Introducing Phetchaburi (Phetburi)
An easy escape from Bangkok, Phetchaburi should be on every cultural traveller’s itinerary. It has temples and palaces like Ayuthaya, outlying jungles and cave shrines like Kanchanaburi and access to the coast (unlike either of the two). The town offers a delightful slice of provincial life with busy markets, old teak shophouses and visiting groups of Thai students who work up the courage to say ‘hello’ to the few foreigners in town.
Historically Phetchaburi is a visible timeline of kingdoms that have migrated across Southeast Asia. During the 11th century, the Khmer empire settled in, though their control was relatively short-lived. As Khmer power diminished, Phetchaburi became a strategic royal fort during the Thai-based Sukhothai and Ayuthaya kingdoms. During the stability of the Ayuthaya kingdom, the upper peninsula flourished and Phetchaburi thrived as a 17th-century trading post between Burma and Ayuthaya. The town is often referred to as a ‘Living Ayuthaya’, since the equivalent of the many relics that were destroyed in the former kingdom’s capital are still intact here.