is a province noted for sweet tamarinds, Nam Nao National Park,
Si Thep Historical Park, Khao Kho Monument and the history of
Pho Khun Phamuang. Click to read about
When talking about Phetchabun (346 km from Bangkok), first thing
coming to people's mind is its cool climate and impressive scenery.
is situated in the southern part of the North of Thailand.
Since the province is not too far from Bangkok, Petchabun is
another excellent choice for travellers who seek refuge in nature.
Useful information about Phetchabun's attractions is given below:
The ceremony of immersing the
Traiphum Temple is an ancient temple housing
Phra Phuttha Maha Thammaracha, the most sacred Buddha image
of Phetchabun. The image is said to be found (about 400 years
ago) under the Pasak River in front of this temple. Realizing
the sacredness of the Buddha image, people of the region brought
it up to be kept in Traiphum Temple for worship.
another miracle happened on Sat Thai* day the next
year, when the Buddha image vanished from the temple and was
found floating in the same place in the Pasak River where the
Buddha appeared last time. Since then, on Sat Thai day of every year, a ceremony of immersing the Buddha image
(Um Phra Dam Nam Ceremony) has been held in Phetchabun. There
is a belief that if the ceremony were not held in any year,
the Buddha would disappear, resulting in drought and a crop
failure in the province.
*Sat Thai is a festival of the 10th Thai lunar month
which roughly corresponds to September.
The 6th leap of Song Nang Waterfall
in Tat Mok National Park. (Photo by courtesy of TAT)
Tat Mok National Park The forests
here are lush and surrounded with steep mountain ranges. The
park proudly presents to you its two pristine waterfalls --
Tat Mok and Song Nang. The former is a one-leap waterfall with
a height of 750 m where various kinds of large trees are thriving.
The latter has 12 leaps all of which travellers can reach by
foot to explore them.
Sithep Historical Park The Sithep ruins date
back to around 1,000 years ago when the Khmer power prevailing
over this region was at its zenith. This ancient town was surrounded
by moats. Covering an area of 4.62 sq km, it is divided into
2 sections --the inner and outer. The inner land is in the shape
of a semi-circle while the outer is a rectangle.
Khao Kho refers to the Phetchabun mountain
ranges, not a single mount. The name is derived from the name
of Ceylon oaks (Kho trees in Thai) that grow in abundance
here. People dubbed it Switzerland of Thailand because of the
all-year-round refreshing climate. These mountain ranges were
once the sites of fierce battles fight between the government
troops and the Communists from 1968 to 1982.
Khao Kho Royal Residence is situated on Khao Ya Hill. Dedicated to HM King Bhumibol as
a residence, it commands a panoramic view of the mountainous
Sidit Waterfall is a large one-leap sedimentary-rock
waterfall with water all year round. A large pond awaits you
to swim in. What's interesting is a large hydraulic pestle with
mortar for hulling rice invented by the Communists who once
Thung Salaeng Luang National
Thung Salaeng Luang National Park In the cool season
(from November to February) the weather here is specially cool
and dry making it excellent for travelling. Its topography is
limestone mountain ranges with vast meadows. Attractions in
the park are such as Wang Nam Yen Rapids, Salaeng Luang Meadow,
Nang Phaya Meadow and Nonson Meadow.
Thanthip Forest Park has several appealing
attractions: Nam Wing Rapids, Madua Rapids, Pha Iang Rapids
and Thanthip Waterfall. Nature lovers should not miss watching
birds and butterflies of various species here. Besides, the
park is ideal for astronomical observations.
Man Daeng Waterfall in
Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
(by courtesy of TAT)
Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park straddles areas of three
provinces -- Phetchabun, Loei, and Phitsanulok. It was another
former Communist stronghold with a virgin forest, large tracts
of rock of strange shapes, wild orchids and colourful lichen.
