General Information 346 kilometres from Bangkok, Phetchabun borders on three regions, the North, the Central and the Northeast. The central part of the province is on the Pa Sak river basin with mountain ranges running along both the western and eastern sectors. Because of the fertility of the land, Phetchabun has always been an agriculturally productive area. The very name of the province actually means the land of crops and foods.
Today, Phetchabun is a province with rich tourism potential. Its climate is pleasant due to the mountainous and forested areas and it has a history of richness and prosperity for more than 1,400 years. As and Sukhothai styles have been discovered.
Phetchabun is administratively divided into the following districts: Muang, Lom Sak, Lom Kao, Chon Daen, Nong Phai, Wichian Buri, Si Thep, Bueng Sam Phan, Wang Pong, Nam Nao and Khao Kho.
How To Get There By Car From Bangkok, drive along Highway No. 1 passing Saraburi to Phu Khae (Km. 125), turn right into Highway No. 21 and proceed to Phetchabun via Chai Badan, Si Thep and Wichian Buri, a total distance of 346 kilometres.
Transport Co. Ltd. operates both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned bus services along the Bangkok-Phetchabun-Lom Sak route. Buses depart from Bangkok's Mochit 2 Bus Terminal daily. Call 0 2936 2852-66 or visit www.transport.co.th for more information. Private bus companies are such as Phet Tour, Tel: 0 2936 3230 and Thin Siam Tour, Tel: 0 2936 0500.
By Air Thai Airways flies from Bangkok to Phetchabun on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Call 1566 for more information.
Sweet Tamarind Fair
Sweet tamarind is grown mostly in Phetchabun. Sweet Tamarind Fair is thus organised in Phetchabun to celebrate the harvest of this fruit. This day is also called Phetchabun's Agricultural Day. During the festival, farmers bring their sweet tamarind to sell at reasonable price at Phetchabun's provincial athletic field where contests of sweet tamarind and other crops are held. Besides this, there are other agricultural exhibitions and entertainment organised during the event.
Um Phra Dam Nam
This religious ceremony means the bathing of a Buddha image. This event is annually held on the fifteenth day of the waning moon in the 10th lunar month or during the Sat Thai period, in September. Phra Buddha Mahadhamaracha is a highly revered ancient Buddha image of Phetchabun. The image was found in the Pasak River by a group of farmers four hundred years ago and it was then taken to be housed in Wat Trai Phum. According to a legend, the Buddha image was disappeared twice from the temple and was later found in water. It was said that the Buddha image itself had wandered out of the temple. Therefore, the ritual bathing ceremony is held. The ceremony starts at 1 p.m. The image is carried around town and put under a tent in Wat Trai Phum, so Buddhists can pay respect to it and stick gold leaf on its body. In the evening, prayers are chanted. At night, there are various kinds of entertainment. The next morning, people make merit as it is Sat Thai Day. Foods, including Krayasat, and other necessities are given to monks. The Buddha image is then taken to be immersed in the Pasak River by the governor of Phetchabun and traditional dances are performed to show respect to it. After the ceremony, the water in the river is regarded as sacred. As a result, people swim in it or take the water to drink before the boat racing begins.
Khao Kho is made up of mountain ranges to northwest of town about 1,174 metres above mean sea level covered in the main by deciduous plants. Very cold during November-February, it once was the base room which communist insurgents conducted their struggles against the authorities during 1968-1982. Today it is accessible via two routes; off Highway No. 12 (Phitsanulok - Lom Sak) at Ban Camp Son with a further distance of 30 kilometres of off highway No. 21 at Ban Na Ngua, about 13 kilometres from town with a further distance of 30 kilometres. Both routes wind through considerably steep terrain. Interesting places include various viewing points, remains of communist bases and buildings, war memorial, arms museum, a Chedi containing Holy Relic and the Si Dit waterfall.
Rai B.N. is a private agriculture plantation growing cold-climate crops, including various flowers which alternately bloom throughout the year. It is situated on the route to Khao Kho 3 kilometres from Ban Camp Son and fruit-based items for sale.
