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Phetchaburi is a province 130km to the southeast of Bangkok with a population of 26,000 people. It’s located at the northern end of the Malay Peninsula, with the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the Tanaosi mountain range forming the border to Myamnar to the west. Most of the province is flat, except for one peak called Khao Wang. The main industry here is agriculture, one of the main backbones of Thailand’s economy. This is known to be one of the oldest provinces, possibly dating all the way back to the 8th century, marking one of the earliest settlements in Thailand. Some 12th century artifacts were found in the province.
Phetchaburi means “city of diamonds” which originates from the city’s proximity to River Phet, with “phet” meaning “diamond”. This is the main river in the province.
Phetchaburi is known locally to Thais as Muang Phetch. It used to be an important royal fort town, and has undergone many names over the years such as Phripphri and Phripphil. There have been artifacts found here dating as far back to the Dvaravati Period. During the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Kingdoms, Phechaburi was an important fort in the west for strategic reasons. There are many temples and buildings that resemble the royal town of Ayutthaya, therefore earning Phetchaburi the nickname of “Living Ayutthaya.” The living relics of the Ayutthaya kingdom can be seen in the plethora of temples in Phetchaburi.
In the Rattanakosin Era, Phetchaburi became a charming, peaceful town of seaside resorts and superb natural reserves. All three kings of this era, King rama VI, V and VI all established palaces here due to the province’s breathtaking beauty. Phranakhonkhiri, Phraramrajanivet, and Phrarajnivesmarugadayawan were the three palaces built, and thus this province is sometimes known as Muang Sam Wang (the city of the three palaces). The province today is well known as a stop for tourists in between Bangkok and Hua Hin or the southern islands. Phetchaburi is home to Cha-am, a popular resort town for locals and students that is less fancy and upscale than Hua Hin but equally as charming and beautiful.
The main industries here are rice, fruit and palm sugar farming due to the rich soil and availability of water. Both salt and freshwater fisheries are common here as well.
Bangkok is where many who live in Phetchaburi go to work, and then come back in the evenings or weekends. Bangkok is an easy 1-2 drive depending on traffic and location in Bangkok you’re going. A much more metropolitan city filled with international tourists and expats, it’s a much faster pace of life than in Phetchaburi.
Ancient Thailand, Ayutthaya is picturesque and historical for those interested in Thailand’s long and unique history. A bit further away, it’s about a 3-4 hour drive so makes a good weekend trip, but probably too long for a day trip.
Famous for the Damnoen Saduak floating market, this makes a great day trip for tasty snacks and souvenir shopping. The countryside has hot springs to relax in, as well as a few waterfalls to trek to in the area. Khao Ngu Stone Park is famous among rock climbers for its fantastic formations.
Phetchaburi has many accommodations and hotels suited for any type of traveler.
Literally steps away from Cha-am beach, this resort has it all! Fully equipped with Wifi, a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, 24 hour reception, fitness center, and friendly staff ready to tend to all of your questions. Don’t miss staying at this hotel the next time you’re in Cha-am area!
A destination in and of itself for its magical beauty, fantastic scenery, and overall well maintained groups, Grand Pacific Sovereign Resort and Spa is the place to be. Only 3.5km from Cha-am beach, and equipped with facilities such as mountain views, pools, poolside bar, smoking area, 24 hour reception, fabulous staff and above all, fantastic rooms, this is the perfect place to call home base as you explore all that Phetchaburi has to offer.
The main attraction at this resort is its ridiculous beauty. Located only 1km from the beach, some of the rooms offer a spectacular view of one of the longest stretches of beach in Thailand. The location of the resort is convenient, it’s close to the main road where bars, restaurants, street vendors, and people watching abound.
Located in Hua Hin, the more hi-so area of Phetchaburi, this hotel is simple in its amenities but still homey and affordable. The building is old but well maintained, and the staff more than make up for the simple tactics of the hotel. There’s still an outdoor pool, TV, WiFi, and even a pool specifically for children. This is the perfect place for a small family or couple on a budget to explore, while saving more of their hard earned cash on nearby attractions.
This is where modern chic meets Thai. Located on Cha-am beach, this resort is modern in its amenities but Thai in its charm, hospitality, and warmth. Massages are readily available without even having to leave the resort, while the restaurant and bar area is a nice place to relax after a long day at the beach.
Phetchaburi does not have its own airport, although Hua Hin does. However, we don’t include information about flights out of Hua Hin airport because they are not a great way to travel. Flights landing at Hua Hin are often delayed and the options are very limited. Therefore, the information below will pertain to arriving in Phetchaburi from Bangkok.
There are buses connecting other provinces and cities with Phetchaburi:
From Bangkok: Hop on the blue-white express buses from the Southern Bus Terminal. They leave every two hours, from 11:00 to 17:00. The two-hour trip to Phetchaburi will cost THB 112, ending at Phetchaburi bus terminal.
