Chaiyaphum is a place where many periods of civilization have overlapped one another from the Dvaravati and Khmer periods to the Laotian or Lan Chang eras. Many archaeological remains and objects were found in many areas in the province. Later, the province appeared as a border town during the reign of King Narai the Great of the Ayutthaya period. After that, the town was abandoned and reappeared once more in the Rattanakosin era as a destination where the Vientiane people, led by their leader Lae, emigrated to. He was designated as the first governor of Chaiyaphum.
The main problem most tourists will have is that this is not a tourist destination. As a result, little English is spoken, or written on hotel/restaurant menus, etc. It is a charming little city though, and everyone is friendly. You should be able to bluff your way through easily enough.
Take Hwy 1 (Phahonyothin Rd) from Bangkok to Saraburi. Turn right onto Hwy 2 (Mittraphap Rd) and turn left onto Hwy 201 at Sikhio District, passing Dan Khun Thot and Chatturat Districts into Chaiyaphum, a total distance of 330 km.
Another route is to take Phahonyothin Rd from Bangkok, passing Saraburi. At the Phu Khae Intersection, take Hwy 21 to Chai Badan. Then, take Hwy 205, passing Thep Sathit and Chatturat Districts into Chaiyaphum Province.
Buses from Bangkok to Chaiyaphum run daily. It takes approximately 5 ½ hours. For more information, contact the Bangkok Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) at Tel. +66 2 9362852-66, Chaiyaphum Bus Terminal at Tel. +66 44 811493, Air Chaiyaphum Co., Ltd. at Tel. +66 44 811556, Nakhonchai Air Co., Ltd. at Tel. +66 44 811739, Chaiyaphum Chong Charoen Co., Ltd. at Tel. +66 44 811780 or Fax. +66 44 811760, Chaiyaphum Tour Co.,Ltd. at Tel. +66 44 816012 or BKS.
One can get a bus from Khon Kaen, about 150 km distant, either air-con or fan/windows open. Price of the latter is very cheap, but it stops everywhere along the way.
From the Bangkok Railway Station (Hualamphong Station), there are both rapid and express trains from Bangkok to Nong Khai provided everyday getting off at Bua Yai Station. After that, passengers can connect with a bus for a further 51 km to Chaiyaphum. For more information, contact the State Railway of Thailand Travel Service Centre, at Tel. 1690, +66 2 2204444, +66 2 2204334, +66 2 6218701.
There are tuk-tuks at the bus terminal and in town. Prices are reasonable (ask before you climb on board!)
The Chaopho Phraya Lae Festival (งานฉลองอนุสาวรีย์เจ้าพ่อพระยาแล) is held from the 12–20 January each year in front of Chaiyaphum City Hall and the Chaopho Phraya Lae Monument Intersection.
The Chaopho Phraya Lae Worship Ceremony (งานประเพณีบวงสรวงเจ้าพ่อพญาแล) is held at the Nong Pla Thao Shrine on the first Monday of May every year (It lasts for 3 days and 3 nights). The locals will pay respect to Chaopho Phraya Lae's spirit and perform traditional dances in front of the old shrine. There is a contest of local food, folk sports competition and a "Bai Si" procession contest.
The Candle Festival (งานแห่เทียนพรรษา) is a festival organised by the Chaiyaphum Municipal Office on the full moon day of the 8th lunar month (around July). There is a candle contest. This event is widely popular and similar to the candle procession of Ubon Ratchathani.
The Ram Phi Fa Tradition (ประเพณีรำผีฟ้า) is a ceremony worshipping certain sacred objects and the "Phrachao Ong Tue", a Buddha image engraved out of sandstone with a height of 2 metres. The locals consider this Buddha image as very holy. Many people will participate in this ceremonial dance. The ceremony is organised twice a year on the 13th to 15th day during the waxing moon of the 5th lunar month (in April) and the first day during the waning moon of the 3rd lunar month within the area of Khao Phu Phra, Ban Na Kai Sao and Na Siao Sub-district in Mueang District.
Chaiyaphum's local products are Mudmee silk, cotton cloth, Khit cloth, triangular pillows and other woven cloth products. Also delicate basketry and various local dishes such as Mam, Som Wua, fish cake, and Isaan sausage can be found in this province.
- Number 1 Bar (At the entrance to the Night Bazaar, on the road down to Tesco Lotus.). Opened in January 2015, it is the only farang bar in Chaiyaphum. Serves good pizza, Australian steak, spaghetti, mashed potatoes and good sauces, Irish coffee and beer.
- Lertnimit Hotel (Walk out of the bus station to the main road, look to the right and across the road is the hotel. It has no obvious signage, but looks like a hotel), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. The price includes breakfast and dinner. Both are OK and with a range of choices to choose from and are cooked to order. Bottle of beer with dinner 90 baht. Hotel has air-con and shower water is hot. Wi-Fi is available, but no computer. Internet cafe about 1 km to the right on the same side of the road. 600+ baht.
- 1 Pocket Park Chaiyaphum Minitel Apartment, Soi Kiatnakin Bank, Haruethai Rd, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms for rent and various facilities with cool garden in central Chaiyaphum.
- Within the province of Chaiyaphum there are four national parks
- Chaiyaphum borders Phetchabun, Loei, Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima