An easy escape from Bangkok, Phetchaburi (เพชรบุรี) should be on every cultural traveler’s itinerary. It has temples, palaces and cave shrines, but best of all, Phetburi, as it's usually called, remains an untouched and largely untouristed provincial town, complete with riverside markets and old teak shophouses. It's a great place for random wandering and makes a convenient stop on your way to the beach.

Phetchaburi is a visible timeline of kingdoms that have migrated across Southeast Asia. During the 11th century, the Khmer empire settled in, although their control was relatively short-lived. As Khmer power diminished, Phetchaburi became a strategic royal fort during the Thai-based Sukhothai and Ayuthaya kingdoms, and in the 17th century, it flourished as a trading post between Myanmar (Burma) and Ayuthaya. Though the great temples of the former capital were destroyed, the town is often referred to as a ‘Living Ayuthaya’ because the smaller but similar ones live on.

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Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Phetchaburi.


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