Phitsanulok (Thai: พิษณุโลก,
pronounced [pʰít.sā.nú.lôːk], also locally known as Pilok)
is an important, historic city in lower northern
Thailand and is the
Phitsanulok Province, which stretches all the way to the
Phitsanulok is one of the oldest cities in Thailand,
founded over 600 years ago. It is best known as the birthplace of King
Naresuan, who freed the country from Burmese domination in the late
16th century, and that of his brother and successor King Ekathosarot
(Sanphet III). As the crossroad between the northern and central
regions of the country, it has long been important both for political
and strategic reasons, and was fought over many times in centuries
Phitsanulok was the capital of
Thailand for 25 years during the
reign of King Boromma
Trailokanat of Ayutthaya. On the banks of the
Nan River, the city was originally a small Khmer outpost known as Song
Kwae, before the Khwae Noi River changed its course in the 11th
Phitsanulok was also a provincial center of the Angkorian
Empire during the Angkorian period.
Phitsanulok is home to Naresuan
University and Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University, as well as to a
Royal Thai Army
Royal Thai Army base.
5.1 Khmer Empire
5.2 Sukhothai period
5.3 Ayutthaya period
5.4 19th century
5.5 20th century
5.6 Recent events
6.1 Royal Thai Army
7.1 Ethnic diversity
8.1 Educational Institutions
8.2 Secondary (Mathayom) Institutions
10.1 Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat
10.2 Other temples
11 Other attractions
12 Festivals and events
14 External links
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat
Song Khwae: The first element, "song", means the number "two". The
second element, "khwae", means "tributary". A loose translation of the
entire name would be "two rivers".
Phitsanulok: The first element, "Phitsanu" (Thai: พิษณุ;
Sanskrit: viṣṇu विष्णु "Vishnu"), is a cognate of
Vishnu, a Hindu god (see, e.g., Witnu, Thai: วิษณุ). Lack of
a v sound in the
Thai language accounts for the two forms. The second
element, "lok" (Thai: โลก; Sanskrit: loka लोक "world")
means "globe" or "world". A loose translation of the entire name would
be "Vishnu's heaven".
Phitsanulok is in the north of Thailand.
Phitsanulok is about 377
kilometres north of
Bangkok by road.
Phitsanulok covers some 10,815
square kilometres, or 6.4 % of area in the north of
2.1 % of area in Thailand.
Phitsanulok border on the north and
the north-east of Thailand. The north is adjacent to
Loa. The south is adjacent to Phichit. The east is adjacent to Loei
and Phetchabun. The west is adjacent to Kamphangphet and Sukothai.
Phitsanulok has many water falls, forests and caves. In the north is
central area. In the north-west is a highland. It’s the important
recreational area such as Kaeng Sopha waterfall, Phu Hin Rong Kla and
Phu Soi Dow. In the south plains along the Yom River and the Nan River
is the most important agricultural district of Phitsanulok.
Phitsanulok has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate
classification Aw). Winters are dry and very warm. Temperatures rise
until April, which is very hot with the average daily maximum at
37.4 °C (99.3 °F). The monsoon season runs from May
through October, with heavy rain and somewhat cooler temperatures
during the day, although nights remain warm.
Climate data for
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Average rainy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Mean daily sunshine hours
Source #1: Thai Meteorological Department
Source #2: Office of Water Management and Hydrology, Royal Irrigation
Department (sun and humidity)
Phitsanulok lies primarily on flatland with some hills. The eastern
portion of the city has some wooded area. The city is in the Nan
Basin, which is part of the Chao Phraya watershed.
sometimes called Song Kwae, the city of two rivers, a name dating to a
time centuries ago when the Nan and Khwae Noi Rivers met near the
city. Today, only the
Nan River flows through Phitsanulok.
This box contains links to selected
articles with information related
to the history of
Nan River Civilizations · Tai
Chaiyasiri · Nakhon Thai
Wat Chula Manee · Wat Aranyik
Wat Chedi Yod Thong
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat
Wat Ratchaburana · Wat Nang Phaya
Borommaracha III · Naresuan
Modern Siam / Thailand
19th Century · 20th Century · Recent Events
During the 11th century, the city of
Phitsanulok was only a small
Khmer outpost called Song Khwae, meaning two rivers. At that time,
the Nan and Khwae Noi Rivers both flowed through the city, making it a
strategic gateway to northern Thailand. The Thais were the majority in
the area, however, and would soon establish their independence and
form the Kingdom of Sukhothai.
Phitsanulok was the major city in the east of the Sukhothai Kingdom.
Wat Aranyik and
Wat Chedi Yod Thong
Wat Chedi Yod Thong were constructed.
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat was constructed in 1357.
Borommatrailokanat moved the capital of the
Ayutthaya kingdom to
Phitsanulok in 1463 to strengthen the northern boundary of the
Wat Ratchaburana and
Wat Nang Phaya were all built during the reign of
King Borommatrailokanat's successor, Boromma Ratchathirat III,
returned the capital of the
Ayutthaya kingdom to Ayutthaya.
