Chaiyaphum is a place where many periods of civilization have overlapped one another from the Dvaravati and Khmer periods until the Laotian or Lan Chang influence. Many archaeological remains and objects were found in many areas in the province. Later, the province appeared as a border town during the reign of King Narai the Great of the Ayutthaya period. After that, the town was abandoned and appeared once more in the Rattanakosin era as a destination where the Vientiane people led by their leader called Lae, immigrated to. Then he was designated as the first governor of Chaiyaphum.

The main problem most tourists will have is that this is not a tourist place! As a result,little English is spoken,or written on hotel/restaurant menus etc. It is a charming little city though,and everyone is friendly. You should be able to bluff your way through easily enough.

Get In

By car

Take Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin Road) from Bangkok to Saraburi. Turn right onto Highway No. 2 (Mittraphap Road) and turn left into Highway No. 201 at Sikhio District, passing Dan Khun Thot and Chatturat Districts into Chaiyaphum, being a total distance of 330 kilometres.

The other route is to take Phahonyothin Road from Bangkok, passing Saraburi. At the Phu Khae Intersection, enter Highway No. 21 to Chai Badan District. Then, take Highway No. 205, passing Thep Sathit and Chatturat Districts into Chaiyaphum province.

By bus

Buses from Bangkok to Chaiyaphum are provided daily. It takes approximately 5 ½ hours. For more information, please contact the Bangkok Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) at Tel. 0 2936 2852-66, Chaiyaphum Bus Terminal at Tel. 0 4481 1493, Air Chaiyaphum Co., Ltd. at Tel. 0 4481 1556, Nakhonchai Air Co., Ltd. at Tel. 0 4481 1739, 0 4481 2522, Chaiyaphum Chong Charoen Co., Ltd. at Tel. 0 4481 1780 or Fax. 0 4481 1760, Chaiyaphum Tour Co.,Ltd. at Tel. 0 4481 6012 or at www.transport.co.th.

Can get a bus from Khon Kaen, about 150 Km distant, either aircon or fan/windows open. Price of the latter is very cheap, but it stops everywhere along the way.

By train

From the Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong Station), there are both rapid and express trains from Bangkok to Nong Khai provided everyday getting off at Bua Yai Station. After that, passengers can connect with a bus for a further 51 kilometres to Chaiyaphum. For more information, please contact the Travel Service Centre, the State Railway of Thailand, at Tel. 1690, 0 2220 4444, 0 2220 4334, 0 2621 8701 or at www.railway.co.th.

By plane

Thai Airways International Co., Ltd. has no flights to Chaiyaphum at present. However, visitors can take a plane to Khon Khaen and connect with a bus from Khon Kaen back to Chaiyaphum, a distance of 150 kilometres. Otherwise, take a plane to Nakhon Ratchasima and continue to Chaiyaphum by bus, a distance of 119 kilometres. For more information, please contact Tel. 1566, 0 2356 1111, 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 or at www.thaiairways.com.

Get around

There are Tuktuks at the bus terminal and inside town. Prices are reasonable (ask before you climb on board!)

See

Phraya Phakdi Chumphon (Lae) Monument (อนุสาวรีย์พระยาภักดีชุมพล (แล)): The people of Chaiyaphum built the monument in 1975. It is dedicated to the first governor of Chaiyaphum called "Chaopho Phraya Lae" by the locals.

Chaopho Phraya Lae Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อพญาแล): Every year, a ceremony to pay respect to the shrine is organized during the 6th lunar month prior to Visakha Puja Day. Also, ceremonies to give propitiatory sacrifice to the spirit through a Phi Fa dance are conducted regularly.

Tat Ton National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติตาดโตน): Due to the conditions of the steep and complex mountains, with a slope in the south and a long mountain ridge from Prachin Buri, passing Khao Yai and Chaiyaphum towards Loei, this national park is, therefore, located in a dry area with quite high temperatures. However, the general forest condition is still perfect, and it consists of deciduous dipterocarp forest and dry evergreen forest. The following attractions can be found inside this national park:


    Namtok Tat Ton (น้ำตกตาดโตน) is a beautiful waterfall near the Office of the National Park with water flowing all year but it is particularly magnificent during the rainy season.

    Chaopho Tat Ton (Pu Duang) Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อตาดโตน (ปู่ด้วง): It has been told that Pu Duang had Khmer ethnicity and lived in the similar period to Chaopho Phaya Lae. He behaved as a strict lay ascetic who lived a humble life, usually meditating and strictly following the dharma. He also had the knowledge and ability to treat people with herbs. Therefore, he received respect from a large number of people.

