Nakhon Sawan province and city is a gateway city and also a wonderful city to visit in its own right. It is located due north of Bangkok, about halfway between Bangkok and Phitsanulok. In Thai, Nakhon Sawan means ‘heavenly city,’ and with good reason.
This is where the Ping and Nan rivers merge and then become the Chao Phraya River, the river that flows through Bangkok.
You can get there by bus, car, or railroad. Both buses and railroad trains run to Nakhon Sawan several times per day from Bangkok. The roads are in prime condition and large portions of the road were only recently widened and resurfaced.
There are plenty of good hotels in the area, one of the most famous being the Country Lake Nature Lodge. It is worth having a look at their web site at http://www.sawadee.com/hotel/thai/countrylake .
You can find excellent Thai restaurants and the typical western style foods, including the popular fast food outlets.
A major tourist attraction is Bueng Boraphet, Thailand’s largest freshwater swamp. Here you will find nearly 150 species of fish, 50 species of water plants, and an abundance of rare birds. You’ll find a beautiful museum and aquarium here, along with a nearby crocodile breeding program.
Origin of the Chao Phraya River – This is where the Ping and Nan rivers meet. Each is easily recognizable. The Ping river is a greenish color and the Nan River is distinctly reddish. Boat rides are available.
Wat Woranat Banphot – This Buddhist temple is on top of a mountain and offers spectacular views of the area.
Wat Ko Hong – This Buddhist temple is considered by many to be Thailand’s answer to Lourdes. People come here to “take the cure” by ‘yeab cha.’ It is especially noted for treatment of paralysis with yeab cha, which is made from special oils and herbs. They apply the heated oils to the affected parts of the body with their feet. You can “take the cure” even if you’re not paralyzed at all, but have areas that cause you any kind of suffering or pain. Supposedly, this treatment is beneficial for those suffering from arthritis and other types of joint pain.
Nakhon Sawan Provincial Cultural Building – Here you will find many of the local archeological discoveries and an information center about all the local cultural activities.
Khao Tham Phra – A cavern with plenty of stalagmites and stalactites for those of you who are enthusiasts.
Khao No-Khao Kaeo – This is a limestone mountain. You will find tribes of monkeys at the base and you can have a wonderful time watching their antics and they readily accept fresh fruit if you wish to feed them. Try giving them bottled water in plastic containers. Open the water for them. They just love it. At dusk you can see tremendous hordes of bats flying out of their caves on their nightly hunt. There are so many they literally turn the sky black.
There are numerous nature trails and waterfalls in the area. Some of the waterfalls are easily accessible and some require day-long hikes.
Nakhon Sawan is also a wonderful place to go for Chinese New Year. Here you will be able to sample an abundance of Chinese foods and witness the annual lion and dragon parade.
At the end of Buddhist Lent there are also boat races on the Chao Phraya River.
Nakhon Sawan is also a good gateway city for visiting other areas, such as Sukothai, the Chainat Bird Park, and the famous Lop Buri monkey temple.
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