Phetchaburi’s well known landmark, the locally known as Khao Wang ( Palace Hill )
is located up on a 92-meter high verdant hill, in the city of Phetchaburi. It was
built under the royal command of King Rama IV and in 1860 became his summer palace.
The whole compound is comprised of royal halls, palaces, temples and other buildings
which were elegantly constructed in a well-balanced Thai, neoclassical Western and
Chinese architectural styles. There are a group of royal residences on the western
side of the hill consisting of the Phetchphoomphairot Building, Pramotmahaisawan
Building, Wetchayanwichienprasat Building, Ratchathammasapha Building and Hor Chatchawanwiengchai
The original main residence, Phetchphoomphairot and Pramotmahaisawan Buildings are
now being used as a museum exhibiting the royal paraphernalia of King Rama IV and
King Rama V, decorative sculptures, and ceramics from China, Japan and Europe. The
big white pagoda situated on the middle peak of the hill is Phrathat Jomphet. King
Rama IV ordered the renovation of the old pagoda and later added a Buddha image inside.
Visitors to the Palace should not miss the panoramic view of Phetchaburi City and
other buildings on another two nearby mountaintops.
There are several temples to be admired on the Eastern Mountain, one of which is
Wat Maha Samanaram, which has a history that can be traced back to the Ayutthaya
period and the place where murals by Khrua In Khong, a renowned Thai artist is located.
Another temple located on top of the mountain is Wat Phra Kaew Noi, the Royal Temple
of Phra Nakhon Khiri that was constructed based on the model of the Grand Palace
in Bangkok. The Ordination Hall and Phra Sutthasela Chedi are also popular attractions.
The ordination hall is a small beautifully symmetrical structure that is noted for
the stucco at the gables, which is said to be a Phetchaburi masterpiece. In addition,
the design of the Hall was based on King Rama IV’s royal emblem. Phra Sutthasela
Chedi was built from greenish grey marble. The marble was first sculptured into pieces
to form a pagoda at Koh Sichang, an island off the coast of Pattaya on the eastern
coast of the Gulf of Thailand, then it was dismantled and resembled at the Chedi
which is on the western coast of the Gulf of Thailand.
Wat Mahathat Worawihan - This old temple is situated by the Phetchaburi River in
the town centre. There is a five-topped pagoda constructed in accordance with the
Mahayana concept housing Lord Buddha’s relics. The stucco designs decorated on the
viharn and the ubosot reflect the excellent skill of local craftsmen.
Wat Yai Suwannaram - This is another important temple in the town, situated one km
east of the city hall. The main shrine hall has no windows. It contains 300-year-old
mural paintings of mythical angels. The multi-purpose hall, once located in Ayutthaya’s
Grand Palace, was entirely built of teakwood and decorated with fine carving work
especially at the door panels. The hall also houses a preaching throne with intricate
woodcarvings and gold gilt works of Bangkok design. The shrine hall is usually close.
Visitors wishing to see the inside the shrine hall can ask permission from the abbot.
Wat Kamphaeng Laeng - This temple, situated in the town, was originally a Khmer
place of worship. It was later turned into a Buddhist temple and a shrine hall was
constructed. However, the outlook of the place has not much changed due to the existence
of sandstone walls and four Khmer style pagodas.