Phetchabun - Issan or Northern Thailand?
"I've heard that Phetchabun is dangerous," I said to the woman at the open side eatery near the highway intersection.
Looking like she wanted to giggle, she countered, "No problem in Petchaboon! Very safe now!"
That was ten years ago and more than one Thai friend had told me about the fierce people around Pechabun, especially those in the mountains.
Stories in Thailand Seem to Linger
The peaceful mountains of Khao Kor once served as a battlefield.
From 1968 to 1982 the Thai military and the Chinese Kuomintang In 1961, General Tuan Shi-wen led some 4,000 battle-weary Kuomintang troops out of Burma to a mountainous sanctuary in Mae Salong in Thailand.
In exchange for asylum, the Thai government allowed them to stay on the understanding that they would assist in policing the area against communist infiltration. battled Communist insurgents that had made the area north of Phetchabun town their stronghold. As a result, Phetchabun remains a reminder of that turbulent era.
But the Phetchabun I found that day seemed far different from the warnings. I found wide streets, reasonably priced hotels and Thailand's greatest coffee shop. I also found an Army golf course where one woman caddy claimed the caddies at the golf course were all beautiful.
The more I toured around town the better I liked Phetchabun. The food was good, the people friendly and the prices pretty friendly as well. The Burapa Hotel was my first stop. The rooms are utilitarian and comfortable. A cavernous coffee shop has Thai style singers at night.
Another hotel just down the road is Kosit Hill .. where I stayed on subsequent visits. It's a bit pricier but very elegantly spartan. The Kosit Hill has a club which may be the most comfortable in Thailand. Great furniture, comfortable, icy beer and a group playing jazzy pop music .. and not so loud that you can't hold a conversation. Highly recommended.
Behind the Burapa, a nice little shopping complex has a department store with restaurant and barber/beauty salon .. friendly service all around. Certainly worth a visit.
Attractions Around Phetchabun
Nature is probably the most prominent attraction around Phetchabun. Locally, the area is known as "little Switzerland".
Khao Kho National Park - Northwest of Phetchabun town boasts beautiful scenery and cool weather. A mountaintop army base converted to a museum has a Chedi with a holy relic. Trekking in an open zoo.
Nam Nao National Park - A large tract of virgin forest still with glass lands and stands of pine. Trekking area with abundant nature, especially the 100 species of birds.
Phu Hin Rong Kla - Between Phitsanulok and Phetchabun, often cold in the "cool season"; and misty with deciduous trees and fields of flowers.
Than Thip Waterfall is one of many in the province. White water rafting may be available at the Long Kang Rapids.
Si Thep Historical Park - South of Phetchabun town on Route 21. An ancient town that served as central point during where many architectural structures still remain to indicate its past prosperity during the 11th - 18th Buddhist centuries. It was the Dvarravati Kingdom.
More Phetchabun attractions (coming)