Phitsanulok is 377 kms. by road from Bangkok. It is one of the most interesting provinces in the North, serving as a center for commerce, transportation and communication. It is situated on the geographical and administrational line that divides the Central region from the Northern region.
Phitsanulok is the birthplace of King Naresuan the Great and his equally brave and able brother, Prince Ekatosarot. At the cross - road between the Northern and Central regions of the country, Phitsanulok has long been an important center both for political and strategical reason. It was a recruiting place when Ayutthaya had war with Myanmar. It was a capital of Thailand for 25 years during the reign of King Boromtrailokkanat of Ayutthaya.
The climate of Phitsanulok is generally hot and humid. It borders with Uttaradit in the North, Pichit in the South, Loei and Phetchabun in the East, Kamphaeng Phet and Sukhothai in the West. Covering an area of 10,815.8 square kilometers, the province is divided into 9
parts / regions : Amphoes Muang, Bang Krathum, Bang Rakam, Chat Trakan, Nakhon Thai, Noen Maprang, Phrom Priram, Wang Thong and Wat Bot.
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat This monastery commonly called by the inhabitants as "Wat Yai", is the most important monastery of Phitsanulok, the home of the famous Phra Buddha Chinnarat. It is located at the foot of Naresuan Bridge on the city side of the river.
The monastery was built in the reign of Phra Maha Thamma Racha I (Phraya Lithai) in 1357 A.D. It houses the Phra Buddha Chinnarat regarded as the most beautiful Buddha image in Thailand. It is cast in the attitude of subduing evil. Later, in 1631, King Ekatosarot graciously bestowed some of his gold regalia to be beaten into gold - plate and applied them to the image with his own hands, creating this most beautiful Buddha image.
There are many other beautiful and noteworthy items in the monastery compound. The mother-of-pearl inlaid wooden doors of Vihara are especially splendid, and were built by King Boromkot in 1756 as a dedication to Phra Buddha Chinnarat. Behind the Vihara, there is a large prang 36 meters high, with a staircase leading up to the niche containing the Buddha relics. In front of the prang, there is Phra Attharos, and on the 9 - Room Vihara slope, there remains only the newly renovated Buddha image.
Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Nang Phya is located on the eastern bank of the Nan River, near Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat to the south. These two monasteries, assumed to be built when Phitsanulok City was ruled by Somdet Phraboromtrai Lokkanat, have linking compounds. Wat Nang Phya has no temple or bot but it is known for the so-called "Phra Nang Phya" votive tablets found within the pagoda's repository. Both the hot of Wat Ratchaburana and the vihara of Wat Nang Phya share a special fine form of the 3-head nagas decorated on their eaves.
Wat Chulamani The Prang, a corncob-shaped tower at Wat Chulamani is well-known and studied by students of archaeology and history. The Wat is the oldest historical site in Phitsanulok. Of a highly individual style and pattern, it boasts extremely ornate and elaborate plaster design of immense interest and value found nowhere else in the Kingdom.
Shrine of King Naresuan the Great This shrine is located opposite to the township area in the compound of the Phitsanulok Phittayakom School. It consists of a seated figure of King Naresuan the Great pouring lustral water from a golden container and ceremoniously declaring Ayutthaya's independence from Myanmar. The shrine is built on the site of Chandra Palace, where he was born in the year 15>5 A.D. The present shrine's building was completed on Nov. 28,1961 A.D.
Sergeant - Major Dr. Thawi - Pim Buranaket Folklore Museum Located opposite the Buranathai Buddha Image foundry, Wisutkasat road, Amphoe Muang. This museum is well known for its collections of all folk-arts, crafts, basketry, pottery and ancient kitchen utensils. In addition to these, there also are instruments for agriculture occupation and household living displayed.
Houseboats along Maenam Nan Phitsanulok has other name so-called Song Kwae , Song Kwae means the town of two rivers. Maenam Nan is the main and the most important river of the province. It is 127.5 kms. long running across the province. Kwae Noi River, the name similar to that in Kanchanaburi in the West, also comes from the North and joins up with Maenam Nan near the downtown area. This joint river is the main artery that divides Phitsanulok into two parts,the East and the West Bank. As it is a main transportation route of the province, people gather together to stay on house boats and house rafts along both sides of the river.
Along Phitsanulok - Lomsak Road (Highway No. 12) :
Sakunothayan Arboretum This Park is situated at Km. 33 of the above Highway where a right turn leads to the 500 meters access road.The park name was graciously bestowed by H.M. the King during his tour of the North in 1958. Within the park area,'Namtok Wang NokAen' a 10 meters high waterfall, cascades among the rocks to create a beautiful and scenic locale. The erosive action of the currents have stacked and shaped the stones in a most unique and uniform manner.
Namtok Kaeng Song This waterfall is situated on the road side at Km. 45 and is clearly visible from the road.
Namtok Poi At Km. 60 there is a sign reading'Suan Pa Khao Krayang', where a 2 kms. access road leads to Namtok Poi. Before reaching the waterfall, however, one can see a spacious lawn filled with many species of flowering trees. It is the largest of the falls along this road, and is distinguished by its greater flow and profusion of rocky outcroppings.
Thung Salaeng Lunag National Park is one of Thailand's largest forests with a total area of 789,000 rail (315,600 acres) in two provinces, Phitsanulok and Phetchabun. It is located in Tambon Chomphu and Ban Thung of Amphoe Wang Thong, and in Tambon Nam Chun of Amphoe Lomsak. The park office is located at Km. 80 on Phitsanulok-Lomsak Highway, along which one can see beautiful lush green forests, high mountains with scenic winding roads. Main attraction in the park is 'Namtok Kaeng Sopha' at Km. 71-72, regarded as the most beautiful one in the area. For accommodation, contact the National Park Division, Forestry Department, Tel. 579-0529, 579-4842.
Chat Trakan National Park It is located in Khao Ya Puk occupying a total area of 339,375 rais (135,750 acres) where a 7-levelled medium sized waterfall is the source of the Kwae Noi rivulet. To reach the park, proceed along Phitsanulok-Lomsak Highway to Km. 67-68. Take Highway No. 2013 for a further distance to 29 kms. turn left, continuing 38 kms. to Amphoe Chat Trakan and turn right to Highway No. 1237 for another 10 kms., a total distance of 145 kms. For accommodations, contact the National Park Division, Forestry Department, Tel. 579-0529, 579-4842.
Phu Hin Rongkla National Park This national park covers the total area of 191,875 rais (76,750 acres) and is about 123 kms. from Phitsanulok provincial city. To reach the park is by taking Highway No. 12 (Phitsanulok - Lomsak), at about Km. 68 turn left at Ban Yaeng for a further distance of 24 kms. then turn right along the elevated road another 31 kms. The park area mainly covers with evergreen forest with beautiful waterfalls and a vast plain of rock with cracks scattered all around. Furthermore, the place used to be a bloody battle field due to the conflict in political idealism. Scars of fighting still can be seen from place to place. Tourists or visitors who want to stay over night are advised to make a prior reservation through the National Park Division, Forestry Department by Tel. 579482, 5790529.