Things To Do In Phetchaburi
Phetchaburi is a province in the southern part of Thailand that is known for the variety of Buddhist temples that were mostly built during the historic Ayuthaya period. Most of these temples still function as active sanctuaries where devotees can visit and pay reverence to the Buddha. The temples are also well-preserved and highlights the skilled artisans during the Ayuthaya era with its intricate design and choice of colors used. If you want to explore the rest of the province, it is easily accessible either by bus, car, or train from any point in Thailand. It is more locally known as “Mueang Phetch” which also literally means - “The Diamond City”.
It is not only sacred temples or Wats that contribute greatly to its rising tourist statistics. Petchaburi also gained prominence for its historic palace called the Khao Wang or the Phra Nakhon Khir Historical Park. It is beautifully landscaped and lined with colorful flowers and tall trees. The overall construction of this temple is impressive as well as its collection of Buddhas and just like any other temples in Phetchaburi, you will be welcomed by alert monkeys at the entrance gate.
When To Go:
Phetchaburi can be visited all throughout the entire year and ideal as a holiday destination because of its agreeable weather all year round. The peak season for heavy tourist activity is from the summer months of March to May (also considered as the bird watching period). The succeeding months of June to July are also the best time to explore Phetchaburi. It is the time when most beaches, temples, and national parks are crowded and busy.
However, there are low seasons to consider, the months of June to October has occasional downpours towards the afternoon until evening, but you can engage in a tour during the day and it won’t interfere with your sightseeing plans around Petchaburi. In low or high seasons, the city is worth a visit. Keep in mind also that there is no active nightlife in this city and at 9:00 PM most of the locals are used to sleeping early.
Here are the top attractions and things to do in the city of Petchaburi…
Tham Khao Luang Cave
Do not be fooled by the unkempt impression at the entrance point because once you descended the stairs of the entrance you get into one of the most beautiful and inspiring temples of Thailand. The light that filters from the top of the cave and falls on the golden buddha is enlightening and creates a mystical atmosphere that will leave you breathless. It is very unique and not often visited by tourists, so if you happen to discover it, you can explore it almost solo or share it with very few people. If you are soul searching, the place is the perfect site for peace and concentration. The place is solemn and do not get distracted by monkeys that are almost everywhere, and are just waiting for you to make your offering to Buddha to steal it (mostly snacks and drinks in bottles) and make it disappear among the rocks. A visit to Tham Khao Luang Cave is not to be missed if you’re in Phetchaburi.
Inside this sacred cave is where you can find the Buddha along the perimeter walls and a huge reclining Buddha that is much larger than the others sitting in the lotus position, one can see from above the trees and filtered light that makes this place even more magical. At the entrance and exit points, there are dozens of monkeys, but they are really harmless. Another wonderful experience is to feed these monkeys directly from your hands and realize that they are like children; fun, playful, and a bit mischievous. Around the cave, there is a lady with a banquet that sells fruits and vegetables, especially for them, it costs very little and it's worth it.
Phra Nakhon Khiri
The Phra Nakhon Khiri gives you the opportunity to spend time and take a beautiful walk in a park populated by funny monkeys and with typical structures that dominate the country. To climb the hill, it is best to ride the cable car, which is located at the entrance away from the city center. The route consists of a pleasant walk in this complex of Wats. There are several temples and stunning views to admire here. It is best to get off on foot towards the other entrance, which easily leads to the city center. It has a pretty succession of buildings, wat, and great view of the city, all in a lovely park with a living area full of monkeys that can be aggressive sometimes(park guards have a slingshot just to scare them away) with a nice ride to do.