    Namtok Tat Fa (น้ำตกตาดฟ้า): It is a stone terrace with a width of 15–20 metres, a length of 80–90 metres and a slope of approximately 30 degrees. It is similar to a natural slide board.

    Namtok Pha Iang (น้ำตกผาเอียง): It is a medium-size waterfall stemming from the Chi Long Stream. It is a cliff leaning (Iang) towards the stream making the water run to one side.

    Namtok Pha Song Chan (น้ำตกผาสองชั้น) is a waterfall in the Tat Ton National Park above Namtok Pha Iang. It is a 2-layered cliff with a height of approximately 5 metres.

    Namtok Phanit (น้ำตกผานิต) is a waterfall 1 kilometre south of Namtok Pha Iang. Its characteristic is similar to the latter.

  Wat Phra Phutthabat Phu Faet (พระพุทธบาทภูแฝด) is a small rise with the Buddha’s footprint on a stone similar to that in Saraburi.

    Wat Sa Hong (วัดสระหงษ์): This temple is situated on a stone rise. There is a natural rock in a swan - Hong or Hamsa - shape. Behind the temple’s hall is an ancient pond with a width of approximately 10 metres, filled of water all year round.

    Wat Sila At Phu Phra (วัดศิลาอาสน์ ภูพระ): Within the compound of this temple is a rock shelter whit engraved bas-relief Buddha images. It is the source of the name Phu Phra and has been respected among the locals for a long period of time.

    Prang Ku (ปรางค์กู่) is a stone sanctuary from the Khmer period with a plan characteristic of "Arogayasala" - a nursing home - constructed in the 12th to 13th century. There is an annual fair in the 5th lunar month of each year.

    Bai Sema Ban Kut Ngong (ใบเสมาบ้านกุดโง้ง): These are sandstone boundary markers in the Dvaravati style of approximately the 7th to 8th century CE which were discovered near the village. Most of them are big with a bas-relief in the front, while some were also inscribed on the back as well.

    Phu Laen Kha National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูแลนคา): The geographic condition of this area is a complex mountain range with both dense jungle and timber forest which are the watershed of streams that run into the Chi River.

    Pa Hin Ngam Chan Daeng (ป่าหินงามจันทร์แดง) is a large stone terrace with many rocks in bizarre shapes. There are distinguished and unique Chan Daeng (Dracaena Loureiri Gagnep) trees growing on a large boulder.

    Phu Khi (ภูคี) is the highest summit of the Phu Laen Kha National Park where the scenery and surroundings of Phu Yuak, Phu Taphao, the Phu Khiao Range, Kaset Sombun District and Phu Khiao District can be seen.

   Phu Kaset (ภูเกษตร) is the second highest summit after Phu Khi in this same national park. Geographically, it is cold and dry because of deforestation and shifting cultivation, leaving behind a large abandoned field on the Phu Laen Kha mountain range.

    Dok Krachiao Field in Pa Hin Ngam Thung Khlong Chang (ทุ่งดอกกระเจียวบริเวณป่าหินงามทุ่งโขลงช้าง) is a deciduous dipterocarp forest where Krachiao - curcuma - bulbs with pink and white blossoms grow on a rocky terrain together with various types of other plants. There is also a large rock similar to an elephant.



    Mo Hin Khao (มอหินขาว) is a plateau of large rocks scattered in strange and rare shapes similar to mushrooms, boats, elephants, turtles and chedis. Moreover, there are large stone columns standing in a line.

    Viewpoint of Lan Hin Rong Kla (จุดชมวิวลานหินร่องกล้า) is a large stone plateau with various deep cracks and distinguished cliffs. It is approximately 700 to 800 metres above sea level.

    Viewpoint of Pa Hin Prasat (จุดชมวิวป่าหินปราสาท) is a location of a unique large rock similar to a prasat and a nature sightseeing spot.

    Pha Phae (ผาแพ) is a stone cliff which occurred from the lifting of stone layers and the movement of ores. Therefore, the colours of the ores’ pigments are obviously different.

    Pratu Khlong (Natural Stone Archway)(ประตูโขลง(ซุ้มประตูหินธรรมชาติ)) is a large stone similar to a gate (Pratu) whereas in the surrounding area are located many stones in bizarre shapes alternated by deciduous dipterocarp forest.

