Phichit sits in the lower Northern Region of Thailand. The name “Phichit” means “The Beautiful Town” and the city was allegedly founded by Phraya Khot Thabong in 1056. During the Sukhothai period (1238-1350), the then small town adopted the name “Sa Luang” and became an important town of the era. Phichit was renamed again in the Ayutthaya period (1350-1767) and was known as Okhaburi, which means “town in the swamp”. It was here that King Sanphet VIII or “Phrachao Sua” of Ayutthaya was born. Phichit was designated a province during the Rattanakosin period, in the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910).
The famous legend of Kraithong originated in Phichit. The love story was so powerful that it is still told throughout Thailand today, leading to Phichit’s fame as the land of legends.
Wat Tha Luang
This monastery is situated on the west bank of Nan River near the Provincial Hall and houses a bronze Chiang Saen style Buddha Image, cast in the subduing evil position, located in the main shrine hall. The image is believed to have been brought to the monastery from the north by Khun Phaen. The name of the Buddha image is “Luang Pho Phet” and is regarded as one of the most important Buddha images in Phichit. Open daily: 9.00 am – 4.00 pm. For more information call 056 612 585, 056 615 359, 081 727 7527.
Phichit Provincial Museum
Situated at the former City Hall of Phichit, this governmental building was established as an educational resource for the general public, providing exhibitions on a range of topics from local ways of life, wisdom, ethnic groups, religion, beliefs, culture, and tradition of the people in Phichit. The museum features 10 permanent exhibition rooms focusing on history, the present, traditional Thai music, local wisdom, the way of life, Buddhist religion, mineral resources, Phichit’s important persons, language and literature, and ethnic groups. Open daily between 8.30 am - 4.30 pm. For further information contact the Phichit Cultural Office by calling 056 612 675-6.
Bueng Si Fai
This is a perfect location for a picnic with friends and family. This 12,000 rai (4745 acre) swamp is located just on kilometre west of Phichit Market, is an area where a lot of fish breeding takes place and is surrounded by lotus ponds. A figure of a huge crocodile, Phya Chalawan, is a prominent sight and pays homage to the past when the swamps were full of crocodiles.
Interesting attractions in Bueng Si Fai
- Suan Somdet Phrasri Nakarinthra Phichit สวนสมเด็จพระศรีนครินทร์ฯ พิจิตร
Created in 1984, this is the first park dedicated to the late King of Thailand, King Rama IX. 170 rai of land was put aside for the park by the Phichit Provincial Administration in cooperation with the Department of Non-formal Education. The park has a large pond named Bueng Si Fai, and a giant pavilion that is used for recreation. A grassy area is also reserved for events and public entertainment on the weekends.
- Phaya Chalawan Statue (รูปปั้นพญาชาละวัน)
Located in front of the Si Fai Lake, this crocodile figure is a whopping 38 metres long, six metres wide and five metres high. It is so big that inside the crocodile body, there is a meeting room with a capacity for 30 seats.
- Chaloem Phrakiat Aquarium (สถานแสดงพันธุ์ปลาเฉลิมพระเกียรติ)
This building shaped like a nine-sided star houses an aquarium with more than 20 species of fish. The aquarium also has a video link which is turned on at feeding time to give visitors a close up view of the fish. The aquarium is open from 9.00 am - 6.00 pm (7pm on weekends). For more information call 056 611 309
- Water Lily Park (อุทยานบัว)
The Water Lily Park showcases a range of lily species and is a great place for relaxation or exercise. The park also has a high tower for sightseeing over the entire Bueng Si Fai Park and reservoir.
- Three-dimension Waterfall (น้ำตกสามมิติ)
This 3D image of a waterfall is projected onto the road surface, giving visitors the feeling that they are actually on the waterfall in the Chalawan legend and the Kingdom of Chalawan (Crocodile King). It can be found near the bird watching tower located in Bueng Si Fai. The best time to visit is from 10 – 11am where the sunlight strikes the projection at just the right angle.
Chaomae Thapthim Tha Lo Shrine
Located on the eastern bank of the Nan River; this shrine is found near the railway track for the State Railway’s Northern Line from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Inside the shrine is a Thapthim Goddess statue, otherwise known as Chaomae Thapthim (Tui Buai Teng Niang), flanked by the Chaopho Kuan U (The U God) on the right and the Chaopho Pun Thao Kong and Phn Thao Ma on the left. According to historical records, the statues were gifted from Hainan Island in Guangdong, China around 1867. A local shipyard owner donated two rafts of teak logs to build the shrine, and it forever existed as a place of learning, with scholars and monks teaching Chinese and Thai texts to the children in the nearby villages. This education helped form a new generation of international traders who helped develop the community.
