Uthai Thani (อุทัยธานี) is a city in Lower Northern Thailand.
Uthai Thani is a province abundant in natural resources, such as forests and wildlife. Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Reserve was proclaimed a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site on 13 December 1991. The reserve has jungles, forests, plains, many streams, and most importantly, number of rare and endangered animals.
Due to the verdant nature of the area, Uthai Thani is a province with relatively unspoiled natural tourist destinations. Visitors can see varying local lifestyles, such as the lives of raft residents on Sakae Krang River, a waterway that aided the birth of the province and which has been a lifeline for its people since ancient times. It is also where provincial trading has flourished. Life revolving around the river eventually grew from a community into the major province that it is today.
The most striking indication of the bond between the people and the river since the old days is that in 1906, when King Rama V visited the northern provinces and stayed in Sakae Krang village, the monk Phra Khru Uthai Tham Nithet (Chan) built 2 twin rafts to receive the king. This clearly showed the importance of the river and the lifestyle of the people living off it in that period.
In addition, at the end of the Buddhist Lent, Buddhists from all directions congregate in the province for a major merit-making tradition called Tak Bat Thewo at the foot of Khao Sakae Krang at Wat Sangkat Rattana Khiri. This festival has been held in Uthai Thani since ancient times.
Take the bus to Khong LAN from Mo Chit bus station (Bangkok) and get off at Uthai Thani. Takes about 3 hours.
- The Tak Bat Thewo Fair (งานตักบาตรเทโว) at Wat Sangkat Rattanakhiri is the most important event and is held around October. Hundreds of monks residing within the Mueang district walk down the steps from the top of Khao Sakaekrang to accept food offerings from Buddhist devotees who gather in the ground of the temple. The fair is based on the traditional belief that the Lord Buddha on one occasion returned to earth from heaven.
- Wat Sangkat Rattana Khiri (วัดสังกัสรัตนคีรี). Inside the main hall is "Phra Phuttha Mongkhon Saksit" (พระพุทธมงคลศักดิ์สิทธิ์) or "Luang Pho Mongkhon" (หลวงพ่อมงคล), an ancient bronze Buddha image form the Sukhothai period. In one corner of the temple is a pavilion housing a statue of the father of King Rama I.
- Wat Ubosatharam (วัดอุโบสถาราม): Many historical sites and artefacts are found inside. Also of interest are the octagonal multi-tiered roof, the Bot Nam raft, the replica of Lord Buddha’s footprint from the time of King Rama IV, a silver Buddha image and gifts from King Rama V to Luang Pho Chan Wat Bot.
- Bot Nam (โบสถ์น้ำ): It was built to receive King Rama V when he visited northern provinces in 1906. Originally a twin raft, it has an elongated carved apex of the gable like normal temple main halls. Today the raft is used by raft residents for religious ceremonies.
- Rafts on Sakae Krang River (เรือนแพลำน้ำสะแกกรัง) reflect the lifestyle of Uthai Thani people that has always been linked with water. Water is used here to grow pandanus and for raising fish in floating baskets, particularly gourami.
- Wat Chantharam or Wat Tha Sung (วัดจันทารามหรือวัดท่าซุง): It is an old temple from the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The item of note in this temple is a pulpit built by Luang Pho Yai. More buildings were later added by the monk Phra Ratchaphrom Yan Nen (Luang Pho Rusi Ling Dam).
- Local History and Cultural Museum (ศูนย์วิทยาศาสตร์เทคโนโลยีและสิ่งแวดล้อม): On display are prehistoric human skeletons, clothes, regalia of city lords and a room with wooden models of Thai houses.
- Wat Thammakhosok (วัดธรรมโฆษก): This temple was used for holding rites by Uthai Thani government officials where they pledge allegiance to the king. It was also in service as an execution site. The most interesting edifices are the chapel and the main Buddha image hall.
