The city of Phitsanulok (P’Lok for short) has been around for some 600 years and thankfully plenty of historic monuments have survived to tell its ancient stories. From richly decorated temples to truly absorbing museums, Phitsanulok boasts many attractions to be discovered. Though most visitors use the city as a base from which to explore the surrounding region, the city actually has much to offer for those who choose to spend a couple of days here.
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat
Also commonly known as Wat Yai, this monastery is the main attraction in Phitsanulok. Visitors and worshippers flock here to behold what is considered one of the most beautiful Buddha images in Thailand: Phra Buddha Chinnara. The huge compound also contains a small market and hosts a grand fair every year in January.
Sergeant Major Thawee Folk Museum
This small but fascinating museum showcases local culture and society through a collection of artifacts collected by Sergeant Major Thawee. The various exhibits spread through five traditional Thai buildings and feature a number of tools, textiles and photographs from Phitsanulok Province.
One of the best ways to experience real Thailand is to pay a visit to its local night markets. In Phitsanulok, this market take place every night just south of the train station. You’ll find all kinds of goodies here from snacks on sticks, curries and local som tam. After you’ve filled up on these traditional Thai delicacies, browse the market stalls for cheap clothes, local handicravts, handmade paper products and more.
This isn’t the most visited temple in Phitsanulok, but it’s certainly worth a visit during your time in the city. It was originally built in 1463 when the capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom was moved to Phitsanulok. Today, visitors can gawk at the centuries old golden Buddha and visit a sacred tree by climbing its ladder to leave an offering and ring a bell.
King Naresuan Shrine and Wang Chan Palace Ruin
King Naresuan is one of Thailand’s most beloved kings, responsib|e for freeing the Ayutthaya Kingdom from the Burmese in the 16th century. A shrine was subsequently built to honor his life. It features a life-sized statue of the King within the ruins of the palace where he was born. You’ll find plenty of locals flocking here to burn incense and leave offerings at the foot of the statue.
Wat Nang Phaya
Located on the eastern bank of the Nan River, this smaller version of Wat Yai offers a quieter alternative for those looking to get away from the crowds. Built in the 15th century, the temple features beautiful paintings and small Buddha images.
Long Boat Racing Festival
Photo by Rno-anocha
If you happen to be in Phitsanulok during the Thai Buddhist Lent Period (September-October) head over to the shores of Nan River and watch some long boat races. The whole ordeal turns into a fun day with a local market set up on the river banks and music playing all day long.
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