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|Covering some 105,815 square kilometers, Phitsanulok is 377 kilometers north of Bangkok. It borders Uttaradit Province on the North, Phichit Province on the South, Loei and Phetchabun Provinces on the East, and Kamphaeng Phet and Sukhothai Provinces on the West. Situated on a strategic location dividing Thailands Central and Northern regions, and connecting to the Northeastern region, Phitsanulok is undeniably an important hub and an ideal base for travelers wishing to explore the lower North and western Northeast. Phitsanulok, however, is not just a stopover for tourists, but is a province with promising tourism opportunities.
Phitsanulok City spans the banks of Maenam Nan and has Maenam Kwae Noi running through it. Therefore, it is locally known and historically referred to as Song Kwae City (song means two and kwae means a river). Most of Phitsanulok's terrain is flatlands, with one third of the area being mountain ranges on the north and the east. Its unique natural endowments including natural parks and waterfalls make a trip to Phitsanulok worthwhile.
Apart from its exceptional natural charisma, Phitsanulok provides visitors with an opportunity to explore notable chapters of Thailand's history. For example, remains of an ancient community dating back between 2,000-4,000 years, including old stone axes, was found here. In addition, the old temple of Wat Chula Mani, situated 5 kilometers south of the city, was built even before the Sukhothai Kingdom burst into power.
Phitsanulok prospered along with the powerful Sukhothai (1238-1378) and Ayutthaya (1350 1767) Kingdoms. In particular, it played a strategic role in the Ayutthaya era when it had become the Kingdoms royal capital for 25 years during the reign of King Borom Trailokanat.
Phitsanulok is also the birthplace of King Naresuan the Great (reigned 1590-1605) the legendary King who declared Ayutthayas independence from Burma in 1584. King Naresuan the Great is known for his victorious and honorable single hand combat on elephant back Yutthahatti against a Burmese Crown Prince. His heroic power and strong dedication to expelling the invaders from his motherland saved the country, and truly united the Kingdom which later was known as Siam and currently known as Thailand.
Phitsanulok was also a strategic location for other Ayutthaya Kings as it was a major center for military recruitment and a training camp when Ayutthaya waged wars with Burma.
|Although geographically located in the northeast or I-San, Loei has many things in common with the northern region – namely its numerous high hills and mountains and its wintry as well as foggy climate. Literally speaking, the province deserves its name “Loei” which means ‘beyond’ or ‘to the furthest extreme’ as Loei lies in the northernmost part of the Northeastern region. Most notable is that Loei is the only province in Thailand where the temperature can drop to as low as zero Celsius in winter while it can become hotter than any province during summer. In short, Loei’s geography and climate is unique when compared to other I-San provinces.
Situated along the Phetchabun Mountain Range, Loei, a province that rises approximately 400 meters above sea level, is dubbed “the land of seas of mountains, the coolest in Siam”. Covering an area of 11,424 square kilometers (equivalent to 7.14 million rai of land), Loei Province, which is 520 kilometers from Bangkok shares a border with Laos to the north with the Khong and Heung Rivers forming the natural border, with Khon Kaen and Phetchabun Provinces to the south, with Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Nong Khai and Khon Kaen Provinces to the east, and with Phitsanulok Province to the west. The province can be divided into three main areas: the high mountains in the west, the plains at the foot of the hills in the south and the east, and the lowlands in the basins of the Khong and the Loei Rivers.
Loei Province has an abundance of precious resources such as forests and natural resources. Of equal importance, however, is its unusual mix of northern and northeastern culture which is treasured by both locals and visitors. This remarkable cultural blend has produced more than one local dialect but only one local identity.
Attractions within the province that should be explored include Phu Kradung, Phu Luang and Phu Reua National parks, as well as Tha Li and Chiang Khan Districts.
Administratively, Loei is divided into 12 districts (Amphoes) : Mueang, Wang Saphung, Phu Kradueng, Chiang Khan, Pak Chom, Tha Li, Phu Ruea, Dan Sai, Na Haeo, Na Duang, Phu Luang, Pha Khao, Erawan and Nong Hin.
|Nong Bua Lamphu
|Split off from Udon Thani in 1993, Nong Bua Lam Phu is a scenic province
famous for its prehistoric sites. Fossilised shells about 140 million years old can be seen in the cliffs 10 kilometres outside the main town;archaeological sites at Kudkwangsoi villages are also attractions.
Well worth a visit is the huge Erawan Cave, Full of beautiful stalagmites and stalacitites. A very long stairway leads up to the cavern, where a large Buddha sits at the entrance.
Wat Tham Klong Phen, a tranquil forest monastery outside of town, is revered as the home of the famous meditation monk. Luang Phu Khao Analayo. A museum in the compound is dedicated to the monk. A beautiful nature reserve is found at Phu Kao Phupan Kham National Park covering 320 square kilometres, including a large lake formed by Ubon Ratana Dam, which is a popular fishing area.
|346 kilometres from Bangkok, Phetchabun borders on three regions, the North, the Central and the Northeast. The central part of the province is on the Pa Sak river basin with mountain ranges running along both the western and eastern sectors. Because of the fertility of the land, Phetchabun has always been an agriculturally productive area. The very name of the province actually means the land of crops and foods.
Today, Phetchabun is a province with rich tourism potential. Its climate is pleasant due to the mountainous and forested areas and it has a history of richness and prosperity for more than 1,400 years. As and Sukhothai styles have been discovered.
Phetchabun is administratively divided into the following districts: Muang, Lom Sak, Lom Kao, Chon Daen, Nong Phai, Wichian Buri, Si Thep, Bueng Sam Phan, Wang Pong, Nam Nao and Khao Kho.
|Khon Kaen is the commercial,administrative an educational
centre of the Northeast,which is often used by travellers as a base for visiting many parts of upper Isan.
