Phitsanulok, in northern Thailand, is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage center in the country. Would you like to be able to experience the spirituality of this city in the first person? We tell you what to see in Phitsanulok and what to do to enjoy the city to the fullest. The city of Phitsanulok is located near Sukhothai, which was the capital of the kingdom of Siam from 1238 to 1378. It was precisely during the golden years of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, the two most famous historical cities in Thailand, that Phitsanulok lived its splendor, that is, between the 13th and 18th centuries. Today, its ruins and temples prove that rich past. But, beyond culture and history, Phitsanulok also stands out for having a natural environment that is very worthwhile.
What to see in Phitsanulok
Now that you know a little more about the city: do you want to delve into what to see in Phitsanulok? We guide you through the most outstanding points of interest that we recommend you visit on your trips to Thailand .
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat temple is also known as Wat Yai. It is one of the main stops on your way through Phitsanulok , visited by thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. It was built in the 15th century to house a statue of Buddha in cast bronze and bathed in gold. This statue is called Phra Phuttha Chinnarat and is considered as one of the most beautiful statues in Thailand. At dawn in this temple the monks and the faithful congregate to pray. An image that we recommend you see. Remember to respect his prayer and keep silent. It is common to see monks in this temple, too, during the day. You can give them an offering, if you feel like it. We recommend it because it is said that if you go to the temple and make an offering, your wishes will come true!
- Location : 92/3 Phutthabucha Alley, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Mueang Phitsanulok District
- Hours : from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Price : 40 baht (approximately €1)
Wat Chulamani temple is one of the oldest temples in Phitsanulok . It is situated near the Nan River and was built during the Sukhothai reign era in the 13th century. It is the only Khmer-style temple in Phitsanulok. During your visit you will see that it contains several statues of Buddha, as well as an important collection of antiquities. Currently, the Wat Chulamani is practically in ruins but in its main prang (tower) you will be able to see engravings on the walls and you will even be able to access it. A small, narrow tunnel will take you to the main chamber, where there is an altar with a Buddha figure.
- Location : 50/3 Tha Thong, Mueang Phitsanulok District,
- Hours : all day
Things to do in Phitsanulok
Now that you know what to see in the city, we want to propose the most recommended activities. This way you will know what to do in Phitsanulok and how to make the most of the experiences that this city offers.
Dine at the Phitsanulok Night Bazaar
Do you like to try the local food of the places you travel to? If so, come to the Phitsanulok Night Bazaar, where you can taste the best specialties. You can eat there or order food to go. In this market not only food is sold, so if you want to buy local craft products or buy clothes, it is also a good place. The prices in this market are cheap. In addition, the Phitsanulok Night Bazaar is a market that is not very crowded, perfect for mixing with the locals and learning about their day-to-day life. We recommend it if you want to feel the pulse of the city and live it in the most authentic way.
Stroll through one of the National Parks in the area
Phitsanulok is a very natural area, ideal for adventure and nature lovers. The city is surrounded by several natural parks. Some of the most outstanding parks that are worth visiting are:
- Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park: is a park located near the border with Laos. It stands out for its mountains.
- Phu Soi Dao National Park: jungle landscapes with lush forests and waterfalls await you in this park.
- Namtok Chat Trakan National Park: Many animal species live in this park. It also stands out for its Pakrong waterfall. You can bathe in the surroundings of the waterfall, in the area set up for it.
Visiting the natural parks is the best way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of big cities and the frenetic pace of urban areas.
Go rafting on the Kek River
An activity designed for the more adventurous is rafting on the Kek River. There are many routes, both for the most experienced and for those looking to get started in the world of rafting. We recommend a three-hour tour of the Kek River, which starts from Kaeng Tha Kham and is 8 kilometers long. This route will allow you to get to know the natural part of Phitsanulok much better and, obviously, you will have a great time.
Practical information for visiting Phitsanulok
Now you know what to see in Phitsanulok and what to do in the city! Now all you have to do is delve into a little more in the practical details to reach this important historical city. We tell you more about it below.
How much time to devote to Phitsanulok?
Phitsanulok is an ideal place to spend a night because, beyond its attractions, it is halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. This allows you to see other interesting cities in the surrounding area like Ayutthaya or Sukhothai. We could say that Phitsanulok is a worthwhile place of passage and that it serves as a starting point to some of the most important cities in Thailand.
How to get to Phitsanulok?
You will probably want to go to Phitsanulok from Bangkok or from Chiang Mai, some of the main cities that are around it. These are some of the recommended means of transport:
- By bus: It is the cheapest option and the most interesting if you want to visit other cities on the way to Phitsanulok. For example, if you go from Bangkok to Phitsanulok along the way you will pass such interesting places as Lopburi, the city of monkeys. Keep in mind that it is the option that will require the most time. The journey by road (not counting the stops to other cities) is about 6 hours.
- By train: it is an intermediate option in terms of price and duration. The tour is about 4 hours and 30 minutes.
- By plane: it is the most expensive option but also the fastest. Perfect if you want to save time and are not interested in visiting other cities.
How to get from Phitsanulok to Sukhothai?
If you are wondering how to get from Phitsanulok to Sukhothai, another of the most interesting cities in the area, we recommend going by bus. The road trip lasts approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Depending on the combination of schedules, the price per journey can range from €1 to €4.
What to take into account of the Phitsanulok buildings?
Keep in mind that the city suffered a serious fire in the 1950s, so many of its buildings may be partially destroyed. Now that you know what to see in Phitsanulok, it’s time to start planning your trip! Take a look at our Thailand itineraries, some of which include a visit to Phitsanulok City: