Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, the second largest province of the South and the land of predominant Buddhism during the Srivijaya Period, is 780 kilometres from Bangkok. In addition to its great history, Nakhon Si Thammarat boasts pristine verdant jungles abundant with luxuriant vegetation and is also noted for picturesque beaches and beautiful waterfalls.
The city of Nakhon Si Thammarat is the capital of the province. It is about 610 km (380 miles) south of Bangkok, on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. The city was the administrative center of southern Thailand during most of its history. Originally a coastal city, silting moved the coastline away from the city. The city has a much larger north to south extension than west to east, which dates back to its original location on a flood-save dune. The modern city center around the train station is located north of Old Town.
It is one of the most ancient cities of Thailand, previously Kingdom of Ligor, and contains many buildings and ruins of historical significance. With the fall of the Siamese capital of Ayutthaya in 1767 it regained independence, but returned to its allegiance on the founding of Bangkok. In the 17th century British, Portuguese and Dutch merchants set up factories there and carried on an extensive trade.
Take Highway No. 4 on the Bangkok-Prachuap Khiri Khan-Chumphon route and then Highway No. 41 past Surat Thani-Thung Song until arriving in Nakhon Si Thammarat or Amphoe Phun Phin in Surat Thani, then take Highway No. 401 along the coast to Nakhon Si Thammarat, total distance of 780km.
There are rapid and express trains departing from Bangkok Railway Station to Nakhon Si Thammarat at 5:35PM and 7:15PM respectively. For more information, contact tel. 1690, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020 or call Nakhon Si Thammarat train station at tel. 0 7535 6364, 0 7534 6129.
The train takes anywhere from 12-14 hours. Trains leave the NST Terminal for Bangkok daily at 1pm and 3pm. The NST is in the west, centre of the town. Nearby are hotels, restaurants and cafes.
Regular and air-conditioned buses of the Transport Co. and private companies depart from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal. The trip takes about 12 hours. Air-conditioned buses, varying in 3 types, leave Bangkok at the following times:
VIP Bus: 5:15PM and 7PM
Standard 1 Bus: 9AM, 6PM and 8.30PM
Standard 2 Bus: 6:40AM, 6PM, 8PM and 10PM
For more information, contact tel. 0 2435 1199-200 (air-conditioned buses).
Travel from Surat Thani can be made by a/c minibus, a/c bus or regular bus. Buses leave from Talat Kaset I (not Talat Kaset II).
Nakhon Si Thammarat Bus Station tel: 0 7534 1125. The provincial bus station lies just outside the town, to the west: 8.4358 99.9522. On the streets near the train station there are a number of bus company offices selling tickets for buses leaving for provinces north and south.
Travel within the province is easy with mini-bus service around the city. Transport to nearby provinces includes vans, taxis, buses, and trains.
Wat Phra Mahathat (Thai: วัดพระมหาธาตุวรมหาวิหาร) is the most important temple of Nakhon Si Thammarat and southern Thailand. It was constructed at the time of the founding of the town, and contains a tooth relic of Buddha. The 78 m high chedi is surrounded by 173 smaller ones. While the chedi is now in Sri Lankan style, it is said to be built on top of an earlier Srivijaya style chedi. At the base of the chedi is a gallery named Viharn Tap Kaset, decorated with many Buddha statues and elephant heads emerging from the chedi. Viharn Phra Song Ma is the buildings which contains the staircase which leads to a walkway around the chedi above the gallery. At the bottom of the staircase are demon giants (yak) as guardians. Adjoining to the north is the Viharn Kien, which contains a small temple museum. South of the chedi is the large ubosot building, the Viharn Luang. The monk living quarters are located across the street in a separate temple, Wat Na Phra Boromathat. The chedi is the symbol of the Nakhon Si Thammarat province, present in the seal of the province. It is also displayed on the 25 satang coin.
The City Wall. The city chronicle already mentions a fortification when the town was refounded in 1278. Restorations were recorded at the time of King Ramesuan (14th century), as well as King Narai (1686). The latter one was supported by the French engineer M. de la Mare. The walls spread 456 m from East to West, and 2238 m North to South, thus enclosing an area of about one square kilometre. The northern wall had only one gate, called Prathu Chai Nua or Prathu Chai Sak, also the southern wall had only one gate. To the east there were three gates, which connected the town with the sea. To the west were five gates. Today only the northern gate still exists, together with a short stretch of the northern city wall.