- Wat Thap Than (วัดทัพทัน): The items of interest here is the carved door depicting an angel holding an arrow standing on a serpent and another of an angel tending deer holding a pike on a lion.
- Thalaad Kwai Thap Than is a market for water buffaloes.
- Ban Khok Mo Weaving Village (แหล่งทอผ้าพื้นเมืองบ้านโคกหม้อ) is a small village of Thai-Lao residents whose ancestors migrated here in the Rattanakosin period. Villagers take to weaving when the harvest ends. Their products are made from Sin Tin Chok Silk, Mat Mi silk and traditional-style fabrics with floral patterns.
- Bung Khok Chang Ancient City (เมืองโบราณบึงคอกช้าง) was a town surrounded by a moat and an earthen wall. A sacred pond is at the outer corner of each wall. Artefacts unearthed here include tools, utensils and a stone scripture in the Mon language.
- Prehistoric colour drawings at Khao Pla Ra (ภาพเขียนสีก่อนประวัติศาสตร์เขาปลาร้า): These coloured cave drawings stretch for around 9 metres. The prehistoric and detailed drawings are of humans and animals in red and black. They are certainly invaluable as part of the artistic heritage of the country.
- Tham Hup Pa Tat (ถ้ำหุบป่าตาด): The mountain range surrounding the valley is a limestone range. The way up to this cave is through a margosa forest. The valley has a higher humidity than it surrounds, contributing to the abundant flora.
- Tham Khao Khong Chai (ถ้ำเขาฆ้องชัย) is a cave on a limestone mountain range, with an elevation of about 353 metres. The first cave is large and stone tools and earthenware pieces were discovered here.
- Khao Phraya Phai Rua (เขาพระยาพายเรือ): The mountain is shaped like a Chinese junk and is surrounded by a natural moat. It is covered with many species of plants and there are altogether 12 caves leading underground.
- Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary (เขตรักษาพันธุ์สัตว์ป่าห้วยขาแข้ง) consists of almost every kind of forest found in Thailand. The unspoiled nature of the reserve makes it an ideal home to various rare and endangered animals. Due to these attributes, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Reserve was named by UNESCO as a Natural World Heritage Site.
- Ban Samo Thong Hot Spring (น้ำพุร้อนบ้านสมอทอง): This is a small spring with clear water, pungent with the aroma of sulphur. The spring has an area of 4,000 square metres and consists of 3 separate springs.
- Namtok Cyber (น้ำตกไซเบอร์): The waterfall is surrounded by the Huai Kha Khaeng forest. The water comes from the western mountain of the nature reserve, resulting in a medium-sized waterfall that drops down several levels before splashing on the boulders below.
- Wat Khao Wong (วัดเขาวงพรหมจรรย์) is a temple in a valley. It has a two-storey Thai-style convocation hall. The monastery is the 13th of 19 branches of Wat Sangkhathan in Nonthaburi. Other branches can be found in places such as Chiang Mai, Um Phang, the United Kingdom and India.
- Lan Sak District: Very old teak trees line this town's access roads, and the town is known for the furniture made from this wood.
- Namtok Pha Rom Yen (น้ำตกผาร่มเย็น): The highlight of this waterfall lies its uniqueness of being a limestone waterfall that falls from a cliff. It can be seen from the road nearby. This waterfall flows from a small stream four levels up.
- Ban I Mat-I Sai Hill Tribe Cultural Centre is in Sub-district Kaen Makrut. The centre has a house with a raised lower floor, a thatched roof and bamboo walls.
- Crispy Khao Kung Krop (ข้าวกุ้งกรอบ) is made from rice and shrimp mixed together and then deep-fried. Leading items in the local restaurants are mainly made with fresh-water fish caught from the river. Pomelo is also widely grown on Ko Thepho.
- Local woven materials (ผ้าทอพื้นเมือง)
- Products made from bamboo and water hyacinth (เครื่องจักสานจากไม้ไผ่และผักตบชวา)