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Asia > Southeast Asia > Thailand > Southern Thailand > Central Gulf Coast > Nakhon Si Thammarat

Nakhon Si Thammarat

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Nakhon Si Thammarat City Pillar Shrine

Nakhon Si Thammarat (นครศรีธรรมราช) is a city in Southern Thailand.

Understand[edit]

Nakhon Si Thammarat Province is the second largest province in the south. It boasts verdant jungles abundant with luxuriant vegetation as well as picturesque beaches and beautiful waterfalls.

The city of Nakhon Si Thammarat is the capital of the province. It is about 780 km (485 mi) south of Bangkok, on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. The city was the administrative centre of southern Thailand during most of its history. Originally a coastal city, silting moved the coastline away from the city. The modern city centre around the train station is north of Old Town.

It is one of the most ancient cities of Thailand, previously the Kingdom of Ligor, and contains many buildings and ruins of historical significance. With the fall of the Siamese capital of Ayutthaya in 1767 it regained independence, but reaffirmed its allegiance on the founding of Bangkok. In the 17th century British, Portuguese, and Dutch merchants set up trading posts here and engaged in extensive commerce.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Take Hwy 4 on the Bangkok-Prachuap Khiri Khan-Chumphon route and then Hwy 41 past Surat Thani-Thung Song until arriving in Nakhon Si Thammarat or Phun Phin in Surat Thani, then take Hwy 401 along the coast to Nakhon Si Thammarat, total distance of 780 km.

By plane[edit]

Two airlines operate flights between Bangkok and Nakhon Si Thammarat:

By train[edit]

Thai Railways offers rapid and express trains departing from Bangkok Railway Station to Nakhon Si Thammarat at 17:35 and 19:15. For more information, Tel. 1690, +66 2 2237010, +66 2 2237020 or call Nakhon Si Thammarat train station at tel. +66 75 356364, +66 75 346129. The train takes anywhere from 12-14 hours.

Trains leave the NST Terminal for Bangkok daily at 13:00 and 15:00. The NST station is to the west of town centre. Nearby are hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

Trains also depart NST station for Hatyai at 6 am and 10 am.

By bus[edit]

Regular and air-conditioned buses of The Transport Co. and private companies depart from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal. The trip takes about 12 hours. Air conditioned buses, 3 types, leave Bangkok at the following times:

  • VIP Bus: 17:15 and 19:00
  • Standard 1 Bus: 09:00, 18:00, and 20:30
  • Standard 2 Bus: 06:40, 18:00, 20:00, and 22:00

For more information, contact Tel. +66 2 4351199-200 (air conditioned buses).

Nakhon Si Thammarat Bus Station, Tel: +66 75 341125. The provincial bus station lies just outside the town, to the west. On the streets near the train station there are a number of bus company offices selling tickets for buses leaving for provinces north and south.

Travel within the province is easy with minibus service around the city. Transport to nearby provinces includes vans, taxis, buses, and trains.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

  • City Museum. Admission free.
  • The City Wall. The city chronicle already mentions a fortification when the town was refounded in 1278. Restorations were recorded at the time of King Ramesuan (14th century), as well as King Narai (1686). The latter was aided by the French engineer, M. de la Mare. The walls spread 456 m from east to west, and 2,238 m north to south, enclosing an area of about one square kilometre. The northern wall had only one gate, called Prathu Chai Nua or Prathu Chai Sak. The southern wall had only one gate. To the east there were three gates, which connected the town with the sea. To the west were five gates. Today only the northern gate still exists, together with a short stretch of the northern city wall.
  • National Museum Nakhon Si Thammarat.
  • Wat Phra Mahathat (วัดพระมหาธาตุวรมหาวิหาร). The most important temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat and southern Thailand. It was constructed at the time of the founding of the town, and contains a tooth relic of Buddha. The 78 m high chedi is surrounded by 173 smaller ones. While the chedi is now in Sri Lankan style, it is said to have been built on top of an earlier Srivijaya-style chedi. At the base of the chedi is a gallery named Viharn Tap Kaset, decorated with many Buddha statues and elephant heads emerging from the chedi. Viharn Phra Song Ma is the buildings which contains the staircase which leads to a walkway around the chedi above the gallery. At the bottom of the staircase are demon giants (yak) as guardians. Adjoining to the north is the Viharn Kien, which contains a small temple museum. South of the chedi is the large ubosot building, the Viharn Luang. Living quarters are across the street in a separate temple, Wat Na Phra Boromathat. The chedi is the symbol of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, prominent on the seal of the province. It is also displayed on the 25 satang coin.

Do[edit]

  • Thalad Park (2km N of the city). A good place to spend a relaxing day. The landscaping is impressive though it is not well maintained. The city museum is near the entrance.