The shrine is full of valuable objects from Thai and Chinese donors, such as the palanquin of the goddess which is made from hardwood carved into floral patterns and animal figures by Chinese artists. Two sets of magic objects and eight priceless Chinese deities from Guangzhou. The shrine has visitors every day, travelling from far and wide all searching for blessings of happiness and prosperity.
Direction: Take Highway 111 (Phichit - Sak Lek) then turn left into the Wat Wichittraram lane, pass the Tha Lo Market, and then turn left.
Wat Rong Chang
Located in Tambon Rong Chang, this monastery is just 5km away from the city centre, along the Phichit-Wang Chik Road. During the reign of Praya Kottabong, this area was called Kong Chang (elephant gathering) because it was a rest area of elephant and mahouts. When a school was officially established at the same location, the monastery was renamed Wat Rong Chang.
Within the monastery compound, there are three giant Buddha images in different postures: Subduing Mara, Reclining and Restraining. The most interesting part of the monastery is the large chedi which has an underground room used for keeping bricks which are covered in 84,000 sections of the Buddhist scriptures inscribed on their sides. The room was made after a prophecy that without it, Buddhism may be wiped off the earth in the case of natural disasters or nuclear war.
The Old City Park
Found on the Phichit-Wang Chik Road, roughly 8km from the city centre, The Old City Park is located in the area where it is believed that Phichit’s original town centre was some 900 years ago. The park is home to an arboretum, and is a peaceful place for locals and visitors alike. In addition, there are Ko Si Mala, Tham Chalawan and sculptures of important features from a Thai literature known as Kraithong.
Interesting attractions in the park:
-City Pillar Shrine
The shrine is placed on the second floor of a two-storey building and houses the statue of Phya Khottabong or the so-called Pho Pu. The building is surrounded by many trees and a pavilion, creating a pleasant scene great for recreational activities.
Located just 300 metres away from Wat Nakhon Chum, this temple is also believed to be built back when the park was home to the Phichit city centre, constructed in the Sukhothai period.
This cave has its origins in the folktale named Kraithong, written by King Rama II. Just one metre wide and five metres deep, locals believe that over 65 years ago a monk walked in with a candle but the flame went out before he reached the end, so the legend goes that to this day nobody knows how beautiful it is inside, as since that time most of the cave has fallen in. The statues of Kraithong and Chalawan are installed at the cave entrance.
Ko Si Mala
This earth mound surrounded by a shallow moat looks like an island, hence its name Ko (island) Si Mala. It is thought that the mound used to be a fortress or a guard tower given its location on the outskirts of the town.
Wat Nakhon Chum
This is an ancient monastery located in Tambon Mueang Kao near the Old City Park. It is the home to a oath making tradition that involves drinking water, and is home to an 800-year-old Buddha image.
Wat Hua Dong
Found in Moo 7, Tambon Hua Dong, just 10km from the south side of Phichit city, along the Phichit – Taphan Hin Road. Built in 1870, it covers 40 rai of land and was established as the assembly hall in 1925. Interestingly, on 17 February 1995, a 5-inch brass lifelike image of Luangpho Ngoen was found inside a 20-year-old Inthanin tree. Luangpho Ngoen was a famous Buddhist master, revered by many.
Wat Khao Rup Chang
This temple is around 15km from Phichit city centre, and is a shrine built on a hilltop, with a stack of rocks that looks like an elephant. A walking Buddha statue and a replica of the Buddha’s footprint can also be found in the monastery.
Wat Pho Prathap Chang
Found in Tambon Pho Prathap Chang, this ancient monastery is surrounded by walls that was once used by King Narai as a camp for his troops when he was marching north. It is also where King Suea or King Sanphet VIII was born. Built in 1699-1701 under the rule of Somdet Phra Suriyenthrathibodi who was formally Khun Luang Sorasak of the Ayutthaya period.
In front of the temple is a 200-year-old Takhian (Malabar ironwood) tree measuring 7.6 metres in diameter, the same length as the arm span of seven people standing side by side. The vihan or a towering large Ayutthaya-styled image hall is surrounded by double walls. The Fine Arts Department registered the hall as a national ancient monument in 1935. At present, it has undergone restoration as a treasure for future generations. The people of Pho Prathap Chang also established the monument of King Suea beside the Pho Prathap Chang District Office.
