Photo: A terrific outlook.

Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park

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Built under King Rama IV in the mid-19th century, the royal palace, temple, chedis, museum and cobblestone footpaths included in Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park sit atop a wide 95-metre hill known locally as Khao Wang (“Palace Mountain”), and while a tiring trip up here also rewards you with tremendous views, do beware of the brazen monkeys.





King Mongkut (Rama IV) used the breezy palace as a place to relax, study and stargaze. He was passionate about academic and spiritual studies, spending decades as a Buddhist monk before ascending the throne, and the palace’s isolated setting and broad layout perhaps hint at his fondness for seclusion. King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) used the palace through the turn of the century, but after his death it fell into disrepair before being restored some decades later.

The palace area with the observatory to the right. Photo taken in or around Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park, Phetchaburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

The palace area with the observatory to the right. Photo: David Luekens

Three areas of interest crown a trio of hilltops, collectively displaying elements of Chinese, European, Thai, Khmer and Sri Lankan architecture and artistry. In between you’ll find minor structures and circular fortresses where the palace guards would have kept watch. Nowadays these make for handy places to rest with a breeze and a view.

Atop the eastern peak towers Phra Prang Daeng, a dark-crimson mondop rising to a five-tiered pagoda that narrows towards the top. Across the platform is the palace’s tiny royal temple, Wat Phra Kaeo, consisting of little more than a small marble-floored ordination hall. This is the best spot in the park to gaze east over Phetchaburi town—on a clear day you can see all the way to the Gulf.

Warning: They take no prisoners. Photo taken in or around Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park, Phetchaburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

Warning: They take no prisoners. Photo: David Luekens

The central hilltop hosts Phra That Chom Phet, a slender 40-metre-high bell-shaped chedi built in the typical Thai adaptation of the Sri Lankan style. Visitors can duck inside narrow passageways leading to a central reliquary where relics of the Buddha were supposedly enshrined. From the outer walkway you can gaze towards both of the other hilltops ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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How to get there
Khao Wang is located one kilometre west of the river on the west side of Phetchaburi town. Tuk tuks and motorbike taxis can take here from anywhere in town for 40 to 100 baht. If you’re okay with walking up the hill, use the eastern entrance across from the corner of Ratchawithi Rd and Kiri Rattaya Rd. If you prefer a cable tram, which closes each year for two weeks in early June, enter on the west side of the hill off Phetkasem Rd. Note that even if taking the tram, you’ll still have to climb a lot of hills and stairs to get around in the park.

Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park
Western edge of town
Mo–Su: 08:30–16:00
Admission: 150 baht for foreigners and the tram costs 50 baht

Location map for Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park

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