    The Pha Kluaimai or Orchid Cliffs (ผากล้วยไม้) are high cliffs of many heights stretching horizontally and connected to one another. There are many kinds of rare orchids scattered on the cliffs.

    Tham Phra and Tham Kluea (ถ้ำพระและถ้ำเกลือ) are white sandstone caves created by water erosion running through the stone crevices, causing a chemical reaction over a long period of time as well as the alteration and natural change of the sandstone layers causing large holes.

    Namtok Tat Ton Noi (น้ำตกตาดโตนน้อย) is a waterfall created by the confluence of flows from small and big creeks originating from the Phu Kaset mountain range.

    Khao Khat and the Chi River (เขาขาดและแม่น้ำชี) is a natural characteristic of the mountain range created from the sinking and uplifting of the Phu Laen Kha and Phang Hoei mountain ranges, causing a pass through the mountains and creating many legends that have been passed on for a long time.

    Pha Koeng (ผาเกิ้ง) is a part of the Phu Laen Kha mountain range. The locals call it "Pha Koeng" meaning a moon cliff in the Isarn language.

    Ban Khwao (บ้านเขว้า) is famous for silk weaving. It is particularly well known for its "Mudmee" silk which is popular among those who favour Thai traditional fabrics.

    Ku Daeng (กู่แดง) is an ancient Khmer ruin. At present, the ruin is only a square base made of laterite with recessed corners and a staircase on each of its four sides. This ruin was, estimating from the pattern on its lintel, constructed in the 11th century in the period of the Baphuon art of the ancient Khmer Empire.

    Sai Thong National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติไทรทอง): It is the source of many rivers and creeks which are tributaries of the Chi River. It has deciduous dipterocarp and dry evergreen forests combined with a mixed deciduous forest.

    Namtok Sai Thong (น้ำตกไทรทอง): At the front of the waterfall is a large basin for swimmers called Wang Sai. Also, above the waterfall is a deep body of water called Wang Ngueak whose water runs along the crooked and steep stone plateau towards Namtok Sai Thong for a distance of 150 metres.

    Namtok Chuan Chom (น้ำตกชวนชม): This waterfall is along a nature study route of 2 kilometres above Namtok Sai Thong. The 20 metre high waterfall is surrounded by abundant trees.

    Thung Bua Sawan or Thung Dok Krachiao (ทุ่งบัวสวรรค์ หรือทุ่งดอกกระเจียว): From the end of June to mid-August, curcuma or Krachiao blossoms will bloom in this field in both pink and white colours.

    Pha Pho Mueang (ผาพ่อเมือง) is a cliff along the west side of the Phang Hoei mountain ridge along the route leading upward to the Bua Sawan Field, a total distance of approximately 3 kilometres and 700 to 908 metres above sea level.

    Pha Ham Hot View Spot (จุดชมทิวทัศน์ผาหำหด) is the summit of the Phang Hoei mountain range, 864 metres above sea level. It is cold throughout the year.

    Tham Kaeo (ถ้ำแก้ว): The cave is similar to a hall, located deep inside the mountain and chilly and humid throughout the year. From the entrance, there is a path leading to a lower level where a Buddha image is enshrined.

    Khao Phang Hoei Viewpoint (จุดชมทิวทัศน์เขาพังเหย): It is a rest area and sightseeing spot for motorists. Along the road lie various shops offering local products. The panoramic view of the sunset from this point is admirable.

    Bueng Waeng (บึงแวง) is a swamp in front of Khon Sawan District Office, covering an area of approximately 350 rai with a path around the swamp. At dusk, teal -a species of duck - usually fly as a flock covering the sky, creating a splendid contrast of colours between the flock and the beams of the sunset.

    The Grand Buddha Image of the Dvaravati Period (พระพุทธรูปใหญ่สมัยทวารวดี): It is a laterite Buddha image in a standing posture, representing Dvaravati art.

    Ban Khae Topiary Centre (ศูนย์รวมไม้ดัดบ้านแข้) is on Highway No. 201, 76 kilometres from the centre of Chaiyaphum or 1 kilometre prior to Phu Khaio District.

    Phrathat Nong Sam Muen (พระธาตุหนองสามหมื่น) is a beautiful and perfect chedi with recessed corners, located on a square base with a height of 45.30 metres and stairs on its 4 sides.

