Covering some 105,815 square kilometers, Phitsanulok is 377
kilometers north of Bangkok. It borders Uttaradit Province
on the North, Phichit Province on the South, Loei and
Phetchabun Provinces on the East, and Kamphaeng Phet and
Sukhothai Provinces on the West. Situated on a strategic
location dividing Thailand’s Central and Northern regions,
and connecting to the Northeastern region, Phitsanulok is
undeniably an important hub and an ideal base for travelers
wishing to explore the lower North and western Northeast.
Phitsanulok, however, is not just a stopover for tourists,
but is a province with promising tourism opportunities.
Phitsanulok City spans the banks of Maenam Nan and has Maenam
Kwae Noi running through it. Therefore, it is locally known
and historically referred to as “Song Kwae City” (song means
two and kwae means a river). Most of Phitsanulok’s terrain
is flatlands, with one third of the area being mountain
ranges on the north and the east. Its unique natural
endowments including natural parks and waterfalls make a
trip to Phitsanulok worthwhile.
Apart from its exceptional natural charisma, Phitsanulok
provides visitors with an opportunity to explore notable
chapters of Thailand’s history. For example, remains of an
ancient community dating back between 2,000-4,000 years,
including old stone axes, was found here. In addition, the
old temple of Wat Chula Mani, situated 5 kilometers south of
the city, was built even before the Sukhothai Kingdom burst
Phitsanulok prospered along with the powerful Sukhothai
(1238-1378) and Ayutthaya (1350 – 1767) Kingdoms. In
particular, it played a strategic role in the Ayutthaya era
when it had become the Kingdom’s royal capital for 25 years
during the reign of King Borom Trailokanat.
Phitsanulok is also the birthplace of King Naresuan the Great
(reigned 1590-1605) – the legendary King who declared
Ayutthaya’s independence from Burma in 1584. King Naresuan
the Great is known for his victorious and honorable single
hand combat on elephant back – Yutthahatti – against a
Burmese Crown Prince. His heroic power and strong dedication
to expelling the invaders from his motherland saved the
country, and truly united the Kingdom which later was known
as Siam and currently known as Thailand.
Phitsanulok was also a strategic location for other Ayutthaya
Kings as it was a major center for military recruitment and
a training camp when Ayutthaya waged wars with Burma.