Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical
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 Observatory.
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 gray marble. The marble was first sculptured
into pieces to form a pagoda at Ko Srichang, 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.
Getting to Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park
The site is located on Phetkasem Road, just one kilometer from the
town entrance junction. It is possible to climb the mountain by
walking or by cable car.
Walking up is a strenuous activity
but it is the traditional way to approach the Park. For those choosing
the cable car option, the fare, which inclusive of the museum admission
fee is 50 bahts for adults and 30 bahts for children. Service is
provided from 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.