Phetchaburi has a long and rich history, which is reflected in the town's art and architecture. Originally, a Mon city, it fell to the Khmer Empire in the 12th century and was later part of the Thai Sukhothai and Ayutthaya kingdoms. Situated beside a river, the town is overlooked by Phra Nakhon Khiri ("Sacred City Mountain"), the neoclassical palace complex built by King Mongkut. Around the foot of the hill and in town are a number of interesting temples, one with a massive prang (spire), one with a beautiful scripture hall in a pond, and several with Ayutthaya period murals.
Phra Nakhon Khiri: an extensive historical park (locally known as Khao Wang) with a museum, temple, chedi, prang, and a lot of monkeys.
Tham Khao Luang: one of Thailand's most photogenic and accessible sacred caves.
Tham Khao Bandai It: a series of narrow caves with Buddha images beneath a temple.
Wat Maha Samanaram: a temple at the foot of Khao Wang with murals by renowned artist Khrua In Khong.
Wat Phra Phuttha Saiyat: a temple at the foot of Khao Wang with a large reclining Buddha.
Wat Yai Suwannaram: a picturesque 17th century temple with Ayutthaya-period murals, a traditional scripture hall surrounded by water and a sala supported by octagonal wooden pillars.
Wat Mahathat: a temple dating from the 14th century with a tall, white spire, murals and a cloister with many Buddha images.
From Bangkok, take a minibus from the Victory Monument. Leave the BTS station by Exit 4 and turn right at the corner. Agents for Phetchaburi buses are on the right. The trip takes about 2 hours.
Updated: February 16, 2014.