Nakhon Si Thammarat, the second largest city of the greatest history and background above any other town in the region due to its status as a first grade city controlling various subjected cities and towns, a place that houses Lord Buddha’s relics which is the most important statutory place of the south. Being the center of Buddhism during Sivichaya period, It is located some 861 kms. by railroad and 780 kms. by highway from Bangkok. It occupies an area of 9,942.5 square kilometers having high plateau with mountains and jungles in the west then sloping down towards the east and becoming basin along the coastline of the Gulf of Thailand. It borders Surat Thani to the north; Trang, Phattalung and Songkhla to the south; the Gulf of Thailand to the east; and Krabi to the west.
Distances from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Nearby Provinces
Surat Thani 134 kilometers
Trang 123 kilometers
Phatthalung 112 kilometers
Songkhla 161 kilometers
Krabi 233 kilometers
Phuket 366 kilometers
Things to see & do sights & experiences
Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan
Is located on Ratchadamnoen Road in Tambon Nai Muang. This is one of the most important historical sites in southern Thailand. The pagoda, 55.78 meters high, has a distinctive Sri Lankan style. The top is entirely covered by pure gold. Inside the temple are many buildings of importance, especially the royal building which has beautiful architecture from the Ayutthaya period and the Sam Chom building where the Buddha image attired in royal wardrobe Phra Si Thamma Sokarat is housed. There are also the Phra Maha Phinetkrom (the equestrian image) building, the Thap Kaset building, while the Khian and Pho Lanka buildings are used to display artifacts donated to the temple by Buddhists.
Phra Phuttha Sihing
Is housed in the Phra Phuttha Sihing hall near the Provincial Hall. This sacred image was believed to have been ordered by the king of Lanka in 157 AD and was brought to Thailand during the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great. There are currently 3 similar images in Thailand which are at the National Museum in Bangkok, Wat Phra Sing in Chiang Mai and this image in Nakhon Si Thammarat
Ho Phra Isuan
is on Ratchadamnoen Road. It is a historical site of the Brahman religion. It has on display the Shiva Linga which is the symbol of Shiva, the Brahman god. There are also several bronze images such as the Siwa Nattarat image, Phra Uma and Phra Phikkhanet. The bronze images in this hall are replicas of the real images that are in Nakhon Si Thammarat National Museum.
Ho Phra Narai
is also on Ratchadamnoen Road and another Brahman place of worship opposite Ho Phra Isuan. The original structure and design of this hall are unknown. However, a gray sandstone image of the god Narai wearing a hat and holding a conch in the right hand was discovered in the hall. It is estimated that it dates from the 11th-12th Buddhist century. This image is now in the National Museum in town. The only artifact on display in the hall is a replica of the Narai image discovered at an archaeological dig in Amphoe Si Chon.
Phra Wihan Sung
or Ho Phra Sung is an important historical site located just outside the ancient city wall to the north in the area of Sanam Na Muang, on Ratchadamnoen Road. The site is so called because of its high location on a hill 2.10 meters above level ground. There is no exact historical evidence but it is believed that its architecture and wall murals are from the early Rattanakosin period. The building houses plaster images with a fat clay core. The images are either from the 23rd-24th Buddhist century or from the late Ayutthaya period.
is alongside Ratchadamnoen Road. The wall was renovated in the early Rattanakosin period and once more in 1990. The wall runs parallel with the city moat from Chai Nua Gate or Chai Sak Gate to the east for 100 meters.
is made of blackened copper. The monument features a soldier ready to fight with a bayonet. The locals call this monument Cha Dam or Chao Pho Dam. It was erected to honor Thai soldiers in southern Thailand who died fighting an invading Japanese force in World War II on December 8, 1941. The monument is on Ratchadamnoen Road in Fort Vajiravudh which is the headquarters of the Fourth Region Army. The fort compound itself has conference rooms, guesthouses, a golf course, a shooting range, and a souvenir shop.
