Huahin and Cha-Am: Temples & Historical Park

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Hua Hin/Cha-Am

Khao WangPhra Nakhon Kriri Historical Park or Khao Wang

This hill originally called Khao Samana or Khao Khiri, is located in the vicinity of Amphoe Muang Phetchaburi. The peak is 92 meters high. King Mongkut, Rama IV of the present dynasty, saw this hill and was so fond of the location that he gave an order to Phraya Phet Nisai Sisawat, Chief Administrative Officer of Muang Phetchaburi , to carry out the construction of a palace which he could use during his picnic trip. The construction was completed in the year 1860. It was named by the royal command, Phra Nakhon Khiri, But folks of Phetchaburi commonly call it Khao Wang (Palace Hill) until now. Phra Nakhon Khiri comprises royal halls, palaces, wats, and groups of buildings. The complex which was constructed mostly of harmonious Western neoclassic and Chinese architecture tops the following 3 large mountains : Eastern mountaintop, location of a hillside temple called Wat Maha Samanaram within the rite hall of which there are mural paintings by Khrua In Khong, a renowned painter in Thai history. Middle mountaintop, location of a 40 meters high chedi called Phra That Chom Phet inside of which the Buddha’s relic had been placed. From here, a wide view of buildings on another 2 nearby mountaintops as well as Phetchaburi’s provincial city can be seen. Western mountaintop, location o froyal residence complex including Phra Thi Nang Phet Phum Phairot, Phra Thi Nang Pramot Mahaisawan, Phra Thi Nang Wetchayan Wichian Prasat, Phra Thi Nang Ratcha Tham Sapha, Ho Chatchawan Wiang Chai, Ho Phiman Phet Mahesuan, Tamnak Santhakhan Sathan, Ho Chatuwet Parit Phot and Sala Thatsana Nakkhataroek. There are also several other buildings which are typical of palaces within the complex such as garage, stable, Sala Mahat Lek (royal page hall), Sala Lukkhun (official hall), Sala Dan (post), Sala Yenchai (hall for relaxation), Thim Dap (bodyguard rooms), and kitchen.4 forts stand at the 4 corners of the complex, each was named in rhyme starting with Thatarot Pongpok in the east. Wirunhok borirak in the south, Wirupak Pongkan in the west, and Wetsuwan Raksa in the north. Some parts of the complex on this western mountaintop were altered into Phra nakhon Khiri National Museum where priceless antiques such as King Rame IV’s and King Rama V’s paraphernalia, bronze and brass sculptures used for decorative purposes in several rooms of various buildings, and ceramics from China, Japan, and Europe are put on exhibition. The museum is open daily between 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. except Monday and Tuesday. Admission Bt 5 each. Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park is open everyday between 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Admission Bt20. The mountaintop palaces are accessible either o foot or by cable railway which charge Bt10 each for one-way and Bt15 each for round trip.


Wat Mahathat WorawihanWat Mahathat Worawihan

This is a very old monastery of Changwat Phetchaburi and there are clearly divided areas, i.e., the Phetchaburi or the temple area and the Sangkhawat or the monk’s living quarters, inside the monastery. The interesting construction of the monastery is the five-topped prang which was constructed in accordance with Mahayana concept as an offering to the five Thayani Buddhas. There is a replica of each on each top of the prang. It is presumed that this five-topped prang should have originally been a five-topped pagoda as same in Changwat Nakhon Si Thammarat and was then transformed into a five-topped prang later.


Wat Khao TakhraoWat Khao Takhrao

This monastery is located at Tambon Bang Khrok, Amphoe Ban Laem and is accessible by two routes, i.e., through a 15 kilometer left hand branching road not far from Phetchaburi township (coming from Bangkok) where one can recognize a clear sign board, and another route is going from Phetchaburi township to Ban Laem Where one has to continue the journey for another six kilometer distance.

This monastery houses a sitting Buddha images in the subding evil attitude having a height of 29 inches and a lap width of 21 inches it is called Luang Phao Khao Takhrao. There are a huge number of villagers and visitors who make a trip to pay homage and affix to the image, as an offering, gold leaf thus currently causing non clear vision of the original image’s characteristics. There is a legend saying that this luang pho is one of the three brother Buddha images and the other two are : Luang Pho Sothon of Changwat Chachoengsao and Luang Pho Wat Ban Laem of Changwat Samut Songkhram. Some other legends say this image is one of the five-brother images, i.e., to include Luang Pho Bang Phli Yai and Luang Pho Wat Rai Khing of Changwat Nakhon Pathom to the above three images.

However, the source of origin of this Buddha image is that during the fall of the Ayutthaya era, the villagers of Ban Laem migrated from Phetchaburi to the mouth of the Mae Klong River (the present Samut Songkhram folks descend from those people) just to be away from the Burmese troop marching route. One day a fisherman found two Buddha images through his usual trawling, in the bay area. One image is a standing buddha in the attitude of carrying an alms bowl, and another is a sitting Buddha in the attitude of subduing evil. Ban Laem folks enchrined the standing Buddha at Wat Ban Laem which is now Wat Phetch Samut Wiham in the heart of Samut Songkhram township while the rest was give to relative at Bang Tabun to be enshrined at Wat Khao Takhrao of Amphoe an Laem, Changwat Phetchaburi.

Wat KutiWat Kuti

A temple at Tambon Bang Khem with a teak bot (a rite hall). Its outer surface of the walls is carved into scenes depicting the Ten Incarnations of the Buddha and the door panels in to openwork of inter twined sprays patterns, all with masterly craftsmanship.