There are many attractions that draw travellers to Central Thailand, and the sacred sites of Prachin Buri province are some of them.
While I was taking a nature and heritage tour of this region, we stopped by some key sites that offered an insight into the Buddhist religion and ancient Thai culture. Prachin Buri is around a 2 and a half hour drive from Bangkok and is home to the Chao Phya Abhaibhubate Hospital and Ban Dong Bang Samunphrai community. So it’s worth tying in a visit to these attractions if you want to make the most out of your visit.
Sacred sites in Prachin Buri
Ton Pho: The city of the Sacred Bodhi Tree
This giant tree, located in the Sri Mahosot district – around 20km from Amphoe Mueang – is said to be 2,000 years old. It’s one of the oldest of its kind in Thailand and is a strong symbol for the Prachin Buri region. Buddhists in Thailand believe that it originates from the original Bodhi tree that The Lord Buddha meditated beneath in Sri Lanka, 2,550 years ago. And every year, Buddhists here commemorate this sacred tree by celebrating Vishakha Puja Day – so there’s a great sense of importance placed on this site.
While it feels like you are far away from the well-trodden tracks of Thailand, the local people are used to westerners visiting. So explore the site as much as you like – just follow the usual etiquette you would for the rest of Thailand’s places of worship.
I took one of my favourite photos from the entire trip here. This lady with her ice cream looks so happy…
There’s a real sense of peace when you enter the grounds of the actual Bodhi tree and the first thing you’ll spot is the vibrant bunting reaching out from the tree and colourful shrine where many people go to worship.
Touching the tree is prohibited. But many visitors pick up leaves that have fallen from the branches, onto the ground, as they symbolise the Buddha’s enlightenment and are believed to bring luck into your life. I’m holding onto mine…
Wat Ton Pho Si Maha Pho
While you’re exploring the sacred Bodhi Tree, you will also see the ancient temple of Wat Ton Pho Si Maha Pho within the same grounds. Do some exploring and you’ll find some impressive Buddhist statues within the temple, as well as relics of the Mon Culture that dominated this area before the Khmer.
The Lord Buddha’s Foot Print
You will find The Lord Buddha’s Foot Print at Wat Sa Morakot Historical Park in Amphoe Si Mahosot, a short distance away from the sacred Bodhi Tree.
When you arrive, you’ll see a series of ruins from Buddhist sites that were built on top of each other between the 14th and 18th centuries.
It’s a very peaceful place to just walk around but the most interesting feature is of course, the Lord Buddha’s footprint. This footprint-shaped indent in one of the stones is said to have been found during the modern day excavation. It measures about 1.3 metres wide and 3.5 metres long and you’ll see the Wheel of Dharma at the middle of the sole.
There are many other sacred sites and places of historical interest in Prachin Buri and Central Thailand. We didn’t see them all, but if you really want to explore, consider visiting the Prachin Buri National Museum, the riverside Wat Bot and the Si Mahosot Ancient Town.
Until next time x