    Non Salao Khit Cloth Weaving Village (แหล่งทอผ้าขิตบ้านโนนเสลา): It is the biggest source of Khit cloth weaving in Chaiyaphum. The locals of Non Salao have passed on the process of Khit weaving from their ancestors. Nearly every house makes their own hand-made fabric.

Pa Hin Ngam National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติป่าหินงาม) There are many kinds of wild flowers in the same species of Dusita, En A, and orchids, as well as, various species of wildlife, comprising more than 56 kinds of birds, 21 types of mammals, and 10 categories of reptiles. Destinations within the national park are as follows:


    Lan Hin Ngam (ลานหินงาม) It was caused by the erosion of the soil and rocks into different shapes, which can be imagined as many kinds of objects and animals such as nails, radar, hens, etc.



    Dok Krachiao or Bua Sawan Field (ทุ่งดอกกระเจียว หรือ ทุ่งบัวสวรรค์) Krachiao – a kind of curcuma - is an annual plant in the same species as ginger-galingale, scattered generally from Lan Hin Ngam to the Sut Phaendin viewpoint.


    Sut Phaendin (สุดแผ่นดิน) is a steep cliff and the highest point of the Phang Hoei mountain range, 2 kilometres from the Office of the National Park and 846 metres above sea level. It is the cliff connecting between the Central and Northeastern regions.

    Namtok Thep Phana (น้ำตกเทพพนา) is a medium-size waterfall originating from Huai Krachon flowing from the Phang Hoei mountain range. It can be divided into 3 different tiers. There is water only during the rainy season.

    Namtok Thep Prathan (น้ำตกเทพประทาน) is situated in Ban Rai Sub-district, 7 kilometres from the Office of the National Park. It is a medium-size waterfall but quite flat. There are different low tiers of large rock terraces and a steep highland with a large amount of water during the rainy season.

    Phra Phutthabat Khao Yai Hom (พระพุทธบาทเขายายหอม): It is a red Buddha’s left footprint, stamped onto the rock terrace with a width of 75 centimetres, length of 180 centimetres, and depth of 45 centimetres, surrounded by 3 holy ponds.

Festival

The Chaopho Phraya Lae Festival (งานฉลองอนุสาวรีย์เจ้าพ่อพระยาแล) is held from the 12 until 20 January each year in front of Chaiyaphum City Hall and the Chaopho Phraya Lae Monument Intersection.

The Chaopho Phraya Lae Worship Ceremony (งานประเพณีบวงสรวงเจ้าพ่อพญาแล) is held at the Nong Pla Thao Shrine on the first Monday of May every year (It lasts for 3 days and 3 nights). The locals will pay respect to Chaopho Phraya Lae’s spirit and perform traditional dances in front of the old shrine. There is a contest of local food, folk sports competition and a "Bai Si" procession contest.

The Candle Festival (งานแห่เทียนพรรษา) is a festival organised by the Chaiyaphum Municipal Office on the full moon day of the 8th lunar month (around July). There is a candle contest. This event is widely popular and similar to the candle procession of Ubon Ratchathani.

The Ram Phi Fa Tradition (ประเพณีรำผีฟ้า) is a ceremony worshipping certain sacred objects and the "Phrachao Ong Tue", a Buddha image engraved out of sandstone with a height of 2 metres. The locals consider this Buddha image as very holy. Many people will participate in this ceremonial dance. The ceremony is organised twice a year on the 13th to 15th day during the waxing moon of the 5th lunar month (in April) and the first day during the waning moon of the 3rd lunar month within the area of Khao Phu Phra, Ban Na Kai Sao and Na Siao Sub-district in Mueang District.

The Bun Duean Si Festival (งานบุญเดือนสี่) is a festival of the people of Khon San, comprising merit-making on the dark moon day of the 4th lunar month (Duean Si) and a "Saba" competition on the 1st to 3rd day of the waxing moon during the 5th lunar month (around March). The Saba competition is challenged for the winner prize creating amusement within the compound of Wat Chedi, Khon San District. It is the only Saba competition performed in Northeastern Thailand.

The Dok Krachiao Blossom Festival (งานวันดอกกระเจียวบาน) is held at the end of June to July at Pa Hin Ngam National Park, Thep Sathit District. It is during the rainy season when the blossoms of the wild Krachiao flowers - in a purplish pink colour - are widely found in the area. Therefore, this area is known as Dok Krachiao Field. During the festival, there is a nature tour around the national park and local performances.