Festivals & events what's happening on the local scene
Hae Pha Khun That Festival
Is celebrated at Phra Borom That Chedi. The pagoda is considered to be the representative of Lord Buddha and is believed by locals to possess unsurpassed might of righteousness as it contains holy relics. Every year Buddhists pay homage to the pagoda by organizing a procession bearing a religious cloth to wrap around the pagoda to bring good fortune and success. This festival is held twice a year during Makha Bucha Day (the 15th full-moon night of February) and Wisakha Bucha Day (the 15th full-moon night of May).
Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month
is a grand event of the province and of southern Thailand. This festival is held from the 1st waning-moon night to the 15th waning-moon night every September. It is held to pay respect to deceased ancestors. According to Buddhism beliefs, the dead had many sins and was sent to hell to become a demon. The demons are allowed to come up to meet their relatives for15 days in September, but must return to hell before sunrise of the 15th day. The living try to appease the spirits by taking food to temples to make merit. Beginning on the 13th day, people will go shopping for food to be given. The 14th day is spent preparing and decorating the food tray, and the 15th day is the actual merit-making day. The tray presented nowadays has elaborate designs but still retains traditional components. Contests to find the most beautiful tray are held. A magnificent procession proceeds along Ratchadamnoen Road on the 14th day.
Chak Phra of Lak Phra Festival
is influenced by Indian culture, which expanded into the province a long time ago. The festival signifies the joy that people had when Lord Buddha returned from the heaven and the Lord was invited to sit on a throne and carried to a palace. In practice, locals would bear a Buddha image holding a bowl in a procession around the city. Held in October, the festival is preceded by activities 7 days before, such as beating drums, playing castanets and decorating the ceremonial throne for the image. The actual ceremony is usually held only on the last day of the Buddhist lent. People would take the image from the temple in the morning and proceed to Benchama Rachuthit School in Amphoe Muang. This is also done in front of Ron Phibun district office. In addition, there is a water-borne procession on Pak Phanang River in Pak Phanang, which coincides with an annual boat race for a trophy from the Crown Princess.
Local flavor from food to handicrafts
is a famous craft of the province and is well known since the old days. There are two types; black surface with white designs and black surface with gold designs. Nielloware of this province is popular for its durability and intricate designs by hand. The finished product is a bright, shiny black object with beautiful patterns. Items include rings, necklaces, bracelets, bowls, pedestals, and trays. The best shopping area is Tha Chang Road, behind Sanam Na Muang in the area of Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, Nakhon Si Thammarat Municipality, and the Tha Wang market area.
can be found at the Suan Maphrao Thai-Muslim village behind Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan. The only brassware product now available is a cylinder for making noodles.
have long been the work of local silversmiths who can create gold, silver and mixed (gold, silver and an alloy) necklaces. The center is at Tha Chang Road behind Sanam Na Muang.
Shadow play making
is an art that goes with the popular southern entertainment of shadow play. Thai shadow play figures have been transformed from those found in Java. The hands and feet of the figures are fully movable during performances. The hide used can be either raw cow or goat hide. Designs are made by using chisels of various sizes to make small holes along drawn patterns. The price of each figure varies according to the delicateness and size of each one. Shadow play figures are now important products of Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung. Nakhon Si Thammarat city, in particular, has plenty of shops selling this unique product.
Yan Lipao basketry
is another famous product of the South, particularly in Nakhon Si Thammarat where people have been making it for over 100 years. Yan Liphao is a climbing plant that grows in damp places. The trunk is very tough and durable, so locals found a way to make good use of it by making household goods such as handbags, tobacco boxes, tea utensils, etc. Some pieces are encased in silver alloy, gold alloy or gold. It takes around 10 days to a month to make one item, depending on the details of the design. The major Yan Liphao production spots are Ban Mon, Tambon Tha Rua and Ban Na Khian, Tambon Na Khian, both in Amphoe Muang, and families in Fort Vajiravudh.
are made from a kind of palm called Ton Pho by locals. The villagers of Ban Khok Yang in Ron Phibun use their spare time to make the fans. The leaves are dried and then woven into fans. Some are dyed into bright colors and sold at reasonable prices. Kapho fans are well known and sold throughout the country. Fans in Nakhon Si Thammarat can be bought at stores at Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, souvenir shops on Tha Chang Road and in Bowon Bazaar in the Tha Wang market area.