Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park , Petchburi is one of the most ancient cities in Thailand. It somewhat echoes Ayutthaya and some say (myself included)
that it is more intriguing as it is very much alive and kicking, a living and breathing city rather than an urban relic of ancient history.
Other than its many temples in Petchburi , One of the most prominent gems is Phra Nakhon Khiri (the holy city hill), which is also known by its common, local title – the Khao Wang (the hill with the palace). In the attached picture, you can see one of the three hills on site.
You can walk through the 3 hill tops included in the complex, enjoy the beautiful landscape and have a look at Petchburicity and its surroundings. Notice the monkeys who feel like the owners of the place and sometimes like to grab food and drinks from the visitors’ hands.
The entire complex was built by king Mongkut, Rama 4, who passed by, adored the beauty of the place, and decided to build his summer palace there (for the use of future kings to come after him as well). King Rama 4 also chose the name of the palace – Phra Nakhon Khiri, yet the locals still refer to it as Khao Wang.
Building the complex has completed by 1858. It contains palaces, temples, various structures and even a smallobservatory (king Rama 4 was an amateur astronomer). The building entwines various styles and designs, including western elements, Chinese, Japanese and of course Thai features.
On top of the eastern hill there are several temples, including Wat Samanaram, which contains a hall with paintings by one of the most established and renowned artists in Thai culture, along with Wat Phra Kaew – the Thai temple that resembles the Emerald Buddha temple in Bangkok. The middle hill features a Chedi which towers to 40 meters and contains relics of Buddha. Here you have a lovely viewpoint of the 2 other hill tops and the city of Petchburi.
The western hill features the royal palaces, as well as various buildings which served the royal family. You can look at the bedrooms, bathrooms, other halls and facilities that served the royal family, and learn of the regal lifestyle and customs of the time. Some of the structures have turned into a museum which constitutes a part of the national Thai museum that features rare arts and objects.
Since filming inside the museum halls is forbidden, I cannot provide you with inside photos.
You can reach the place by following a path which leads to the top, or by taking a cable-car (which is preferable, if you ask me).
Opening Hours: every day from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Please notice your belongings, especially foods and drinks. As I previously mentioned, the monkeys are lurking and waiting for their ‘trophies’…
In the cable-car station (where you pick it up to get to the site) there are various souvenir and memorabilia shops which offer unique wooden works of art – it is certainly worth your time, so make sure to visit these shops as you pass by.
FYI: TipTop-Travel Private Family Adventure Tours includes a visit to Phra Nakhon in our tour program to Hua Hin. The visit can also be included in the ultimate coast to coast tour across Thailand.