Travel to the nearby 'Ban Khiri Wong (29km away from Nakhon Si Thammarat, 25฿ by Songtheaw) for an amazing glimpse at some of the Khao Luang national park and the mountain ranges.
The village is a community village, formed after several natural disasters (flash floods) in the 1980's. The village has a community hospital, and is supported by a fruit selling co-operative.
Yan Li Pao (ย่านลิเภา) is a Thai traditional basketry which originated from the southern part of Thailand, they are very nice but they might come in high prices so you must always bargain with the dealer.
GoDood at Khanom. Rooms with air-cond, 400 baht/night.
Bua Long Hotel 1487/19 Chamroenwithi Rd, Tel: (075) 34 1002 Fax: (075) 34 3418, located near night market. The large rooms are clean and it's hard to beat at 170B for a single room with a bathroom. The owners are very genuine. It have 235 rooms. Sgl fan private b'room 170 THB, Dbl fan private b'room 240 THB, Sgl air-con private b'room 340 THB, Dbl air-con private b'room 420 THB
Siam Hotel 1403/17 Chamroenwithi Rd, Nakhon Si Thammarat Tel: (075) 35 6090, located both the train station & night market. The price for a single with fan is more expensive than other hotels. However, the price for an air-con room is very affordable. The bathrooms could use an upgrade. 60 rooms, Sgl fan private b'room 200 THB, Dbl air-con private b'room 300 THB
Phech Phai Lin 1835/38-39 Yommarat Rd, Tel: (075) 341 896, near to train station. The polite staff are the biggest asset here. Unfortunately, the rooms look more like a YMCA sans the Village People than a hotel and the appearance makes the hotel look run down. 78 rooms, Dbl air-con private b'room 360 THB
Montien Hotel 1509/40 Yommarat Rd, Tel: (075) 341 908 Fax: (075) 345 561, right beside the train station and opposite the night market. The rooms are average, the staff speak limited English and the hotel isn't even signposted in English. It's not worth spending the extra money especially when the Thai Hotel is just down the road. Total rooms: 80, Sgl fan private b'room 260 THB, Dbl fan private b'room 290 THB, Dbl air-con private b'room 450 THB
Muang Tong Hotel. 1459/7-8-9 Jamrernvitee Rd., Nakhon Si Thammarat. Well visible, newish looking hotel but inside the air smells of stale cigarrette. Very popular with Thais. Double A/C rooms for THB 350-400 (warm water, Thai TV, desk), fan rooms 250-300. Free wifi in rooms. Most uncomfortable pillows known to man, hard beds. Lots of street eateries and shopping options just outside.
Nakhon Hotel A cheaper version of the Bua Long, 1477/5 Yommarat Rd, Nakhon Si Thammarat Tel: (075) 35 6318. The rooms are large need decorating and the bathrooms are in dire need of a makeover, but at least the beds are comfortable. The staff speak a little English. Total rooms: 42, Dbl fan private b'room 140 THB, 180B with TV, Dbl air-con private b'room 350 THB
Thai Hotel. 1375 Ratchadamnoen Rd, Kahon Si Thammarat. Tel: (075) 34 1509. Centrally located, large clean rooms. Free wifi in rooms. Has a cafe that serves fresh coffee and a bar that stays open late. The night market is two blocks away. Looks like a more expensive hotel, but rooms are from 350 THB.
Silver Mansion. Not signposted in English, also no English spoken at reception. Light green 6-story building on an alley off Jamroenwitee Rd., Nakhon Si Thammarat, a stone throw south of Muang Tong Hotel. Tel: (075) 34 2888. Spartan rooms, but reasonably clean. Double A/C rooms THB 270 (cold water, Thai TV, no fridge, curiously no sink), fan rooms THB 200. No wifi. Has an inexpensive kiosk downstairs, lots of cheap foodstalls on Jamroenwitee Road in front.