Trip to Nakhon Sawan for the Chinese New Year Festival

The biggest celebration in Thailand for the Chinese New Year period can be found in Pak Nam Pho in Nakhon Sawan. The event goes on for more than a week with the highlight being the two big parades through the city. The following photos and captions were tweeted live during the four day trip.

Trip date: 16-19 February 2018

DAY ONE: Setting off on a 4-day road trip to Nakhon Sawan, about 260km north of Bangkok. This is going to be my longest trip in my new car. Today will be mainly driving with 3 or 4 stops along the way. I expect to arrive about early evening. No hotel booked yet.

Wat Pikul Thong in Tha Chang district of Singburi has a large seated Buddha about 40 meters high. This temple was also home to the respected monk Luang Phor Pae. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/iUo2pgJ8gB92

Drone photos of Wat Pikul Thong in Tha Chang district of Singburi.

Temples in #Thailand are going all high tech. They now accept e-donations by using QR-Code with your smartphone

The most famous tourist attraction in Chai Nat province is the Chainat Bird Park. However, it looks like the place has seen better days. Hardly saw any birds too. Entrance fee is 100B/50B for foreigners and 30B/15B for Thais. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/15tYqUuoras

There’s a free aquarium and an egg museum in Chainat Bird Park. The highlight for me was the air-conditioning. The water park might be of interest to some families. Though there’s an additional fee of 30B/15B. I’m struggling to find something good to say.

I’m staying at Withithep Hotel in Nakhon Sawan. I decided to go for a more luxurious room this time with air-con. This room is 400 Baht per night. It has off street parking and is a short walk from the festival. So very convenient. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/HnBPpsdxWs62

The Chinese New Year celebrations in Nakhon Sawan are taking place in Pak Nam Pho along the Chao Phraya River. It is taking place from now until Tuesday. More info: http://www.thaitravelblogs.com/2018/01/nakhon-sawan-chinese-new-year-festival-from-9-20-february-2018/

Lantern Festival in Nakhon Sawan this weekend. Best time to take pictures is between 6:32pm and 7:01pm, the Blue Hour. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/R5MnDAdGMhq

Chinese Street Opera performance. There are about 3 or 4 stages set up along the waterfront in Nakhon Sawan. These are free to watch. No set times. You often see these temporary stages set up during Chinese festivals.

DAY TWO: Good morning from Nakhon Sawan. This is the gateway to Northern Thailand. I’m here for their famous festivities for the start of the Chinese New Year. My plan for today is a city tour.

Breakfast at Khao Moo Daeng Kota (ข้าวหมูแดงโกตา) on Matulee Rd in Nakhon Sawan. I asked for “took yang” which is red pork, crispy pork & Chinese sausage. But do you notice something unusual? Yes, the lime! Never seen that before. 40 Baht. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Vwzc17WG3zp

Wat Kiriwong is located on the Dao-wa-dung hill in Nakhon Sawan. It has a sacred golden pagoda. On a good day, there are some fine views of the city below. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/whgmusbKkS52

Drone photos of Wat Kiriwong on Dao-wa-dung hill in Nakhon Sawan. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/whgmusbKkS52

The Nakhon Sawan Tower is supposed to have some stunning views of the city. I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth paying to go up. Can you help me decide?

I decided to bite the bullet and pay to go up the observation tower in Nakhon Sawan. It’s only 20 Baht for adults and 10 Baht for children. It’s open 10am-4:30pm. Nice 360° views from the top, but obviously go up when there’s no smog!

The giant Buddha at Wat Luang Pu Tao in Nakhon Sawan. A very quiet temple with only 7 monks. The revered abbot died about 16 years ago. His body can be seen in a glass coffin. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/mef2LivGQhx

Drone photos of the giant Buddha at Wat Luang Pu Tao in Nakhon Sawan. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/mef2LivGQhx

One of the most famous noodle shops in Nakhon Sawan is Nai Tee restaurant (ร้านนายตี๋ลูกชิ้นปลากราย 3 รส) on Sawanvitee Road. I had Baa Mee Tom Yum (spicy egg noodle soup) and Tod Mun Pla (fish cakes). It was 35B and 30B. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/f5HAG2WG54M2

Chao Pho Thepharak-Chao Mae Thapthim Shrine is an important place of pilgrimage in the Pak Nam Pho area of Nakhon Sawan. It is situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/cGMpFyjPF6C2

The Chao Phraya River, which flows through Bangkok & out into the Gulf of Thailand, originates here in Nakhon Sawan in Northern Thailand. This is where the Ping River (on the left) merges with the Nan River. A cross river ferry boat costs only 10 Baht.

Photos of the Chinese New Year celebrations tonight in Pak Nam Pho community of Nakhon Sawan. The main event is along the riverfront. Lots to see and do, and of course eat.