Buy[edit]

  • Pha Yok is a cloth woven only in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The patterns and colours of the fabric are exquisite.
  • Shadow Puppets are made from dried hide. The hide is pounded until it is almost clear, and then cut into intricate characters.
  • The Big C supermarket is around 10 min walk from the train station within the city.
  • Robinson is a shopping mall with a basement full of computer and mobile shops. The main mobile companies all have their support centres here.
  • Yan Li Phao Centre (Ban Tha Rua on Rte 4019, 11km from town). Yan Li Phao (ย่านลิเภา) is a clinging vine that grows in the area. It split into threads and woven into beautiful products like traditional basketry which originated in the southern part of Thailand. Very nice stuff, but pricey, so don't be bashful about bargaining.

Other crafts include niello ware, silverware, and bronze ware. There are a lot of souvenir shops along Tha Chang Rd.

Eat[edit]

  • JE Cafe and Restaurant, 1763/6-7 Rd, Jamruenwithee, Thawang, +66 75 356963. Small cafe and restaurant, with Wi-Fi.
  • Kanom La Nim (ขนมลานิ่ม). A ready-to-eat sweetened flour treat which comes in sheets. It cannot be preserved for more than a week.
  • Kanom La Tod (ขนมลาทอด). A crispy fried sweetened flour confection which is folded into small bite-size pieces.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Bua Luang Hotel, 1487/19 Chamroenwithi Rd (Near night market / Train station), +66 75 341002, fax: +66 75 343418. The name on the sign of the hotel is Bueloung Hotel. The large rooms are clean and it's hard to beat at 170 baht for a single room with bath. The owners are very genuine. It has 235 rooms. Double fan private bedroom, 240 baht; single air-con private bedroom, 340 baht; double air-con private bedroom, 420 baht. 240+ baht.
  • Montien Hotel, 1509/40 Yommarat Rd (Beside the train station and opposite the night market), +66 75 341908, fax: +66 75 345561. The rooms are average, the staff speak limited English and the hotel isn't even signposted in English. It's not worth spending the extra money especially when the Thai Hotel is just down the road. 80 rooms. Single fan private bedroom, 260 baht; double fan private bedroom, 290 baht; double air-con private bedroom, 450 baht. 260+ baht.
  • Muang Tong Hotel, 1459/7-8-9 Jamrernvitee Rd. Well visible, newish looking hotel but inside the air smells of stale cigarettes. Very popular with Thais. Double air-con rooms for 350-400 baht (warm water, Thai TV, desk); fan rooms 250-300 baht. Free Wi-Fi in rooms. Most uncomfortable pillows known to man, hard beds. Lots of street eateries and shopping options just outside. 350+ baht.
  • Nakhon Hotel, 1477/5 Yommarat Rd, +66 75 356318. A cheaper version of the Bua Long. The rooms are large need decorating and the bathrooms are in dire need of a makeover, but at least the beds are comfortable. Rooms are clean and windows have mosquito nets. 5 min walk to train station. The staff speak a little English. 42 rooms. Double fan private bath, 200 baht; double air-con private bath, 350 baht. 200+ baht.
  • Phech Phai Lin, 1835/38-39 Yommarat Rd (Near the train station), +66 75 341896. The polite staff are the biggest asset here. Unfortunately, the rooms look more like a YMCA sans the Village People than a hotel and the appearance makes the hotel look run down. 78 rooms. Double air-con private bedroom, 360 baht. 360+ baht.
  • Siam Hotel, 1403/17 Chamroenwithi Rd (Near the train station & night market), +66 75 356090. The price for a single with fan is more expensive than other hotels. However, the price for an air-con room is very affordable. The bathrooms could use an upgrade. 60 rooms, Single fan private bath 200 baht; double air-con private bath, 300 baht. 200+ baht.
  • Silver Mansion (Light green 6-storey building on an alley off Jamroenwitee Rd, a stone's throw south of Muang Tong Hotel), +66 75 342888. Not signposted in English, also no English spoken at reception. Spartan rooms, but reasonably clean (have a cockroach problem though). Double air-con rooms 270 baht (cold water, Thai TV, no fridge, curiously no sink); fan rooms 220 baht. Wi-Fi available at lobby area. Lots of cheap food stalls on Jamroenwitee Rd in front. 220+ baht.
  • Thai Hotel, 1375 Ratchadamnoen Rd, +66 75 341509. Central, large clean rooms. Free Wi-Fi in rooms. Has a cafe that serves fresh coffee and a bar that stays open late. The night market is two blocks away. Looks like a more expensive hotel, but rooms are from 320 baht. 320+ baht.
  • 1 Blue Hip Apartment Nakhon Sri, 2/271 Pattanakarn-Khukhwang Rd., Tambon Nai Mueang, Mueang Nakhon Si Thammarat District, Nakhon Si Thammarat 80000, +66 971106486, e-mail: . Apartment for rent near Home Pro Nakhon Sri Thammarat, 28 sqm. room with fully furnish 400 - 500 baht.
  • 2 V.House Nakhon, 1209/30 Yomaraj Rd, +66 75 314777, e-mail: . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. V.House Nakhon is fully furnished and many even provide such as internet access – wireless (complimentary), air conditioning, telephone, television, satellite/cable TV. 320-400 baht.

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Nakhon Si Thammarat
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