Phrae In North Thailand
Wat Su Thon Mongkhon
- Phrae was established by the Mon and also was part of the Haripunchai Empire. Its history goes back to the 829. Its history is similar to the other towns save and except it was the center of the teak trade and as a result in the 19th C the town had Shan teak merchants so there is a strong presence of Shan style architecture and art and colonial teak houses.
Wat Salaeng At Phrae
- Few people think of the North's northeastern provinces of Nan and Phrae as popular destinations. Long off the beaten track, and formerly made dangerous by communist insurgency, these provinces have still to be fully discovered. Yet in today's peaceful conditions, provided with an excellent and ever-expanding road network and good air services, Thailand's little-known northeast has much to offer and is more accessible than ever before.
- For most travelers to the north, Phrae is little more than a name on the map. Located 25 kilometres northeast of the small station of Denchai on the Bangkok Chiang Mai railway, and similarly well to the east of Route 1, the main highway linking Bangkok with the north, it receives relatively few visitors. For those intent on discovering some of the less well-known reaches of the ancient Lan Na Kingdom, however, the city and province are well worth a visit.
- Phrae is quite prosperous from tobacco and, until recently, from logging. The town is well-known for its beautifully manufactured rattan furniture, though this is too heavy a souvenir for most visitors to consider buying. More popular and universally recognized throughout Thailand are the province's famous seua maw hawm, the distinctive indigo-dyed farmer's shirt worn all over the country. Today, even university professors, bank managers and politicians like to sport this "symbol of solidarity" with rural Thai life.
- One of the attractions of Phrae is the unusual blending of temple architecture. Here one can find not only traditional Lan Na temples, with their sturdy, multi-tiered roofs, gracefully curved eaves, and prominent portico, but also fine examples of both Shan and Lao temple architecture. Reasons for this diversity of style are not hard to find. The Lao connection is directly attributable to the proximity of Laos and former associations with the 15th century Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang. By contrast, Burmese influence present in nearly all Phrae temples dates mainly from the mid 19th century, when the province emerged as a major logging centre, attracting labour from the nearby Shan States. Even earlier, there was a Burman enclave left behind from the Burmese occupation of the Lan Na Kingdom.
- The most interesting Shan-style temples are Wat Chom Sawan and Wat Sra Bo Keo, both of which boast fine Burmese influenced Chedis. Contrasting Lao influences can be seen at Wat Si Chum and Wat Phra Non, amongst several other Lao-style temples. In a town of temples, perhaps the best-known Buddhist place of worship is Wat Phra That Cho Hae, built on a hill eight kilometers east of the town center. Five separate flights of stairs lead up the teak covered hill. The stairs on the right are guarded by Burmese style lions, whilst those on the left are flanked by more familiar Nagas. At the top of the right hand stairway is a widely revered Buddha image, the Phra Chao Tan Chai, which is believed to have the power to grant wishes.