The big parades in Nakhon Sawan are from 6pm on Sunday night and from 6am on Monday morning. I’m here for both. I’m really looking forward to it.

This evening I bumped into a group of Thai travel media on a TAT trip. They just arrived. They invited me to eat with them and so I was well fed tonight. We ate at Khao Tom Chao Phraya (ข้าวต้มเจ้าพระยา). Map: https://goo.gl/maps/PbyQ4BVbhss

DAY THREE: Good morning from Nakhon Sawan in Northern Thailand. The highlight for today will be the Chinese parade starting at around 6pm. This morning I’m heading out of the city to do some exploring.

Khao Kha Moo (pork leg on rice) for breakfast. 35 Baht. Not the best I’ve had which probably explains why the food shop was empty. The nearby Khao Moo Daeng shop I went to yesterday has a queue outside.

I found out last night that TAT now have an office in Nakhon Sawan. So I stopped there this morning to get some information. The trainees on duty were very helpful. Open daily 8:30am-4:30pm. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/r5ym8DpA7Mq

This morning I’m climbing Khao Nor to the Northwest of Nakhon Sawan. I parked my car at Wat Khao Nor in a cage to protect it from the hundreds of roaming monkeys. It will be a hard climb. Make sure you bring water. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Xy7gKBGnar32

Wow, I’m so unfit. The climb to the top of Khao Nor is really hard. Hopefully the views will be worth it.

Am I there yet?

After a hard one hour climb I finally made it to the top of Khao Nor. The 360° views are great but it would be better on a clear day when there is no smog. Maybe during the rainy season. Though I’m not sure if I will want to do that climb again!

At the top of Khao Nor there is one monkey and very little shade. He was both hungry and thirsty. So if you go, please take him something. I gave him the last of my water.

Some drone selfies on top of Khao Nor in Banphot Phisai district of Nakhon Sawan. I couldn’t fly too far or too high due to the smog. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ruNSNRXC7Uu

Ifyou want to climb Khao Nor, park your car in the big cage at Wat Khao Nor so that the monkeys don’t vandalize your car. Start of the walk has a sign in Thai near the entrance to the temple (blue dot on map). Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Xy7gKBGnar32

The City Pillar Shrine in Nakhon Sawan. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/MWFrrC9uiFC2

Waiting for the night parade to start in Nakhon Sawan.

The parade in Nakhon Sawan is the biggest event for Chinese New Year in #Thailand. There will be a second parade tomorrow morning at 6:00am.

DAY FOUR: Good morning from Nakhon Sawan in Northern Thailand. This is my fourth and last day in the province. The final parade of the Chinese New Year festival is this morning.

The morning parade in Nakhon Sawan for the Chinese New Year celebrations. This one was a lot more exciting compared to the one last night. But worth going to both.

Morning parade in Nakhon Sawan.

This morning I’m on a boat tour of Bueng Boraphet, the largest freshwater swamp and lake in central Thailand. My traveling companions are the TAT trainees that I met in the Nakhon Sawan office yesterday. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/uXmfFm1PcrC2

The boats on Bueng Boraphet can carry up to 12 people. The cost is 500 Baht per boat for a one hour tour. Longer boat tours are available. You can either wait for other people to share the cost or go by yourself.

Bueng Boraphet in Nakhon Sawan has other attractions such as a small crocodile farm. But it is not very well kept. The water is a thick green slime. Not worth visiting.

The crocodile show at Bueng Boraphet in Nakhon Sawan is 30 Baht for adults and 20 Baht for children. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/XVeSXVK45MT2

The Bueng Boraphet aquarium is shaped like a boat. It is 35.3 meters wide and 105 meters long. Not too much of interest but signs are all bilingual. Adults 49 Baht and children 19 Baht. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/cX9GEHo5nw42

Giant Buddha at Nakhon Sawan Buddhist Park (พุทธอุทยานนครสวรรค์). Map: https://goo.gl/maps/UVKp9KrApUq

The latest Unseen Thailand destination is Wat Takhro (วัดตะคร้อ) in Phaisali district of Nakhon Sawan. I will try and get some more information on this later. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/KQz1fNUnUvm

Wat Phrom Nimit (Wat Lang Khao วัดหลังเขา) is a little visited temple in Takhli District of Nakhon Sawan. The highlight is the chapel decorated with an estimated 50,000 Heineken beer bottles. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/XVjJVoapd752

The Green Bottle Temple was built about 20 years ago. Unfortunately, the monkeys, that outnumber the monks 10 to 1, have caused damage over the years. The monks are now in the process of renovating and replacing the bottles.

That’s a wrap on my four-day trip to Nakhon Sawan for the Chinese New Year festival. I hope you enjoyed my pictures and I’ve inspired you to come and visitfor yourself.

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