Phetchaburi is full of temples and the Phra Nakhon Khiri dominates them all. It is majestic, quiet and if there is not much tourist, there are lots of time to spend alone in pure silence which adds to the magic of the place. From the top, you have a wonderful view of the city and the surrounding area. You can also stop in Phetchaburi town if you are on the way to Phuket. The Phra Nakhon Khiri is the beautiful summer palace of King Mongkut, built on a hill and one of the few attractions to explore in Phetchaburi. The rise of the tram-funicular (cable car and entrance fee) is already an exciting experience to try while in this city. Once you arrive at the palace, there is an alley filled with macaques. You can buy popcorn and bananas to feed the monkeys, but be careful with them, but be careful around them because sometimes they may not be in the right mood.
Wat Mahathat Worawihan
The well decorated white temple of Wat Mahathat Worawihan stands out among the houses r the residential area of the city. It looks elegant all throughout the complex. Focus your eyes on this beautiful temple of immaculate whiteness in the city center. In this temple, you will discover a nice size stuppa and other smaller, beautiful statues of Buddha paintings that are equally interesting. Also before the wat, there is a group of Thai dancing and music, beautiful costumes, which occur in the fixed hours and included in the tour itinerary of this temple. This is one of the best places to observe Buddhist life in Phetchaburi.
Situated in the middle of downtown Phetchaburi is the Wat Mahathat. You can see the tall white pillars of the temple when walking around the city. It can also be a good benchmark if you cannot find your way around town. The temple also has several smaller white pillars that can be photographed. Both the temple and the traditional Thai dancers in their national costumes are perfect subjects for a great picture and a nice way to deeply understand or observe the Thai culture.
Phra Ram Ratchaniwet
The Phra Ram Ratchaniwet is the official Summer Palace of the King of Thailand in Phetchaburi (It was commissioned by King Rama V and completed under Rama VI). It is located at the southern edge of the city of Petchaburi on the grounds of the Royal Thai Army. Among the Thais, the palace is still under the original name "Wang Ban Buen" . Rama V dedicated dedicated this palace for the German architect named Karl Siegfried Doehring. The design of the palace was patterned after the summer palace of Emperor Wilhelm in Germany.
The bathroom of the king with sunken marble flooring is one of its interesting features. It mixes the German style of architecture and blends it with Baroque, Art Nouveau and use of kitschy figurines in a rather dark and somber mood or overall atmosphere. This palace gained prominence because it is often used as a backdrop in most Thai films. Be sure to take lots of photographs because, even the tile floors in the pillars or stained glass windows are beautiful and flawless.
The Wat Boontawee can be found on the way to the cave of Tham Khao Luang. It is located at the right side of the temple complex. In addition to larger temples; there is a large fish pond, trees, figures with faith and wisdom that are sometimes labeled or translated from Thai to English. Within the Wats, you can get into a small cave system with female statues. Even a dressing table can be seen. This wat is quite unique and the small caves can be easily visited on foot which looks very interesting and fun to do.
Wat Sa Bua
If you want to see a temple with beautiful frescoes, a visit to Wat Sa Bua is a must. It is best to visit early in the morning to avoid the huge crowd that arrives before noon. You can see a nice painting on its interior, writings on the ceiling, and its famous beam. In particular, it is considered as one of the oldest Buddhist temple built during the Ayutthaya period.
The arts and influence of the late Ayutthaya period still remains to be seen completely. The temple is on the hillside next to the Wat Phra diamond palace, which is also considered as one of the major tourist attractions in Phetchaburi.
Wat Khao Bandai It
The Wat Khao Bandai It is not far from the palace of Rama IV. You know you’ve reached the vast Wat if from a distance you can already see a big golden Buddha statue in the making. Along the way, it is striking that much money must be necessary to complete this statue. Once you walked past the entrance gates, you will be impressed by a reclining Buddha that Is encased in a glass counter.
