with knowledge of Thailand’s diverse history. The chief attraction here is the ruins of Phetchabun’s ancient town. Dating back over 1,000 years, this old town was supposedly built by the ancient Khmer Empire. A walk inside the ruins will reveal ancient structures like a moat and a mound. To give you clarity, two information centers provide exhibits on this rich history while displaying ancient remains that were salvaged from the site.
Whichever day you choose to visit, you’ll be able to tour since the historic park is open daily from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Accessibility is via a service tram that brings you into the park. This costs about 10 THB (30 US cents). Entrance is also dirt cheap, costing just 30 THB (90 US cents).
Si Thep Historical Park
Address. Si Thep, Phetchaboon 67170, Thailand
Website: Si Thep Historical Park
6. Hike up the Phu Thap Boek Mountain
This mountain is the highest point in Phetchabun province. A visit at the end of the year and into the start of the New Year gives you a chance to enjoy the elegance of cherry blossoms that cover the hills during this time. However, this being a high-altitude location, the temperatures remain cool all year-round. Within this mountain is a national park known as Phu Hin Rong Kla. A hike here will take you through beautiful evergreen forests juxtaposed against cabbage farms belonging to the Hmong ethnic group that resides on the mountain. A popular activity is a night-time hiking event in which hikers scale the mountain at dusk and get to enjoy a breathtaking night view of Lomsak and Lomkao towns below.
Phu Thap Boek
Address: Mu 14 Tambon Wang Ban, Amphoe lom Kao, Phetchabun
Website: Phu Thap Boek
7. Bird watching at Sai Thong waterfalls
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
The waterfalls here are awe-inspiring. It’s a naturally synchronized descent of clear water creating a white hue. The sound of the currents creates a soothing effect that eases tension and causes deep relaxation. This setting creates the perfect atmosphere for watching birds. Boasting a diverse population of bird species, this is the perfect place to catch a glimpse of a majority of them. Surrounded by stunning scenery ranging from eye-catching flowers to majestic trees, Sai Thong will enchant you to visit more than once, if only just to be in the midst of tranquility.
Sai Thong waterfalls
Address: Nam Phut, Langu, Satun 91110, Thailand
8. Camping at the Forest of Changing Color
Found inside the Nam Nao National Park, the Forest of Changing Color is a wonder that attracts visitors, both locals and internationals. It gets its name from the leaves which change their color at different times of the year with the best shades seen in December. Camping here puts you at the heart of picturesque beauty as is characteristic of Thailand. Setup camp amongst the trees in their different shades and enjoy a kaleidoscope of colors all night, illuminated by the moonlight. The camping site is safe from the wildlife that calls the park home. And because the best times to view the animals are early in the morning, you’ll be in a strategic position to catch a sight of the tigers, black bears, and mouse deer as they rise with the sun.
Forest of Changing Color in Nam Nao National Park
Address. Nam Nao District, Phetchabun, Thailand
9. Thrilling adventures at Phukaew Adventure Park
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Thailand is mostly calm, tranquil and sedate. However, in the midst of all this serenity lies this extraordinary adventure park. At the Phukaew Adventure Park, a variety of fun-filled activities await you. Start out your day in the Rope Challenge, a 5 station action packed challenge that puts your body and mind to the test. Once you’ve got your blood pumping, slide down a rope that takes you right over the lake. If you’re a fan of speed racing, the Mountain Speed Luge gets you racing go-karts down a descent that meanders downhill. There’s also canoeing, rock climbing, a giant swing and lots of activities for children as well.
Phukaew Adventure Park
Address: Soi Thong Lore 2, Sukhumvit 55 Rd. Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Website: Phukaew Adventure Park
10. Buddha Thamaracha
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Buddha Thamaracha is technically not a true temple because no Buddhist monks reside here. It is, however, quite an impressive Buddhist shrine with its newly constructed giant statue of the Buddha sitting in meditation atop the structure. There are stalls around the shrine that sell offerings you can take with you inside the temple as you quiet down in worship or meditation. In the lower level of the shrine there is a small museum with a modest local historical and cultural exhibit, although all the information accompanying the displays are in Thai.
Behind the temple is a lake around which you can spend some time walking and enjoying the scenery. If you travel here with young children they will certainly enjoy feeding the fish that teem in the lake. The surrounding park is perfect for a picnic. However, there are only a few food stalls selling local street food, so it may be wise for you to not plan on buying any food here and instead pack some of your own before making the trip here.
11. Khao Kho Royal Palace
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
The royal palace on Khao Ya is where the King and Queen of Thailand stay when they visit the area. The palace and the grounds within are off limits but visitors may ask permission from the palace guards to tour the surrounding gardens.Visitors may also arrange for overnight accommodation in one of the troop barracks. The views around the area are amazing and it may be worth spending the time to drive off the main road and saunter around for some excellent photo opportunities. Doing so you may stumble upon stalls selling local strawberries, reputedly among the sweetest anywhere in the world.
A must visit
Thailand is one of those destinations that you must visit at least once in your lifetime. And when here, Phetchabun is a perfect stop. With an abundance of sites and attractions to capture the heart and mind of all visitors, your trip here is bound to be a memorable one.
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