Phrae – Overview

Phrae is one of the oldest cities in the north of Thailand. It was founded in 1371 B.E. by Phya Pol and was named “Pol Nakhon”.

Phrae is located on the banks of the Yom River, approximately 555 kilometers from Bangkok. It covers an area of 6538 square kilometers and is administratively divided into eight districts. The town consists mainly of mountains and lush forests; Phrae is equipped with abundant natural attractions such as parks, waterfalls, caves, etc. Because of its long history, there are also many historic sites, Buddhist temples, and many other cultural attractions. The inner town of Phrae is surrounded by an old city wall that is more than 1000 years old and 2 km long.

In the past, Phrae was the hub of the teakwood industry in Thailand. Today there are many old teak houses left in the old town which is now a trademark for Phrae. Most of the old houses with great historical value are over 100 years old, so this province is the place to go to truly appreciate the old charm of the north that cannot be found elsewhere. If you want to explore the cultural sights of the destination in a more relaxed pace, it is recommended to rent a bicycle taxi to transport you around town.

Phrae – Getting there

By car

From Bangkok, take Highway No. 1 and Highway No. 11 to Phrae through Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, and Uttaradit.

By bus

Transport Co. Ltd offers regular buses to Phrae at 10-10:30 AM. Buses leave from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) daily.
Even private bus companies Choet Chai Tour, Phrae Tour, and Sombat Tour take you to Phrae on your holiday in Thailand.

By air

There are no regular commercial flights to Phrae. The closest airport is in Chiang Mai from where you can take a bus to Phrae.

Phrae – Weather

It is extremely difficult if not impossible to predict how the weather will be like at a certain time in a certain place. And yet, all travelers would like to know in advance what kind of climate conditions they will experience in Phrae, so they can organize their trip.

But like many other places in Thailand, there are 3 seasons here, too. The rainy season is from May to September, the cool season from October to February, and the hot season from March to April.

Phrae – Attractions

Wat Luang
Location: Amphoe Mueang

Wat Luang is situated on Kham Lue Road in town and is the oldest and most important temple built while Phrae formed. Several renovations have since taken place.

Phra That Chang Kham Luang, the great Lanna chedi, sits on a square base with elephants supporting it from all four sides. In the temple, you will find a museum that contains the temple antiques, ceramics, and religious art from Lanna, Nan, Bago, and Mon time.

Wat Phra Non

West of Wat Luang is Wat Phra Non near the site of the old city wall. Some of the architectural works include the Chiang Saen style Ubosot with its narrow openings that lead in the light instead of normal windows. The crossbar is made of wood with graceful patterns and you can see the symbol of the northern architecture. Inside, there is a 9 meter long reclining Buddha.

Phraya Chaiyabun Memorial
Location: Amphoe Mueang

Phraya Chaiyabun Memorial was built to honor his heroism and sacrifices of the Association of Thailand. He was the governor of the city during the years 1897-1902, but he was killed by a rebellion of Shan Indians when he refused to give up the city to them. After the rebellion was struck down by government troops King Rama V ordered a memorial erected in his honor.
Open: Daily between 8 AM and 4 PM.

Wongburi House
Location: Amphoe Mueang

Wongburi House was built in 1897 by Phraya Burirat, the then governor of Phrae, to his daughter, Chao  Sunantha, and son-in-law, Luang Pongpiboon. It is one of the most beautiful old houses in Phrae. It is a large two storey teak mansion built in fine Thai and European style, painted pink. An excellent feature is the decorations that are both indoors and outside. Currently, the house serves as a lively museum. The house is equipped with the original family’s household articles such as furniture, silverware, pottery, and important documents.

The house was awarded the title of “excellent preservation in 1993” at the Society of Siam Architecture under Royal Patronage.

Open: Daily from 08:30 AM to 5 PM.

Admission: Adults 30 baht, Children 10 baht (price subject to change)

Phrae – Shopping

As most provincial capitals, Phrae has a central market where locals can buy everything from food to household appliances and visitors can buy clothes and other necessary supplies. There are often locally produced handicrafts from village workshops throughout the province on key markets and sometimes at night markets.

Phrae is not particularly known for shopping. But you can still find some bargains and interesting shops. Tour guides help you find the best shops in Phrae.

Phrae is known for its distinctive indigo-dyed cotton shirts that you see in all of northern Thailand. The clothes are made in Ban Thung Hong, just outside the city. A good place to buy these is Maw Hawm Anian, located about 60 meters from the southern gate (Pratu Chai) towards the Old Town.