Pho Khun Pha Muang Memorial
The Pho Khun Pha Muang Memorial at Lom Sak district in the north of Phetchabun commemorates this former ruler or the area, which was a contemporary of Sukhothai.
Phu Hin Rong Kla
Lom Sak District is the starting point to go to Phu Hin Rong Kla to the west. As the route is quite steep, extreme care should be exercised in driving. Phu Hin Rong Kla is a popular destination located along the Phitsanulok and Phetchabun borders and offers exotic scenery. It was once the base of communists' resurgents fighting against the government some twenty years ago.
City Pillar Shrine
Phetchabun's City Pillar Shrine has been brought over from the ancient town of Si Thep and is considered the oldest such structure in Thailand.
Huai Pa Daeng Reservoir
The Huai Pa Daeng Reservoir was created by the dam constructed to block the waterway to the west of town for irrigation purposes. Some 8 kilometres from town on Highway No. 2006, it is a pleasant place for recreation and picnic with scenic natural views in the background, particularly in the morning and late afternoon.
Tat Mok National Park
The Tat Mok National Park has a huge waterfall fed by streams flowing down cracks and crevices of the mountains creating a beautiful 12-level fall. On both sides of the trails leading up to it are large, shady trees providing a pleasant surrounding. To reach the park, take off from town past the town hall to the east for some 15 kilometres to Ban Chaliang Lap. Then take a right turn onto Highway No. 2275. After just 300 metres is a left fork leading to an access on to steep slope for a distance of 20 kilometres. From here another 1.8 kilometres on foot to arrive at the waterfall.
Wat Mahathat is located on Nikon Bamrung Road in town. The temple houses a number of ancient chedis of Sukhothai style.
Wat Trai Phum
Wat Trai Phum on Phetcharat Road features a Buddha statue called Phra Buddha Mahadhamaracha cast in the ornamental Lop Buri style. The ritual bathing of the Buddha image or the traditional Um Phra Dam Nam ceremony is held during September each year.
Nam Nao National Park
The Nam Nao National Park is an immense tract of forest still in perfect condition. With pineries, grasslands and virgin jungles, it is habitat to large number of animals and more than 100 species of birds. During December-January, the mercury could drop to as low as 2-5 degrees Celsius. The park headquarters is about 50 kilometres to the west of Lom Sak district on Highway No. 12. Points of interest are spread out. Attractions reached by taking Highway No. 12 (Lom Sak-Chum Phae) include:-
Tham Pha Hong, 300 meters off the main road at Km.39 to the north. Within the caves are formations of stalactites and stalagmites. It is also a point from which to view the scenery at sunset.
Ban Paek Pinery, 5 kilometres by foot off the main road at Km.49.
Phu Kum Khao Pinery, 15 kilometres off the main road at Km.53. Dense rolls of pine trees cover an area of about 10 square kilometres.
Namtok Heo Sai and Namtok Sai Thong are located on the same route. Both waterfalls can be reached on foot for a distance of 1 kilometre and 1.5 kilometres respectively off the main road at Km. 67.
There are also attractions on Highway No. 2216 (Lom Kao - Huai Sanam Sai) such as Pha Lom - Pha Kong cliffs which are 5 kilometres from the main road at Km. 40 and the Tham Yai Nam Nao cave near Km. 60.
Si Thep Historical Park
Some 130 kilometres south of Phetchabun on Highway No. 21, and with another 9 kilometres after a left turn, is the Si Thep Historical Park. Si Thep is an ancient town where many architectural structures still remain indicative of its past prosperity during the 11th-18th Buddhist Centuries. It was once the centre of contact between the Dvaravati kingdom in the Central Plain basin and the Khmer kingdom in the Northeast. A twin-city, there were over one hundred ancient sites all built with bricks and laterite, most of which have crumbled. There are also remains of several ponds spread out all over the area. Most of the ancient relics recovered are parts of architectural nature such as elaborate lintels, plastered designs and Sema stone (used to mark out limits of Buddhist temples) and human skeletons still adorned with ornamental pieces.