Phitsanulok, ThailandKirsty Turner
Phitsanulok Province is situated 377 kilometres north of Bangkok and is an important centre for travellers wishing to explore the lower North and western Northeast regions of Thailand. The city of offers many interesting sites for visitors and a range of activities.
Phitsanulok is relatively easy for the independent traveller as most of the residents speak central Thai, whilst many speak English. The weather tends to be a little more moderate than much of the region and transportation is easy to find.
This is a great place for exploring the surrounding countryside, and the nearby Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park contains many beautiful waterfalls as well as a White Hmong Village. Another area of natural beauty just waiting to be discovered is the Tung Salaeng Luang National Park, with its stunning mountains, caves and waterfalls.
Phitsanulok was the birthplace of King Naresuan the Great, who reigned from 1590-1605. This is the legendary King who declared Ayutthaya’s independence from Burma in 1584 and is celebrated for his victorious and admirable single handed combat on elephant back against the Burmese Crown Prince.
There are many interesting temples to explore in and around the city of Phitsanulok including Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Nang Phaya and Wat Chedi Yod Thong. If you are interested in temple art, make sure you pay a visit to The Buranathai Buddha Foundry, which specializes in casting bronze Buddha images and is unique in the province
The Sergeant-Major Dr. Thawee Buranakhet Folklore Museum is an interesting place to spend an hour or two as it contains a collection of folk arts, crafts, pottery and ancient kitchen utensils.
Many visitors come to Phitsanulok to experience the challenging and exciting rapids nearby white water rafting, whilst others find inner peace at the Dharma Abha Vipassana Meditation Center.
The daily night market is a great place to shop for souvenirs, buy local fabrics and have a cheap meal, whilst others choose to splash out on a romantic evening meal at one of the city’s floating restaurants.
The people of Phitsanulok love to celebrate, and it is worth trying to time your trip to coincide with one of the festivals and local fairs. Each January, Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahatat Woramahawihan plays host to the Phra Buddha Chinnarat Fair, whilst the The Suan Chom Nan Park festival is held twice yearly along the Nan River. Also interesting are the Dragon Boat Races, which take place on the first weekend of each October. People crowd on the edge of the river banks to cheer for the huge, elaborately decorated boats, which are painstakingly created and have a crew of about 30 oarsmen.