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Attractions > North > Phitsanulok

Attractions in Phitsanulok province in Thailand

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Phitsanulok is a major province of the Lower North located where the Central Plains begin to rise into the Northern region. The provincial capital is 377 km. north of Bangkok and boasts a nationally important temple. Most of the terrain is flat, contrasted by mountain ranges running along the east where waterfalls and national parks offer opportunities for nature treks. The town of Phitsanulok, situated on the banks of the Nan River. has been a major community since ancient Khmer times and enjoyed great prosperity during the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods. During 1463-1487, the city was in effect the royal capital as King Borom Trailokanat of Ayutthaya resided permanently in the province. Regrettably, most of the city was destroyed by a fire in 1955, and today it is built in the modern style.


Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat






King Naresuan the Great Shrine



Phra Phattha Chinnarat



Namtok Wang Nok An



Thung Salaeng Luang National Park



Namtok Kang Sopha



Long Boat Races


City attractions in Phitsanulok

Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat

This nationally important temple, commonly called Wat Yai, with its origin in the 14th century is on the river's east bank. The vihara houses what is regarded as the most beautiful and graceful Buddha statue in Thailand, the large bronze sitting statue of Phra Phuttha Chinnarat in the Sukhothai style, dating from the 14th century. A celebration honouring the Chinnarat Buddha is held in late January. Other prominent features are the image hall's large pearl -inlaid doors made in 1756 by royal craftsmen and an 8 m. tall standing Buddha image called Phra Attharot, of the same period as the Chinnarat Buddha, originally housed in a large hall which has all but crumbled away. In the centre of the compound is a great Khmer-style pagoda or prang. It is thought the structure was originally a lotus bud-shaped stupa of Sukhothai style, and was altered into a prang during the early Ayutthaya period.

Wat Chedi Yot Thong

Located on Phaya Sua Road, this temple has a 15th century lotus bud-shaped chedi of the typical Sukhothai style, the only such structure left in the province.

Wat Chula Mani

Located on the east bank of the Nan River, about 5 km. south of the town centre on the Borom Trailokanat Road, this was the site of the original town. King Borom Trailokanat, accompanied by more than 2,000 followers, was ordained as a monk here in 1416. An important ancient structure in the temple is the hall containing a holy footprint and inscription stone built by King Narai the Great of Ayutthaya. There is also a Khmer-style pagoda (Prang) built with laterite, adorned with intricate swan designs.

Wat Ratchaburana

Situated on the east bank of the Nan River and south of Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, this temple also survived the fire. The ordination hall features a graceful three-headed Naga (mythical serpent) over its eaves and murals painted in the early 19th century. It was built by King Borom Trailokanat, who played a major role in fostering Buddhism in the province.

King Naresuan the Great Shrine

The Shrine is on the site of the former Chan Palace, the birthplace and residence of King Naresuan the Great, a revered king famous for defending the nation from the Burmese. Located close to the river on the west bank, it features a statue of the king declaring independence from Burma.

Folklore Museum

This museum on Wisutkasat Road is regarded as Thailand's largest and best collection of indigenous arts and utensils, a labour of love by Dr. Thawi. It displays pottery, kitchenware, agricultural tools and musical instruments, all reflecting the lifestyle and creativity of the traditional community. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 8.30 a.m.- 4.30 p.m.; admission is free.

Buddha - Casting Foundry

Situated opposite the Folklore Museum and also created by Dr. Thawi, the Foundry specialises in casting bronze Buddha images and statues, mostly copies of the Chinnarat Buddha in all sizes. Visitors are welcome; open Tuesday to Sunday, 8.30 a.m.- 4.30 p.m.

City Walls

Originally made of clay like those of Sukhothai and built during the Ayutthaya Period to deter raids from Lanna and Burma, remnants can be seen to the north and east of town. Pan of the old 12 m. wide city moat still exists to the west of town parallel to Phra Ruang Road.


Uniquely situated within a Thai city, many people dwell in houseboats moored on the river.


Out of city attractions in Phitsanulok

Highway 12 Scenic Route

Cutting through the eastern mountain ranges of Phitsanulok, the route offers a series of attractive forested areas and waterfalls within national parks. To visit these places, transport can be hired in town. Highlights include: Namtok Wang Nok An, within the Sakunothayan Arboretum, which is 1 km. off the main highway at Km.33, with Kaeng Sai Rapids. At Km.45, Kaeng Song Waterfall. At Km.72 and a further 2 km. off the road is an extensive three-level waterfall,

Namtok Kang Sopha running over massive rock formations amongst lush vegetation. The best time to visit all waterfalls is from September to December when the water flows are at a maximum.

Namtok Chattrakan National Park

This forest and waterfall park lies some 145 km. from town. It is reached via Highway 12, turning left at Km. 68 onto Highway 2013 to Nakhon Thai, then taking Highway 1143 to Chattrakan District. The water cascades down seven tiers to a wide pool with a beach. Some cliff faces carry traces of prehistoric carvings. Camping is allowed after contacting park officials.

Thung Salaeng Luang National Park

This protected area of mountain forests and grasslands covers 1,262 sq. km. The park office, where information may be obtained and accommodation booked, is at Km.80 on Highway 12. The grasslands are bright with flowers, particularly during the late rainy season (October). The mountain ranges are watersheds feeding several streams flowing into the Nan River. A good walking trail starts from the sub-office at Ban Nong Mae Na (Km.100) and leads alternately through forest and savanna. Thung Non Son, a grassy plateau in the heart of the park, abounds with wild flowers in October to December. It lies 16 km. by car and a further 15 km. on foot from Ban Nong Mae Na.

Phu Soi Dao National Park

This park stretches along the Thai-Lao border in Chattrakan District with the highest peak being 2,102 m. and the climate is cool most of the year. Attractive features of the park are wild flowers in the rainy season, savanna and waterfalls. It is necessary to use guides for access and camping equipment for overnight stays.

Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park

This is an outstanding national park with unique scenic attractions and historical significance. Located where Phitsanulok meets Phetchabun Province, Phu Hin Rong Kla is reached via Highway 12, turning right at Km.68 onto Highway 2013 traveling 28 km. to Nakhon Thai, then taking Highway 2331 for another 31 km. The mountainous area was a communist guerilla base from 1967 to 1982 and many radical students fled here after the 1976 massacre of students in Bangkok. Reminders of the struggle are living quarters, schools, a hospital and other facilities. There arc also beautiful waterfalls and strange rock formations with jagged boulders and deep crevices. The Park has accommodation, campsites and food facilities.


Festivals in Phitsanulok

Long Boat Races & Fair


These races and fair are held when the Nan River is full al the climax of the rainy season. The Fair is held in front of Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat. Robes are placed over the Phra Phuttha Chinnarat, and there are contests of boat processions and races with scores of boats.


Interesting Activity

Flying Vegetables

Touring Phitsanulok city by tricycle rickshaw (samlor, or trishaw) is recommended, particularly around the river banks where floating restaurants abound with theatrical cooks making "flying vegetables". The specialty is a dish called Phak Bung Loi Fa to which is attached a big performance in which the cooks toss fried water spinach "sky-high".


Shopping in Phitsanulok

Preserved food products are a speciality, notably Kluai Tak, which are dried bananas coated with honey. Also popular are items made from pork such as Nam (sour sausage) and Mu Yo.




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