From Ratchaburi: Bus will cost THB 40 and end at Phetchaburi city centre.
There are trains from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station, taking around four hours or longer to reach Phetchaburi. Trip generally cost THB 100-250, depending on the type of train. All trains are available in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class, depending on the schedule. 3rd class trains do not have air conditioning. Meals and beverages such as water and soda are sold in all classes.
Here are the train schedules:
Rapid train: 12:20, 15:50, 17:35, 18:20
Special express: 14:15, 14:35 (1st & 2nd class only), 19:15
Express diesel railcar: 10:30, 10:50 (both schedules are 2nd class only)
From the train station, take a tuk-tuk or motorcycle taxi to the city centre. It will cost around THB 20.
It is possible to go by taxi directly from Bangkok to Phetchaburi. Trip will take around 2 hours and cost about 2000 THB. Uber is another option.
If you wish to drive to Phetchaburi, enter Highway no. 35 (Thon Buri-Pak Tho). After passing Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram, enter Highway no. 4. The trip will cover 123 km and take about 2 hours depending on traffic.
Tuk-tuk is a tricycle taxi geared by a motor. Trips to nearby areas may cost you THB 100. This is often the way that foreigners get ripped off the most easily. Remember to negotiate!
There are plenty of motorcycle taxis available for THB 20 (one-way trip). They are also usually up for negotiation, unless there is a posted sign near where they pick up rides. However, if you can’t read Thai, then you may be out of luck.
Songthaew is a pick-up truck turned into a passenger car. This is also usually the most cost effective way to get around town. You ask for the fare amount before boarding, and pay the fare after getting off the truck.
Samlor is a traditional tricycle taxi , where you will ride in a small cart behind the cycle driver. They are also very negotiable, so make sure you try.
A beautiful area in Phetchaburi that’s a fantastic day trip if you’re craving something more than Cha-am or Hua Hin. The name translates to “Royal Leisure Beach” due to the fact that multiple kings in the Ayutthaya period are rumored to have enjoyed this beach. It’s located about 15km from the city center, so if you have a vehicle, or are an avid biker, this is an easy day trip to see a different side of the province.
Opening hours: always
Entrance fee: free
Translates to “Holy City Hill”, this classic royal palace complex was built by King Rama IV in 1860. It consists of three buildings at the top of 3 hills. In modern times, the palace buildings also serve as a branch of the Thai National Museum.
Opening hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm daily
Entrance fee: the cable car is 200 THB for foreigners, and 20 THB for Thais. There is a 150 THB admission fee for the museum.
A palace where King Rama V once built as a rainy season palace. It’s rumored that he wanted to build this exactly how he wanted to, without the supervision of government entities, and thus funded it with his own money. Located about 1km south of the town center, you’ll need to entry into a military area in order to visit the palace. If you are a foreigner, it is advisable to bring a form of ID with you. Passport copies are usually acceptable.
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm, daily
Entrance fee: 50 THB
A pair of massive caves to the north of Phetchaburi city. These stalactite rich caves are an impressive sight, as are the numerous Buddha statues within them. There is a tree in one of the caves that’s rumored to be over 300 years old.
Opening hours: sunrise to sunset
Entrance fee: free, but please only enter the caves if you are well prepared and know what you are doing. You may hire a guide to help you along if you wish.
Located in the western part of Phetchaburi province and includes a portion of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, this is the largest national park in Thailand. This lush jungle is home to a number of birds and animals, along with tropical plants, flora and fauna. This is a site not to be missed by lovers of nature. The park recently gained status as an ASEAN Heritage Park. You can camp, hike and raft in the park.
Opening hours: 6am to 5pm daily
Entrance fee: 300 THB for foreigners, with an additional 30 THB fee for vehicles, and 30 THB per night if you plan to camp.
Taking a bus or car to Phetchaburi on Friday afternoons after 2pm is not advised. Many Thais live in this province and will often go home to their families on Friday afternoons, or on holidays. Be advised that traffic may be heavier than usual during popular travel times. If you don’t have a lot of luggage and don’t mind taking the train and there are tickets available, this may be the best option for travel on weekends and holidays.
Phetchaburi is the place to grab Thailand’s favourite traditional dessert, Khanom Thai, made from coconut, palm sugar, and egg. Other notable snacks to try on are thong yip, foi thong, and thong yod; the three known snacks said to be influenced by Portuguese dishes.
If you are looking for a lively night out, Phetchaburi might not be the place to look for night entertainments. Nearby Hua Hin may have more places for a lively nightlife. Thai locals are often friendly here, and if you speak a little Thai or they speak a little English/other language, they will try to communicate with you. Don’t be afraid to use hand gestures or try your hand at some Thai, locals love it!