Phetchaburi is a predominantly agricultural province, and the city reflects this with a large and thriving traditional market, buzzing with activity from pre-dawn until mid-day, and replete with the aromas of everything. It is very much a working city, with few tourists or the infrastructure to support them.
You can also reach Phetchaburi by train from Hualamphong Station. The journey normally takes around four hours, but can occasionally take longer. This will cost 100-250 baht, depending on the type of train. It's also possible to reach Phetchaburi from the south, e.g. from Hua Hin (ticket price 13-43 baht, travel time 1-1.5 hours).
A taxi from Bangkok should cost no more than 2,000 baht and should take around two hours.
There are no meter taxis. There are tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis, and for a slow cruise around the market area, plenty of traditional two-seat pedal-power tricycle taxis. Whatever your means of transportation, it would be a good idea to have your destination written down in Thai for the driver.
At the train station tuk-tuks ask for 300 baht for a round trip to the cave, a few metres away prices drop significantly (150-200 baht). If you have time and stamina, the main sights can also be reached by foot.
For longer journeys around the province there are local buses (pick-ups with benches) available from the market area, but you need to ask the drivers for their destinations (you will quickly be directed to the correct bus).
Most of the important temples, except Khao Wang, are within walking distance of the market area.
Khao Loung CavesTwo sets of giant caves. The first cave set has many Buddha statues amid the stalactites. The second set of caves features a giant 300 year old tree in the middle, and a peaceful setting. Both caves are homes to bats.
Khao WangOld royal palace complex on the mountain has a huge, very elegant stupa, some caves with bats, shrines and animal sacrifices, a well-sculpted, vast gold-plated reclining Buddha and a museum. Depending on the entrance you take you may be charged a tourist tax. The main entrance is infested by extremely chubby and impertinent monkeys. You can buy bananas for them from numerous small retailers. If you give them attention and they'll try to grab anything you might be pointing at them.
- Wat Khao Takhrao (วัดเขาตะเครา)
- Hat Laem Luang (หาดแหลมหลวง)
- Kaeng Krachan Dam (เขื่อนแก่งกระจาน)
- Kaeng Krachan National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติแก่งกระจาน)
- Tham Khao Yoi (ถ้ำเขาย้อย)
- Wat Kuti (วัดกุฏิ)
- Lao Song or Thai Song Dam Tribal Villages (หมู่บ้านลาวโซ่งหรือไทยทรงดำ)
- Tham Khao Luang (ถ้ำเขาหลวง)
- Wat Mahathat Worawihan (วัดมหาธาตุวรวิหาร)
- Wat Yai Suwannaram (วัดใหญ่สุวรรณาราม)
- Phra Ram Ratchaniwet (พระรามราชนิเวศน์)
- Hat Puek Tian (หาดปึกเตียน)
- Huai Sai Wildlife Breeding Centre (ศูนย์เพาะเลี้ยงและขยายพันธุ์สัตว์ป่าห้วยทราย)
- Phra Nakhon Khiri Fair (งานพระนครคีรี)
- Thai Song Dam Festival (ประเพณีไทยทรงดำ)
- Khao Bandai It (เขาบันไดอิฐ)
Phetchaburi is known for a variety of sweets. The reputation of these sweets stems from the use of tanot (palm) sugar as an ingredient. Phetchaburi is known throughout Thailand for its Thai dessert, khanom Thai, delicious candy-like finger food made from egg, palm sugar, coconut and a binding agent, usually crushed beans or flour. Other examples are mo-kaeng, a sweet made from flour, sugar and eggs; a-lua and sampanni, a sweet made from flour and sugar; thong yip, thong yot and foi thong, sweets made from baked egg yolk; and chao tan chueam (palm seed in thick syrup). Khao chae (rice served with ice and sweetened meat) is a renowned local dish and is popular during the summer season. Khanom chin thotman (rice noodles with fishcakes) is also a popular dish. Fruits are found in every season. Phetchaburi's fruits are sweet and aromatic rose apples known as chomphu phet, fresh palm seeds, pineapples from Don Khun Huai, cantaloupes, and bananas from Tha Yang. The main north-south highway is dotted with large stores offering a bewildering variety of such sweetmeats.
If you wish to be "safe", the two hotels mentioned below have restaurants that will likely not disappoint you. In addition, the Big C has several Western-style franchises under its roof (e.g., Chester's Grill, KFC), with air conditioning and English language menus. These establishments suffer from severe noise pollution.
Apart from a few Chinese restaurants, the Big C franchises and two pizza parlours in peripheral locations, anything other than Thai food is almost impossible to find in Phetchaburi city.
Ran Pa SongRan Pa Song is an old house of Phetchaburi. It offers ahan taam sang (food cooked to order) dishes, including gaeng pa (spicy curry with wild boar-meat or fish), pla duk phad phet (spicy stir-fried catfish), fried fresh mackerel and moo sam chan khluk see iew tord (pork belly meat flavoured with soy sauce and deep-fried). The curry paste is prepared using spices and herbs grown by ethnic Karen.
Present BarA local Thai hangout.
Royal Diamondphone: +66 32 411061It is not especially convenient, as is not close to the market area although it is close to Khao Wang. You may be able to find transportation if you try hard.
The hotels in the market area are a better option, as they are mostly old converted shop-houses, aimed at both tourists and commercial travellers.
phone: +66 87 1164504 (ask for Thomas since he speaks many languages including English)address: 84 Moo 4, Bangkrog, BanlaemA special guesthouse run by a Thai-German family offering 4 rooms. Thomas and the other members of the team organise exciting tours by car or boat to major attractions in the area as well as hidden gems. Food and service are excellent. Free pickup from railway or bus stations.
Rabieng Rim Nam Guesthousephone: +66 32 425707Inexpensive although noisy accommodation. A great place to stay provided you bring ear plugs. The staff are very friendly and speak reasonable English. The husband of the guesthouse owner, Tom, is a jungle guide and works with Chok, his friend, who is an English-speaking tour guide. They offer expensive trips into Kaeng Krachan National Park and parks nearby. Also local wildlife can be seen right out the window of the restaurant: giant water monitors (varanus salvator) . It is worthwhile to sit and drink a big Chang beer, and by the time you're finished you may glimpsed one of these amazing, but benign, animals. There's Internet access, motorbike rental (manual/automatic 250 baht/350 baht), bikes and laundry service (5 baht per piece). They can also provide you with a map and plenty of local information. If stay here, you should check the walls of your room carefully as there are reportedly many peep-holes between at least three of the upper rooms.
Puek Tian is a few kilometres to the south of Chao Samran, and is somewhat larger and more popular, although dilapidated. It is distinguished by the very large statues of imaginary figures from Thai literature dotting the beach area.
About 40 km south of Phetchaburi lies Cha-am, a rapidly developing resort with a fine long beach that is immensely popular with Thai families. There are also many good hotels and guest houses aimed at visitors from overseas, especially from Northern Europe. The ordinary fan buses take about 90 min and cost 40 baht.
The whole of the western half of the province is given over to the Kaeng Krachan National Park, the largest such park in Thailand, and an evergreen jungle that remains mostly unexplored to this day. The park headquarters can provide details of hiking, rafting and camping opportunities (Tel: +66 32 459291).