Khon Kaen National Museum houses objects from the Dvaravati period and bronze sculptures from Ban Chiang. Kaen Nakhon Lake in the centre of town is a popular spot for picnics and dining,while Wat That on its bank features typical Isan spires.
Khon Kaen is the centre of the northeastern silk industry with numerous villages producing their own mudmee designs. Chonnabot is noted for its quality silks. Every December the city hosts a Silk Fair,when all the best materials are on sale.
Unusual animals are popular in the province,with the cobra and the turtle villages high on tourist programmes. In both villages, the residents live with their proteges,training them and putting on fascinating shows. A dinosaur is the provincial symbol ever since remains of these great beasts were unearthed in Phu Wiang National Park,an area also famous for its flora,fauna and waterfalls.
Khon Kaen is 445 kilometres from Bangkok and has an area of about 10,886 square kilometres. It comprises the districts of Muang, Ban Phai, Phon, Nam Phong, Chum Phae, Phu Wiang, Mancha Khiri, Nong Ruea, Kranuan, Nong Song Hong, Chonnabot, Si Chomphu, Waeng Noi, Ubolratana, Ban Fang, Khao Suan Kwang, Phra Yuen, Waeng Yai, Pueai Noi, Phu Pha Man, Khok Pho Chai, Nong Na Kham, Sam Sung and Ban Haet.
|Chaiyaphum is a province in the centre of Thailand. It is well known in tourism terms because it has beautiful flower fields. Chaiyaphum was founded over 2 centuries ago during the early Rattanakosin period by a group of Vientiane people led by Nai Lae.
Chaiyaphum is 342 kilometres from Bangkok and has an area of 12,778 square kilometres. It consists of the following districts: Mueang Chaiyaphum, Khon Sawan, Kaeng Khro, Ban Thaen, Phu Khiao, Kaset Sombun, Khon San, Nong Bua Daeng, Ban Khwao, Chaturat, Bamnet Narong, Thep Sathit, Nong Bua Rawe, Phakdi Chumphon, Noen Sanga and Sap Yai.
|Nakhon Sawan Province, also known as Pak Nam Pho is where the rivers of Ping, Wang, Yom, and Nan converge and form the Chao Phraya River, the most important waterway of Thailand.
Nakhon Sawan is in the lower northern part of the country between the North and the Central Region. It is regarded as the doorway to the North and it is the hub of transportation in the Lower North.
|Nakhon Ratchasima, generally known as "Khorat", is Thailand's largest province situated on sprawling northeast plateau. Located approximately 260 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, the city itself serves as the gateway to the lower northeastern region.
Covering an area of 25,494 square kilometers that is mainly plateaus and mountainous terrain, Khorat has fascinating traditions, charming hospitality, splendid natural scenery and awesome historical sites.
Some of the main attractions in Khorat are Khmer ruins. Scattered around the province, these products of ancient wisdom shines through time. One of the Thailand's finest Khmer ruins can be seen here next to Mon and Lao sites. In addition, Khorat has an abundance of natural attractions in its forests, hills, wildlife and waterfalls that are easily accessible in locations such as Khao Yai National Park.
Apart from the famous statue of Khun Ying Mo, Khorat is most well known for silk weaving (in Pak Thong Chai) and a variety of top-notch quality handicrafts such as clay pottery products of Dan Kwian.
Geographically, Nakhon Ratchasima borders on Chiyaphum and Khon Kaen Provinces in the north, Buriram Province in the east, Chiyaphum and Saraburi Provinces in the west and Nakhon Nayok and Prachin Buri Provinces in the south.
Khorat is also the largest northeastern province. Inhabitants of the province are mainly engaged in agricultural activities that include farming of rice and other crops such as sugar cane, tapioca, corn, jute, peanuts, sesame and fruits. There are more than 100 savings and agricultural cooperatives in the province, 35 irrigation projects and 7,122 industrial factories. Most of the factories are rice mills, tapioca product manufacturers, and industrial factories.
Khorat's most popular annual event is the Thao Suranari Festival, a celebration of Thao Suranari's victory over the Lao. It's held from late March to early April and features parades.
Khorat used to be the site of several ancient prehistoric communities. Little is known about the early history of Khorat, except that it used to be part of a kingdom called Sri Janas (Si Janat) an empire that extended its power to the entire Khorat Plateau.
Initially the predominant cultural influence in the city was that of the Dvaravati culture, however, it was later replaced by the Khmer culture. The prehistoric site of Ban Prasat is an evidence of this occurrence while traces of both the Dvaravati and Khmer cultures are scattered throughout the province, particularly at Amphur Sung Noen and Amphur Phimai.
Once an administrative and cultural center, Khorat's role today remains unchanged as it is currently the main transportation, industrial and economic hub of the Northeast.
|A province in the central region of Thailand, Lop Buri Province is located approximately 154 kilometers north of Bangkok. Covering an area of 6,199 square kilometers, the province is situated on the western end of the Khorat Plateau. It borders Chaiyaphum and Nakhon Ratchasima Provinces on the east, Phetchabun and Nakhon Sawan Provinces on the north, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya and Saraburi Provinces on the South. Lop Buri Province is one of several provinces in central Thailand where many significant historical artifacts and prehistoric settlements have been discovered.
Formerly known as Lawo, Lop Buri had for centuries been ruled by several Kingdoms. The remains of Lop Buri, dating over 1,200 years attests to the strategic significance of Lop Buri to many rulers. These relics, ranging from the Bronze Age to the Ratanakosin period, have made Lop Buri a blend of east and west and ancient and modern, revealing the citys turbulent and alluring history and a glimpse of Thailands extraordinary past.