Directions: The temple is around 27km from the town of Pho Prathap Chang. Follow Highway No.1068 (Phichit - Wang Chik Road) then turn left onto to Highway No.1300. Go straight ahead and then turn left. The temple is on the right-hand side.
Khao Phanom Pha Gold Mine
Featuring a small isolated hill covering an area of roughly 200 rai, this is the first and only gold mine in Thailand that allows people to buy ore smelted from the Phanom Pha Mountain and bring it to the Phichit Provincial Administration Organisation to sift the gold out of it. Visitors are welcome to see villagers and workers extract the gold. For further details contact the Phichit Provincial Administration Organisation by calling 056 612 854.
Wat Yang Sam Ton
Located on Highway No.11 in Tambon Nong Phra, this temple compound has a vihan, a giant image of Luangpho Ngoen and other life-like images of famous Buddhist monk masters.
Phra Buddha Ket Mongkhon
This place, also known as Luangpho To Taphan Hin, is home to the largest sitting Buddha image in the north of Thailand. Constructed in 1970, it is 20 metres wide and 30 metres tall. It was bestowed by H.M. The late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and named Phra Buddha Ket Mongkhon.
Wat Phra Phutthabat Khao Ruak
Around 10km from Amphoe Taphan Hin in Tambon Wang Lum sits a monastery that is home to a replica of the Buddha’s footprint and a museum dedicated to Phra Achan Ngon Sorayo, a famous Buddhist monk who used to stay at the temple during the rainy season. It was this monk who built the Buddha image in the meditation position that is now given to schools across the country. There is also a small zoo maintained by the resident monks and lay people.
Wat Tap Khlo
This temple is known for its beautiful surroundings that support devotees developing insight through meditation and other practices. There is also a public library in the temple and a royal reception house of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who came to preside over the opening ceremony of the Library on 1 February 1993.
Wat Hiranyaram or Wat Bang Khlan
Previously called Wat Wang Tako, this monastery located in Amphoe Pho Tale on the bank of the Nan Kao River is one of the most interesting temples in the area, filled with antiques collected a long time ago. Antiques include Buddha images, votive tablets, pottery and other artefacts, most of which was donated to the temple. Chai Bovon Museum is a two storey structure and also has a life size bronze statue of Luangpho Ngoen, the most revered Buddhist monk in the area. This museum is open 8.00 am - 5.00 pm. Tel: 056 669 111, 089 856 9192. Directions: Take Highway No.1067 and turn left at 8km.
Wat Ban Noi
Approximately 3 km off Highway No.1067, before reaching Wat Hiranyaram or Wat Bang Khlan, Wat Ban Noi is a temple famed for the production of Luangpho Ngoen talismans. It is the only temple in Thailand that makes the talismans in a woven brass wire style. Call 056 659 223.
Nakhon Chaiyabowon Forest Park
This is the last remaining forest in the Phichit province. Large yang trees make up most of the forest that is now a national park. Numerous birds make home in the forest during the cool season. Accommodation and facilities are available for visitors and there are also courses on environment and natural resource conservation for those interested.
Wat Huay Khen
Found in Tambon Huay Khen, this temple is registered with the Fine Arts Department as it is home to original mural paintings that describe parts of the Ramakien or Ramayana Epics.
Wat Tha Chang
Wat Tha Chang (วัดท่าช้าง)
Located in Tambon Noen Manok, Wat Tha Chang is home to an ancient stone Buddha image and giant elephant figures.
Wat Samnak Khun Nen
Built in a contemporary Thai style with a shady atmosphere, Wat Samnak Khun Nen is one of the most famous temples in all of Phichit. The old master monk of the temple is Luangpho Khian Thammarakkhito, who lived at the same time as Luangpho Ngoen and Luangpho Doem. He passed away at the age of 108 years and was famed for his holy blessings of safety and mercy. To this day, people flock to the temple to pay respects to him. The temple also has a local wisdom museum.
Directions: Take the train and get off at Bang Mun Nak Station, then take a public bus from in front of the station. If you are driving there, use Phahon Yothin Road to join Highway No.32. Join Highway No.11 and at the Wang Ngio Intersection, make a left turn and follow the road for 14km.
Wang Thap Sai Orchard
This orchard is a source of mango, with a range of varieties that are exported across the world. Located in Tambon Wang Thap Sai, the orchard is a beautiful place to explore, and is full of other local fruits such as the Marian Plum. Visitors can see the fruit grow and purchase the fruit that has been freshly picked. The best time to visit is between January and May.