Phrae Tourist Attractions
Lively and rich Phrae, center of the province of the same name and one of Thailand's oldest towns, lies approximately 550 km (342 mi.) north of Bangkok in the fertile valley of Menam Yom, one of the tributaries of Menam Chao Phraya. Since the completion of the Yom dam, agriculture has been the most important factor in the region's economy. Tobacco (dried in large, brick-built ovens), sugar cane, maize and peanuts are the main crops.The numerous temple buildings are stylistically similar to those of Lamphun, as both towns once belonged to the Haripunchai kingdom. Traces of Burmese and Laotian occupation remain.By car: from Phitsanulok Highway 11 (180 km (112 mi.)). From Lampang highways 11/101 (85 km 53 mi.)), from Nan Highway 101 (125 km (78 mi.)).By rail: nearest station Den Chai (23 km (14 mi.)).By air: daily from Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Wat Phra Non
Particularly worth seeing is Wat Phra Non at the end of Wichaira Cha Road, which was named after the figure of a standing Buddha (18th c.). The figure is inside a building next to the wiharn, whose elegant proportions and richly decorated gables also make it an attraction. The chedi dates from the 18th c.
Wat Cham Sawan and Wat Sa Bo Keo
Wat Chom Sawan, on the northern edge of the town, and Wat Sa Bo Keo, in Nam Khue Road, were both built in the Burmese style (the former at the beginning of this century). Both temples enjoy fine proportions, beautiful coffered ceilings, richly decorated altars and large, marvelously shaped chedis.
Wat Si Chum
Wat Si Chum on Kham Saen Road encompasses a large complex, which includes three shrines, a beautiful 16th c. chedi and an attractive library. The shrine on the left houses a Laotian-style statue of Buddha, the central one contains another notable Buddha statue in the Sukhothai style.
Phrae's old town wall has been almost completely reconstructed. The town's most important sights are located within the wall.
Situated on the western part of the town wall, Wat Luang's slender, Burmese-style chedi, its figure of a seated Buddha and the carving on the wiharn's beams are very beautiful.
Wat Phra Bat Ming Muang Vora Vihara
The Laotian-style bot, with its gracious pillars, and the charming library of Wat Phra Bat Ming Muang Vora Vihara in Charoen Muang Road are striking.
There are a number of attractions within a short distance of Phrae.
The beauty of the mountainous landscape can be enjoyed on a journey to the idyllically-located Yom reservoir near to Song (28 km (17 mi.) north of Phrae, Highway 101 to Rong Kwang, then 103). The reservoir supplies water to the inhabitants of the surrounding area.
A group of unusually shaped rocks in the north (Highway 101 in the direction of Nan, turn right after 9 km (6 mi.), turn off after 2.5 km (11/2 mi.), straight on for 3 km (2 mi.) are known as Muang Pi (ghost village).
Wat Phra Luang
From Phrae, turn right in the village of Sung Noen, 10 km (6 mi.) north of Phrae, to find attractive Wat Phra Luang. The 12th c. chedi resembles Lamphun's pyramidal chedis, but is not so richly articulated. Statues of Buddha fill the niches on all four sides. Beautiful sculptures adorn the unique library building, whose entrances are reached via covered steps. The octagonal bell tower is also of interest. The modern wiharn is decorated with marvelous carving.
Wat Phra That Cho Mae
Wat Phra That Cho Mae stands on a hill about 8 km (5 mi.) south of the town (Highway 1022 in the direction of the airport). It is dominated by a 34-m (112-ft) tall chedi, clad with gold-plated copper tiles, and is famed for the figure of a seated Buddha, to which mainly women make pilgrimages to ask to be blessed with children. The proportions and decorations of the recently built shrine are of interest.