In 1555, King
Naresuan the Great was born in the city.
Phitsanulok was a major place of recruitment during Ayutthaya's wars
Mother-of-pearl inlaid doors were made in 1756 for the entrance to Wat
Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat at the order of King Boromakot.
After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767 and the death of
its last ruler, a mad monk proclaimed himself king and seized control
Phitsanulok from its royal governor. King
Taksin the Great
Taksin the Great was
himself wounded by a musket ball during an unsuccessful attempt to
capture the city from the monk. The monk later fled to the north.
Mongkut ordered the restoration of Wat Ratchaburana.
Phitsanulok fire of 1955 destroyed much of the older portion of
the city, which at the time consisted mostly of wooden buildings.
On 28 November 1961, the King
Naresuan Shrine was completed at Chandra
On 25 January 1967, the
Phitsanulok campus of what is now Naresuan
University was established as the northern branch of the degree level
College of Education. In 1974, the College of Education was upgraded
as Srinakharinwirot University, with
Phitsanulok as one of the six
campuses. In 1990, the regional campuses became independent
universities, and the Phitsanuloke campus was named after
Naresuan the Great.
Naresuan Dam was constructed from 1976 to 1985 on the
Nan River as
part of the
Phitsanulok Irrigation Project. The dam was designed to
help prevent flooding of the city.
In June, 2001,
Phitsanulok hosted the Asia-Pacific Summit of Women
Mayors and Councillors.
The chief executive of the city is the mayor.
Royal Thai Army
Phitsanulok is home to the Third Army Region of the Royal Thai Army,
responsible for the northern and north-western parts of the kingdom..
The main channels for communication in the city are television and
radio. The following public television and radio stations are
broadcast from Phitsanulok:
Sathaanii Witthayu Krajaisiang Thahaan Aakaat (Air Force Radio
Station), 954 AM and 95.75, in the City of Phitsanulok
Witthayu Kong Phon Thahaan Raap Thii Sii (4th Infantry Division), 1377
AM, at Fort Somdet Phra
Sathaanii Witthayu Phitaksantiraat (Communications Division, Royal
Thai Police), 1422 AM, in
ARMY-5 (television channel 5, owned and operated by the Royal Thai
PRD-11 (television channel 11, owned and operated by the Government
Public Relations Department)
The majority ethnicity in the city is Thai. Others in the city
consider themselves of Mon descent.
The vast majority of residents of
Phitsanulok speak central Thai.
The people of
Phitsanulok are predominantly
Theravada Buddhists (as
are 95% of the Thai population as a whole), with a small Christian
community and a few Muslim families.
Naresuan University (abbreviated as Mor Nor for Mahawithayalai
Naresuan) is an educational center of the lower northern region of
Thailand. Now located in Tha Pho, near the city of Phitsanulok, the
university was named after King
Naresuan the Great, and the campus
features a large statue of him. Other universities and colleges in or
around the city include
Phitsanulok College (private), Sirindhorn
College of Public Health,
Rajabhat Pibulsongkram University (formerly
a teacher training college), and the
Phitsanulok campus of the
Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna.
Secondary (Mathayom) Institutions
Phitsanulok is home to one of the top Science and Math Secondary
schools in the country. Princess Chulabhorn's College Phitsanulok
(PCCPL) is a magnet boarding school that educates 750 students from
Thailand that are looking to have active careers in the
There are several hospitals in the city, both public and private. The
province's and the city's primary public hospital is Buddhachinaraj
Phitsanulok Hospital and the regional super tertiary care hospital is
Naresuan University Hospital at
Naresuan University, Tha Pho.
Phitsanulok Railway Station
Phitsanulok is approximately 75 km from the Unesco World Heritage
site at Sukhothai. The city can be reached by both rail and air
Phitsanulok Airport), and is on the intersection of several major
highways linking the northern, north-eastern, and central regions of
Thailand: Highway 11 (Ta Khli - Chiang Mai), Highway 12 (
Mae Sot -
Mukdahan) and Highway 117 (
Phitsanulok - Nakhon Sawan). Highway 126 is
a ring road around the city, allowing through traffic to bypass the
Phitsanulok is home to a number of historic sculptures of the Buddha
and other religious artwork including the Buddha Chinnarat, the Buddha
Chinnasri, the Phra Sri Satsada.
Examples of important literary works of
Lilit Yuan Pai (Thai: ลิลิตยวนพ่าย, English:
Tale of the Fall of Lanna)
Lilit Prá Lô (Thai: ลิลิตพระลอ, English: Tale of
the Hero Lô)
Klohng Táwâatsàmàat (Thai: โคลงทวาทศมาส,
English: Poem of the Twelve Months)
Gam Sŏn Sĕe Bpràat (Thai:
กำศรวลศรีปราชญ์, English: The Legendary
Wise Archer's Grip)
The predominant literary language (as well as the predominant spoken
language) is the central Thai dialect of the Thai language, which is
written in the Thai alphabet.