Namnao National Park
Namnao National Park is no less famous than Phu Hin
Rong Kla National Park.It possesses attractive waterfalls, caves
and a trail to explore nature.
Pho Khun (King) Phamuang Monument is situated
at the junction of the same name to commemorate and to glorify
the good deeds that Pho Khun Phamuang had done to the province.
The area was where the king gathered brave warriors to repel
the Khmers out of the Sukhothai Kingdom (circa 1238-1438 A.D.).
Phonchai Temple enshrines the stupa of Queen
Singkhon Mahathewi, a daughter of King Chaiworaman VII of Khmer
who was sent to marry Pho Khun Phamuang to tighten the international
relationship between the Sukhothai Kingdom and the Khmer Kingdom.
In addition, King Chaiworaman gave a double-edged knife and
a Buddha image to King Phamuang.
Wang (palace) Tan was
the location of the old palace of Queen Naowarong Thewi, the
Thai queen of King Phamuang. At present people come to worship
the queen's shrine to ask for blessing for their love.
Naowarong Thewi Statue and her shrine.
Apart from historical and natural
attractions, Phetchabun is famous for its organic farms of
vegetables, fruits and flowers which are major supplies for
the country. Here growing plants need no soil as farm owners
have adopted and developed the hydroponics.
Thanks to the cool climate together with pleasant views,
the farms can serve another purpose as agrotourist attractions.
Those who are interested in experiencing the organic farm
atmosphere will not be disappointed to visit these farms which
are mostly scattered in Khao Kho and Nam Nao counties. After
roaming the farms, on your return trip, your hands might get
tired carrying organic vegetables, fruits and flowers home.
When you are in Phetchabun, you should not miss tasting roast
chicken at Wichian Buri County and Khanom Chin at Lom Kao
County. Khanom Chin is rice vermicelli eaten with various kinds of
spicy gravy and vegetables. Another recommended item of Phetchabun's
best buys is sweet tamarinds which are available in plenty
from December to February.
Sweet tamarinds and produces
from the hydroponics
Heroic King of Phetchabun
Phetchabun, you will see Pho Khun (King) Phamuang's
monument at a junction of the same name in Lomsak
County. He was a great king whose bravery and
whose sacrifices for the country are still highly
praised among Phetchabun people. Phetchabun
is believed to be the site where Rad Town, the
capital of Pho Khun Phamuang, was situated over
seven hundred years ago. His biography is summarized
Pho Khun Phamuang (lived around the 12th Century)
was a trusted confidant of Pho Khun Si Inthrathit,
the first founding king of the Sukhothai Kingdom
(former Thailand), who reigned from about 1219
to an unknown year. Pho Khun Phamuang was also
a brother- in-law of Pho Khun Si Inthrathit
because his sister, Nang Sueang, married Pho
Khun Si Inthrathit upon his enthronement. Nang
Sueang, afterwards, became the mother of a great
king of Thailand, Pho Khun Ram Khamhaeng the
great. (1279-1299). Now let's get back to Pho
Khun Phamuang's story.
Saen Kingdom: Pho Khun Phamuang's Motherland
Pho Khun Phamuang was a descendant of Phaya
Singhanawat who founded the Yonok-Chiang Saen
Kingdom in A.D. 574. The Yonok-Chiang Saen Kingdom's
boundaries were as follows: north -- today's
Nan, south -- Nakhon Sawan and west -- the Salween
River. In the early 11th century, Yonok-Chiang
Saen fell under Khmer control due to weak kings.
Thanks to Prince Phrom, a brave and capable
warrior who was a son of King Phangkharaj (the
43rd king of Chiang Saen), the kingdom enjoyed
its independence again. Prince Phrom had his
father King Phangkharaj return to the throne
while he established the city of Fang (a county
in Chiang Mai Province) for himself to rule
and named it Chaiprakan.
