Phetchabun is a province in the lower part of North Thailand. Little visited by foreign tourists, the province is mostly rural with many of its inhabitants employed in farming. Situated in a fertile river valley bordered by mountains, Phetchabun features forested mountains, river basins and several national parks. Its capital Phetchabun town is situated in the Pa Sak river valley. Phetchabun’s provincial seal shows a mountain and a diamond, a reference to the province’s name, “Phet” meaning diamond in Thai.
One of Phetchabun’s main agricultural produces is tamarind fruit. Each year in January the Sweet Tamarind Fair is held to celebrate the harvest. There are various kinds of entertainment, contests are held, the fruits are sold and a procession of cars decorated in the tamarind fruit theme parades through the town.
To do & see in Phetchabun
Phetchabun houses a number of historical and natural attractions, as well as one of Thailand’s most attractive temples.
Si Thep Historical Park
The Si Thep Historical Park contains the ruins of an ancient city that flourished for several centuries. The earliest monuments were build during the Dvaravati era between the 7th and 11th century. Later on monuments were constructed by the Khmer, when their empire from Angkor included much of present day Thailand.
The large, little visited park houses dozens of monuments. The Thai Fine Arts Department has carried out excavations and partly restored a number of structures. One of the oldest monuments is the Dvaravati era Khao Klang Nai stupa. The base of the structure is adorned with fairly intact stuccoed depictions of elephants, lions, buffaloes and floral motifs. The base is covered by a modern roof to protect the stucco from the elements.
Better preserved is the Khmer temple Prang Song Phi Nong (“Two brothers prang”). Its carved lintels depict Naga snakes, floral motifs, Kala monsters and Hindu Gods.
The Khao Klang Nok is probably the most impressive monument of Si Thep Historical Park. The monument dates back to the Dvaravati period, around the 9th century. The massive structure build from laterite blocks has been partly restored by the Thai Fine Arts Department.
An excavation pit where several human skeletons were found is covered by a modern building. The park also features a small museum that exhibits objects unearthed at the site such as jewelry, pottery, tools as well as a statue of the Hindu God Vishnu.
The park is located in Si Thep district in the South of Phetchabun province, about 125 kilometers South of Phetchabun town. Entrance fee is 30 Thai Baht per person. The park opens from 8.30 am until 4.30 pm.
Wat Phra Sorn Kaew temple
Phetchabun houses one of Thailand’s most attractive and colorful temples, the Wat Phra Sorn Kaew. The very richly decorated temple sits on top of a hill with great views of the surrounding mountainous area. The main pagoda is adorned with several million very colorful mosaic tiles. A large platform next to the pagoda carries five images of the Buddha surrounded by lotus flowers. The Wat Phra Sorn Kaew is a center for Buddhist teachings and meditation, a peaceful place surrounded by nature. The temple which was founded in 2004 has recently been completed and is open to visitors.
The temple is located off Highway 12 in Khaem Son, Khao Kho district. Currently, there is no public transportation to the site. Arrange a private car or van through hotel or travel agent to get there. The Wat Phra Sorn Kaew temple opens daily during daylight hours. Entrance is free; donations for the upkeep of the temple are highly appreciated. Please dress respectfully, which means no short pants or sleeveless shirts, no revealing clothes.
Getting to Phetchabun
Phetchabun town is located 350 kilometers North of Bangkok. The only way to get to Phetchabun from Bangkok using public transportation is by bus. Alternatively, arrange a taxi or private van through travel agent or hotel.
Phetchabun airport is located about 35 kilometers North of Phetchabun town off Highway 21. Currently there are no scheduled flights from Bangkok to Phetchabun.
Phetchabun is not connected with Bangkok by rail.
Ordinary and air conditioned busses to Phetchabun depart from Mo Chit II bus terminal on Kamphaeng Phet 2 road in Bangkok. The trip takes about 5½ hours. One way fares are about 200 - 250 Thai Baht.