Dragon boat racing has historically been an important element of
Phitsanulok culture. In recent times, football (soccer) has become
increasingly popular. In 2005,
Phitsanulok won the 2nd Northern Youth
Football Championship in the U12 and U15 age groups.
Thai boxing is also a major sport in the city.
Phra Buddha Chinnarat
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat
Main article: Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahatat Woramahawihan
Phitsanulok's main tourist attraction is Wat Phra Sri Rattana
Mahathat, known locally simply as Wat Yai (Thai:
วัดใหญ่) (the big temple). This famous temple, built in
1357, is home to the Phra Buddha Chinnarat, which is one of the most
revered Buddha figures in Thailand, and the official symbol of
Phitsanulok Province. (An exact replica exists in the Marble Temple in
Bangkok, and another in Wat Saranat Thammaram in Rayong.) The
beautiful mother-of-pearl inlaid doors were built in 1756 by order of
Boromakot of Ayutthaya. The Buddha Chinnarat National Museum, on
the temple grounds, houses a sizeable collection of Sukhothai period
art. A large provincial fair is held at the temple every January.
The city is home to the following 12 active temples where Theravada
Buddhism is practiced by city residents:
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat (Thai:
Wat Ratchaburana (Thai: วัดราชบูรณะ)
Wat Aranyik (Thai: วัดอรัญญิก)
Wat Nang Phaya (Thai: วัดนางพญา)
Wat Chedi Yod Thong
Wat Tamajak (Thai: วัดธรรมจักร)
Wat Mai Opayaram (Thai: วัดใหม่อภัยาราม)
Wat Kuha Sawan (Thai: วัดคูหาสวรรค์)
Wat Nong Bua (Thai: วัดหนองบัว)
Wat Sri Wisut Tharam (Thai:
Wat Sra Gaew Pratum Thong (Thai:
Wat Tha Maprang (Thai: วัดท่ามะปราง)
Sergeant-Major Dr. Thawee Buranakhet Folklore Museum: Hosts a
collection of folk arts, crafts, basketry, pottery and ancient kitchen
utensils. The museum also houses a collection of antique traps for
catching snakes, birds, tigers and porcupines.
Buranathai Buddha Foundry
City walls: Unfortunately, most of the older portions of Phitsanulok
were destroyed in a 1955 fire. Thus little else remains of the old
town besides the famous temple, an ancient chedi across the road from
it, and a small section of the city wall. The intact portion of the
ancient city wall is accessible to visitors.
Buranathai Buddha Foundry: Specializes in casting bronze Buddha
images. It is the only establishment of its kind in the
province. Craftspersons specialize in the reproduction of the Phra
Buddha Chinnarat Buddha image. Visitors are permitted to walk
along the production line.
Nan River Houseboats:
Phitsanulok is known throughout
Thailand for the
houseboats which still line the
Nan River near Wat Phra Sri Rattana
Maharat, though in recent years these are becoming fewer. A
houseboat museum is open to visitors.
Night Market: Each evening, vendors gather to form Phitsanulok's night
market. Items sold include clothing and food, usually at reduced
Chandra Palace: Chandra Palace was the birthplace of King
Great, and contains a shrine to him.
Naresuan University Art and Culture Gallery: The gallery holds over
100 artistic artworks of culturally significant Thai artists.
Festivals and events
River houses in Phitsanulok
Phra Buddha Chinnarat Fair: Held each January at Wat Phra Sri Rattana
Suan Chom Nan Park Festival: Held twice a year along the Nan River.
Food and local products are on sale.
Dragon Boat Races: On the first weekend of each October, dragon boat
races are held outside
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahatat Woramahawihan
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahatat Woramahawihan in
the Nan River. Each dragon boat has a crew of approximately 30
^ Thailand, A Short Story, David K. Wyatt, ISBN 0-300-03054-1
^ "Climatological Data for the Period 1981–2010". Thai
Meteorological Department. p. 5. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
Penman Monteith (Reference Crop Evapotranspiration by Penman
Monteith)" (PDF) (in Thai). Office of Water Management and Hydrology,
Royal Irrigation Department. p. 32. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
^ a b c ThaiTambon.com
^ Basins in
Thailand Archived 2008-02-22 at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b Province page from the Tourist Authority of
2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine.
Phitsanulok Irrigation Project Archived 2008-05-03 at the Wayback
^ Asia-Pacific Summit of Women Mayors and Councillors Archived
2007-09-17 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Radio Stations in
Phitsanulok Province, Thailand
^ a b Thai TV: Television Stations in
Thailand on VHF and UHF
Phitsanulok wins the 2nd Northern Youth Football Championship
^ a b c
^ a b c d Buranathai Buddha Casting Foundry
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Phitsanulok travel guide from Wikivoyage
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