King Phrom died at the age of 79 in 1177, having
ruled Chaiprakan for 59 years. His son, Chaisiri
ascended the throne. After 11 years' rule, King
Chaisiri confronted with a large Burmese army
that invaded his city. Unable to resist it,
he led his people towards the south.
Prince Phamuang and his elders followed King
Chaisiri to settle down in the area of today's
Sukhothai. Their community had no leader and
lacked an army, so the people were under the
influence of the Khmers again. Later, Pho Khun
Si Naonamthom, who was another son of King Phrom,
born to a different mother from King Chaisiri,
rallied a force to drive away the Khmers and
established his independent town called Sukhothai
Pho Khun Si Naonamthom had two sons, Pho Khun
Phamuang and Phrakhamhaeng Phraram, and one
daughter, Nang Sueang. Prince Phamuang was known
to be courageous and good at fighting and to
have a powerful army.
Pho Khun Phamuang, a selfless warrior
of Rad Town
Pho Khun Phamuang planned to besiege Doet, an
important Khmer town located in present-day
Lomsak County of Phetchabun Province on the
Pasak river bank to prevent it from attacking
Pho Khun Phamuang succeeded in his mission.
The Khmers fled to the east. Pho Khun Phamuang
and his army went after the enemy to make sure
that they would not return. Then he came back
to Doet and set it up as his own. However, the
town was frequently flooded. So, the king moved
his people to a new site that was named Rad
When King Chaiworaman VII of the Khmers learned
about the siege of Doet, he prepared to form
a good relationship with Pho Khun Phamuang by
sending his daughter named Singkhon Mahathewi
to be the wife of Pho Khun Phamuang. Together,
a double-edged knife and a Buddha image were
given to Pho Khun Phamuang. The knife signified
that the holder has all the rights possessed
by the Khmer king. Despite such an alluring
prestige, Pho Khun Phamuang was not misled.
According to the local chronicle, Pho Khun Phamuang
had a Thai queen called Naowarong Thewi prior
to his marriage with Singkhon Mahathewi. And
she was the most beloved as she had fought side
by side with Pho Khun Phamuang in the battle
to drive the Khmers out of the Sukhothai Kingdom
after the death of Pho Khun Si Naonamthom.
After the death of Pho Khun Si Naonamthom, the
Khmers attacked Sukhothai and the kingdom was
once again under the Khmer influence. Pho Khun
Phamuang and his buddy Pho Khun Bang Klangthao
planned to expel the Khmers out of Sukhothai
and the mission was accomplished. Pho Khun Phamuang
let his friend ascend the throne, had his sister,
Nang Sueang, marry Pho Khun Bang Klangthao and
bestowed a new name, Si Inthrathit to Pho Khun
According to the chronicle, in the battle, Pho
Khun Phamuang was the leader who expelled the
Khmers out of Sukhothai. So why did not he become
king himself? The local history mentioned that
Pho Khun Phamuang was determined not to become
king due to his Khmer wife who would possibly
cause troubles later. He emphasized that the
founder of the new dynasty should be of pure
Thai blood. He, then went back to Rad Town only
to meet the destructive rage of Queen Singkhon
Mahathewi. The queen was very angry that Pho
Khun Phamuang betrayed her by fighting her father
(King Chaiworaman VII) and that Pho Khun Phamuang
did not become king of Sukhothai himself. Her
fury was so severe that she set fire to Rad
Town and drowned herself in the Pasak River.
Pho Khun Phamuang, after the cremation of his
queen, went northwards with his Thai wife, Queen
Naowarong Thewi. His story ended here. However,
some records mentioned that he appeared again
in Chiang Saen where he lived to the age of
40 and passed away.
• Special thanks to TAT Northern
Office Region 3 for arranging a trip to Phetchabun, for a press
group including Thaiways staff and for giving them information
and facilitating their photo-taking.
• For more information, please contact TAT Northern
Office Region 3, Tel:+66 (0) 5525 2742 to 3 Fax: +66 (0) 5523