Unseen Destination: Prachinburi Province
Prachinburi Province, about 136km to the East of Bangkok, has been chosen by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports as one of their Unseen Destinations for Thailand. They recognised that many of the most popular sites in Thailand have become congested with tourists. In order to alleviate this problem they decided to launch an Unseen Destination campaign to help promote some of the lesser known attractions around Thailand. Although this campaign is mainly aimed at Thais, some foreign tourists who are repeat visitors might be interested in some of these places.
Our first stop was at Wat Bang Krabao in Bang Sang district. This is only 6 km from the city center. The main attraction is the image of revered monk Phra Khru Sitthisarnkhun (Lluang Pho Jad). He was the former abbot of the temple and very much respected by the local people, Another attraction is the boat used by King Rama V when he visited the province just over one hundred years ago. The temple also has hundred of “flying foxes”. The bats can be seen high up in the trees during the day. At sunset they all leave at the same time to go hunting for food.
The next place that we visited was Wat Ton Pho Sri Maha Pho in Sri Mahosot District. Here they have a giant Bodhi tree that is believed to be over 2,000 years old. It has a circumference of 20 meters and a height of 30 meters making it both the biggest and oldest of its kind in Thailand. Thais believe that this tree is an offshoot of the original bodhi tree that The Lord Buddha meditated and became enlightened underneath over 2,550 years ago. A sapling of this tree was brought to Thailand many years ago via Sri Lanka.
The third stop was at Muang Si Mahosot which is a large ancient town in Phetchaburi. Not much is left today apart from some moats carved into the natural laterite. In 1986, the Fine Arts Department found a giant pair of Buddha’s footprints carved into the laterite stone. In the middle of each footprint is a Dhammachak image. These are believed to be the oldest Buddha footprints in Thailand. At the same place there is a deep well which has water that is clear enough to drink.
Our next stop was the Yusuksuwan Museum on Prachintakham Road in Muang district. There are five buildings in the grounds of the museum that contains many collector’s items ranging from crockery to utensils, to rarely found vehicles and boats. Throughout the museum there are literally hundred of lanterns. Yusuksuwan Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is 150 Baht for foreign adults and 100 Baht for foreign children. Thai prices are 80B/30B.
In the grounds of the Chao Phaya Abhaibhubejr Hospital there is a Renaissance style building that was turned into the Thai Medicine Museum in 1996. The two-storey building has a dome in the middle and exterior walls of flowery stucco dcorated on doors and widows. The interior decor is of Western style. It was built in 1909 as a residence for King Rama V but he passed away before he had a chance to return to the province.The museum collects and conserves Thai medicines, Thai herbs and local medicine.
Our final stop was at Wat Mai Dong Krathong Yan in Sri Maha Bodhi district. Here they have an interesting folk museum which tells the life of the Thai-Puan people. They come from Laos and are known for handwoven textiles, especially the striped and patterned pakama, a short sarong worn by men, and a pasin tin jok, a longer women’s skirt. This community also have a homestay project where you can stay with local families.
Click here for a Google map of all the places that we visited in Prachinburi. I have also posted many more pictures on my Facebook Page.