Thailand’s Phichit: A Fabulous Land Of Legends
Phichit Province is the origin of a famous Krai Thong (Crocodile Conqueror) folktale. As another ancient city of Thailand, Phichit is charming with its historical sites dating back to the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods.
Phichit is located on the bank of the Nan River in the lower part of Northern Thailand, standing between Nakhon Sawan and Phitsanulok Provinces, with two rivers running through the city, which are the Nan River and the Yom River.
Here is a list of places that you should visit in Phichit…
1. Wat Pho Prathap Chang
Located in Pho Pra Thap Chang district, this ancient temple was built by an Ayutthaya king named Phra Chao Sua or King Sanphet VIII in 1701. It is believed the temple rests on his birthplace. Although abandoned for almost 300 years, the remnants hint at past splendours, with ruins such as a huge hall, walls still standing but roofless, and small Chedis (or stupas) scattered over the site. Two walls and huge trees, some of which are over 200 years old, surround the entire site.
In front of the temple is an over 200-year-old Takhian (Malabar ironwood) tree measuring 7.6 meters in diameter. The Fine Arts Department registered the hall as a national ancient monument in 1935, and the hall has undergone restoration. The people of Pho Prathap Chang also established the Monument of King Suea beside the Pho Prathap Chang District Office.
2. Wat Tha Luang
Wat Tha Luang is believed to have been constructed in 1845 during the reign of King Rama III. According to the writing of Prince-Patriarch Vajirananavarorasa, Wat Tha Luang was also known as Wat Ratchadittharam, which means Royal Pier or King’s Pier. Enshrined inside the ubosot (ordination hall) of the temple is Luangpho Phet, Phichit’s most renowned bronze statue of Lord Buddha known for its beauty and sacredness. The Buddha image was named Luangpho Phet (Reverend Monk Diamond) as it depicts Lord Buddha in the attitude of subduing Mara in the diamond or Phet sitting position, the same artistic style as Phra Phuttha Sihing influenced by Sri Lankan Buddhism.
3. Bueng Si Fai
Bueng Si Fai is a large freshwater lake to the south of Pichit town. It is a Fishery Department’s facility to breed freshwater fish. There is a landscaped park suitable for rest and recreation along the banks.
The best time to visit is in the early morning and late afternoon when the scenery is at its most scenic. On the other side of the park is an aquarium exhibiting species of native fish and local fishing equipment. Also, there is a crocodile-shaped structure within, which is a fun place to click photos and hang out with your group.
4. Wat Rong Chang
Located in Tambon Rong Chang, this monastery is on Phichit-Wang Chik Road about 5 kms. far from town. During the reign of Phraya Kottabong, this area was formerly called “Kong Chang” (Elephant gathering) because it was a rest area of elephant and mahouts. Within the monastery compound, there are 3 giant Buddha images in different postures: Subduing Evil, Reclining and Restraining. The most interesting thing is the big Chedi with an underground room used for keeping the bricks that 84,000 sections of the Buddhist Scripture are inscribed. The construction of the hidden room is based on the foreseen view that there might be an unexpected event such as a nuclear war, which can erase the existence of the Buddhist Scripture in the world.
5. Wat Nakhon Chum
Built in the Sukhothai period about 800 hundred years ago, the temple features an old Ubosot built with brick and mortar with the upper parts in wood. Instead of windows, there are narrow openings for ventilation throughout the walls, similar to temples of the Ayutthaya period. In the Ubosot is a large Sukhothai-style Buddha statue once used as the principal statue in oath-taking ceremony pledging allegiance to the monarch.