Located in the south of Thailand, Nakhon Si Thammarat (or simply “Nakhon” to its friends) isn’t high up on any itinerary for the region. The quiet town isn’t located on the beach and it doesn’t boast a particularly lively night scene, leaving many to disregard it as a relevant visit in Thailand. But there are plenty of reasons to stop by Nakhon, and we’ll show you just some of them below.
Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihaan
The most important temple in southern Thailand, Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihaan (now trying saying that three times fast) attracts visitors and worshippers due to its beauty and intriguing history. Legend has it that over 1,000 years ago Queen Hem Chala and Prince Thanakuman brought precious icons to Nakhon and housed them at this site in a small pagoda. Since then, the temple has grown to huge proportions boasting a giant chedi, a pleasant courtyard and a number of small museums.
Shadow Puppet Museum
Nakhon is one of the places in Thailand that is best known for its shadow puppetry (nang thalung). Made out of buffalo hide, the puppets come to life to recreate Thai drama stories. The Shadow Puppet Museum is privately owned and run by shadow puppet show performer and maker Suchart Subsin. Here, you’ll be able to uncover the history of shadow puppetry through the various exhibitions of shadow puppets from all over the world.
Khao Luang National Park
Boasting 579km2, Khao Luang National Park is one of Thailand’s vastest green areas. Its landscape is dotted with mountains, waterfalls and even a bamboo forest. The highlight is the park’s Khao Luang Mountain; reaching 1,835m in height, the peak is the highest in southern Thailand. The soaring mountain range and beautiful virgin forest landscape make this park a mountain trekker’s dream. You can even rent a bungalow or spend the night camping out under the stars.
Like a number of other Thai cities, Nakhon has been able to maintain a part of its original city walls intact. The 13th fortifications that run along Ratchadamnoen Road spreading some 450 m from east to west and over 2km north to south. Of the ten original gates, only one remains on the northern wall. A walk around the walls will make for an interesting glimpse into Nakhon’s past.
Wat Thao Kot
A little further down from the impressive site at Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihaan, you’ll find an abandoned site on the riverside with five ruined temples. The temples themselves are quite small and would seem insignificant were it not for the eerie atmosphere created by the surrounding wild jungle. If that’s not enough of an excuse to drop by, a lively market also takes place here daily.
National Museum Nakhon Si Thammarat
Photo by jaglazier
This museum houses an extensive collections of artifacts unearthed in the four southern provinces of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Surat Thani, and Chumphon. You’ll find all kinds of arts and crafts from all corners of the world here dating back to the time when Nakhon was an international trading hub.
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