Hua Dong Market
Location: Amphoe Sung But

Hua Dong Market is located about 9 km south of the city on Highway No. 101 in the Sung Men district in Phrae province. In this market, you will often find furniture and decorative items as it is the main place for products made from wood and rattan. Here you can buy all the indoor and outdoor furniture you want.

Phrae – Restaurants

Pan Jai

This outdoor venue combines everything you could want in a restaurant: delicious local cuisine, attractive surroundings, great service, and low prices. Emphasis is on the ka nom jeen which is fresh rice noodles served with various curries and herbs, but there is also a few different types of noodle soups, various rice dishes, and more. Everything is offered up, so just point to what you think looks best.

Sod Cheon

At a crossroads approximately 50m north of Maeyom Palace Hotel you will find this simple but very popular Chinese/Thai restaurant. Choose from large pots with Chinese soups or the usual Thai dishes. A good place for travelers who want to eat late.

Phrae – Nearby

Wat Phrathat Chor Hae

A temple on a mountain top 8 km southeast of the city which probably stems from 1200 to 1300’s. The 28-meter high chedi is said to contain the hair of the Buddha, brought here by the Indian Emperor, Asoka. The chedi is located at a small monastery and connected to this is an ornate high ceiling viharn, with frescoes depicting episodes from the Buddha’s life. The name of the temple is the same as on a particularly fine fabric woven of the population in the area. Even here at the foot of the mountain are a number of souvenir stalls.

Phae Muang Phi Forest Park
Location: Amphoe Mueang

Phae Muang Phi Forest Park is 18 km from the city on Highway 101 and is considered Thailand’s Grand Canyon. Phae Muang Phi is renowned for its magnificent sandstone formations. Phae means bushland area and Muang Phi means ghost in Thai. Because it is a big, but quiet haunted place and no one lives around there, you easily lose track as you wander around.

But it is worth a visit for those who appreciate spectacular and natural rock formations.

It is actually a slight crater in the ground where the soil and sand erosion has produced strange formations shaped like giant mushrooms, rocks, and chimneys. Geologists suspect that erosion occurred about 2 million years ago.

Phrae – Article

The legend of “Phrae Parade Bomb” 

PHRAE people is often teased as “Phrae Parade Bomb” and described above as a joke that Phrae people think that the bomb is a holy thing, which fall from the sky, or come from heaven, so people took it to the parade. Then, bomb explosion made all the villagers and the ruler died. So there was no royal surname extension Na Phrae, unlike Na Chiang Mai, Na Lampang, etc.

But there has been someone research on this to find how is the true story based on the study of World War 2 by Mr. Surin Ratanasophanan, former member of Seri Thai Movement in Phrae, and those who involved with this story, there are

1.     Phra Samuha Sakon Atipatto, Abbot of Mae Lan Neu Temple, Huai Or Sub-district, Long District, Phrae Province.

2.     Mr. Som Chaikaew, Address no. 69, Moo 9, Huai Or Sub-district, Long District, Phrae Province.

3.     Mr. Saman Muenkhan, Address no. 92 / 6, Moo 4, Huai Or Sub-district, Long District, Phrae Province.

Facts appear as follows: …

Mr. Long Manomoon, a railway worker of Kaeng Luang station has found the bomb that left by the allied aircraft. The bomb was left in order to destroy the railway bridge across the Huay Mae Tao to block the journey of Japanese soldiers in World War 2. He has told Mr. Saman Muenkhan to look and asked for help from the railway workers of Kaeng Luang Railway Station nearby. They helped each others to dig and pull the trigger explosions, saw cutting at tail of the bomb, delve dynamite inside out and lift up to the cart. They carted it to Baan Mae Lu, Baan Pin Sub-district. Later, Mr. Long handled over to cart it to the temple. When people heard this, it took a stampede to whole village. People came out to see and walk together with the bomb in long parade all the way to Mae Lan Neu Temple. When other villagers nearby around the temple heard this, they also came out to welcome with gongs, and long drums. The parade’s line was longer, and longer. They marched to the temple and presented the bomb to the temple for using as a bell until today.

There are 3 bombs which currently

bomb no. 1 is kept at Mae Lan Nue Temple, Houi Or Sub-district,

bomb no. 2 is stored at Sri Don Kham Temple, Huai Or Sub-district, and

bomb no. 3 is kept at Na Tum Temple, Bo Lek Long Sub-district, Long District, Phrae Province.

Conclusion is that the legend of “Phrae Parade Bomb” is a real. But, bomb was not explosive as widely spoken. Bomb was removed the trigger and cut out for the metal case, then offered to the temple to use as the bell.  In addition, the bell from the explosive case makes very good echo sound.