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Off the beaten path a visit to Phitsanulok province, Thailand

Phitsanulok plays a critical historical role in Thailand. It was the birthplace of King Naresuan, whose charismatic influence liberated the country from Burmese attacks. The city was founded 600 years ago and, since then, has become an important cultural and commercial center in the northern part of Thailand.

One thing we love about Thailand is that it can still surprise you. While hoards of tourists flock to places like Maya Bay and Erawan Falls, there are still some unbelievably beautiful spots tucked out of the way.

Phitsanulok has slowly emerged as a premium historical and cultural destination consisting mostly of tropical savannas and landscapes. Who would not be enticed to visit its golden temples, sacred structures, and stunning architecture? But not just that.

view camp Phitsanulok

Phitsanulok is now attracting adventurers and nature lovers with its hidden arrays of natural wonders. Cascading waterfalls, pristine jungles, thriving wildlife, crystal-clear rivers, and brooks are just among the eco-wonders awaiting visitors.

To make the most of your visit to Phitsanulok, consider the following must-try activities. It’s your ultimate getaway for a meaningful eco-historical escapade.

Come See Elephants!

Hanging out with elephants is one of the reasons you’re beyond excited to visit Thailand, right? These animals have become a huge part of the culture, a symbol of the country, and one of the main tourist attractions. And for good reason! Seeing these gentle giants up close is a pretty amazing experience. Luckily for you, there are a few options where you can have a day with some happy elephants. The Sappraiwant Elephant Sanctuary is found right by Phitsanulok, Thailand.

The Sappraiwant Elephant Sanctuary

Kaeng So Pha Waterfall

Already the tourist destination you are into has places of vivid nature adding to the scenic beauty one gets to view while traveling in the city from one place to another. Waterfalls are one such refreshing site of fun and frolic. Out of all the waterfalls, this one is a beautiful, scenic, simple clear rill. If you wish to expect more water you should go after the monsoon season. Else it is a good-to-go waterfall at any time.

Kaeng So Pha Waterfall

If I told you there were “bat caves” made of limestone and may contain close to 1 million “bats”....would you visit?

the flight of bats in Phitsanulok Province takes place every day in the town of Ban Mung which is in the Noen Maprang District. The area is stunningly beautiful with limestone mountains rising up vertically from palm tree-studded farm fields. It looks like Krabi or Northern Vietnam, but there are so few other tourists here. The true highlight is during the evening when millions of bats stream out of caves in the mountains. They fly through the sky in a thin ribbon that twists, turns, and undulates in a stunning spectacle.

The area is popular with Thai tourists but not many foreigners come. As with most destinations of this type, weekends and holidays can get quite busy, but if you go during the week there are very few other people there. We recommend staying overnight in Ban mung in a homestay

According to the locals we spoke with, bats fly every day of the year, in the rainy season and the dry. They emerge from their caves just before sunset and fly for around 20 minutes. When we visited in mid-February that was around ten past six. There is a small parking area right here that was perfect for us. Most of the bats fly out from two caves which are located behind the temple. You can also go in there and see them emerging, but we didn’t do that. It’s not too far walking or driving from the temple into the town so you could start near the caves and catch the tail-end of the spectacle from in town. The temple location is here.

There are two great national parks in Phitsanulok province both of which can be visited either as a day trip from Phitsanulok or as a part of a longer multi-day adventure. For the best experience, we would suggest spending at least one night in Phu Hin Rong Kla, though.

bats in Phitshanulok

Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park

Located 120 km east of town, this relatively small national park has played an important role during the civil conflict that went on for almost 2 decades between the Thai government and the communist party which chose this mountainous region as one of their main headquarters. Declared National Park in 1984, 2 years after the war had finished, Phu Hin Rong Kla is nowadays an interesting destination for both nature lovers and political history enthusiasts. Unfortunately, not only humans suffered from bombings for 20 years: at the moment there is not too much wildlife living in the park. The rangers will tell you that few tigers are still left but the small size of the territory and the fact that there haven’t been any recordings for ages suggest that this is more of a hope than truth.

What is left from that period are administration buildings, hospitals, air-raid shelters, and a small museum explaining the history of the conflict that can be easily visited – short trails from the visitor center will lead you there.

Several attractive waterfalls can be reached with non-challenging hikes branching off the main road that crosses the park at different points.

Many scenic viewpoints are also scattered around the park, the most impressive one being Laan Hin Pum, where a number of strange rock formation that looks like a picture from a lunar movie set was used by the communist party as a shelter during the bombings.

The visitor center features a camping ground and a few bungalows to rent if you wish to spend the night in the park. If you don’t have a tent, you can rent it along with a mattress, sleeping bag, and pillow. Reservation is required for the bungalows and it’s possible only through the DNP website.

Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park

Namtok Chat Trakan National Park

Located 140 km northeast of Phitsanulok, Chat Trakan waterfall is the main attraction of the national park and it makes for a great multi-day combination with Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park.

The waterfall consists of 7 different levels but very few tourists go past the bottom one, which features a sandy beach by a large natural pool suitable for swimming. A popular picnic destination for Thais, it can be quite crowded during weekends, while it’s a lot quieter and tranquil on a weekday.

If you find yourself in the park, Kradanleg Cliff is definitely worth a visit. It is located only three km away from the park headquarters. It is a prehistoric site where geometric symbols have been carved in the rocks; the meaning of the drawings is still unknown.

Namtok Chat Trakan National Park

Travel Tips

  • Use Klook to find the best deals for trips, somehow they are most of the time 30% cheaper than when you buy them at a local agency. We visit a temple in Pattaya The Sanctuary of truth and on Klook you pay 360 Bath and at the temple itself 500 Bath. Klook is a world-leading travel activity and services booking platform with more than 60,000 activities across 250 major destinations.

  • Use Trivago to find the best prices for your hotels Trivago is a world-leading metasearch platform allowing users to compare accommodation prices from the best service suppliers. Travelers can find the best offers for hotels, apartments, houses, and even luxury villas.

  • Use 12Go to find your travel route for local buses, and ferries, we use them all the time as you can easily see the reviews, and the vouchers are everywhere accepted. tickets are sold for more than 5,000 destinations in 100+ countries worldwide.12Go has already helped more than 3,500,000 travelers from around the world get from point A to point B trouble-free and with a high-quality service guarantee. Over the years, the service has received more than 166,000 customer reviews.

  • Use VisitorsCoverage to find the best Travel Insurance worldwide suitable for all types of travelers, including digital nomads, couples, and families regardless of budget VisitorsCoverage is one of the largest online travel insurance platforms offered in 175+ countries (with their primary market being United States). This insurance company was one of the first to offer travel insurance to travelers worldwide in 2006. Now, they offer several customizable plans, from classic insurance to cover medical expenses to extended insurance to cover flight delays, missing baggage, and other emergencies.


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