Wildlife Friends of Thailand
The Wildlife Friends of Thailand is one of the most beautiful experience of a summer holiday in Thailand especially in Phetchaburi. If you want to experience the “elephant trekking “ tour, this is the right choice. The distance from Bangkok is 2-3 hours (depending on traffic) and doable in a day, starting with a minivan from the Skytrain to Victory Monument that leaves daily at 6:30 in the morning and return in the evening. You must fix the date with them via e-mail if you want to take the stop in Cha Am. Once you reach this wildlife area, you will greeted by an English staff named Tanya, she will explain everything to you about the center and its activities. Their work is truly unique and very important in a country where the attention to the territory and animals is sometimes overlooked. She will show you around the wildlife area and the various fences and animals seized that soon will return to freedom. She explains their stories, how they manage to seize them, how the animals reach the rehabilitation wing, which are all very interesting and sad to hear at the same time.
After lunch, the Thai elephant trekking tour begins where you can take a walk, feed, and lead the elephant up to bathing time which is the last part of the tour. The experience with the marsupials of Phetchaburi is fantastic. The day concludes with information material on the project and the history of the center and informing every guest that there is the possibility of buying gadgets or make donations. The entire tour is money well spent, an unforgettable experience and making a contribution to this center means to give them the opportunity to move forward, to save other animals and make an awareness campaign among Thais. Spending a day in this place is one of the most exciting and intense things to do in Phetchaburi and a chance to bring home unforgettable memories.
To enter he Mrigadayavan Palace, you must be dressed appropriately, shoulders and legs covered at least to the knee. The summer residence of the King is located in front of the sea, surrounded by green gardens and very clean. At every corner, you see the attendants who clean, and there are stone benches to rest and enjoy the tranquility of the place. The historic structure is completely made of wood and very large with long corridors that connect the various rooms. At the bottom of the building under a porch there are areas where they weave fabrics or carpets. There is a bar with some good ice cream and a dark beverage made with tea and resin of a plant that taste very refreshing.
The summer residence of King Rama VI or the Palace Phra Ratchanivet Mrigadayavan is located right across the beach. It is designed personally by the King, especially the golden teak building. It consists of several pavilions that are connected by passages. It is actually an open and well ventilated building. You can see the device and furnishing rooms of the king and his family.
There is a rather modest improvement that is done recently to preserve this historic structure in Phetchaburi. It stands close to a park with a tea house (you can buy tea and enjoy a cozy table by the sea where the price ranges from 150 to 250 Baht for a kettle) and numerous passages to explore. Admission is 30 Baht to the 1st floor of the palace, plus 30 Baht per second (at the entrance to the second floor you must take your shoes off and placed in a bag which is issued at the entrance. Taking pictures of the second floor is prohibited (If you are caught in this some one will walk up to you and politely ask to delete the photo). At the entrance, you can take the bikes and after a visit to the palace ride through the park. Clothing must cover the knees and shoulders, but if not, then you will be invited to one of the pavilions and there you will be given a cape.
Nayang Bat Cave
The Nayang Bat Cave is where you can experience seeing hundreds of bats in a mountain. Everything happens at sunset. First, there are birds, and then with one click, there is non-stop swarms of hundreds of bast that will appear on the horizon. They fly on an endless stream that lasts about 10 minutes. The entrance fee here costs 20 Baht. The whole spectacle is all worth it. Immediately, birds of prey hunt for them. If you have time visit this site, be there before sunset and bring a good camera to capture the entire show.
Chao Samran Beach
The Chao Samran Beach is a 15 km long beach with restaurants and huts where you can enjoy a relaxing beach holiday. You can take a stroll or sit on the beach. All around there are sellers that offers 20 Baht for a piece mat where you can sit through or order seafood. The beach is very safe and has security surveillance and guards all around. Throwing trash in and around the sea is strictly prohibited. There is live music every night to keep guests entertained. It is a perfect destInation for a family gathering and beach holiday in Phetchaburi.
If you go through Phetchaburi, you must not miss the palaces, caves , and animal reserve, but it is essential to visit the temple located inside a large cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites. A big part of the progress of the flourishing tourism in Phetchaburi is the Tham Khao Luang Caves. The entire atmosphere is amazing and the amount of Buddhas in the shadows, incense inside the cave and presence of the temple monks makes a visit truly an experience you will treasure about Phetchaburi.
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