Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park.

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Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park

Top choice in Phetchaburi

This national historical park sits regally atop Khao Wang (Palace Hill), surveying the city with subdued opulence. Rama IV built the palace and dozens of surrounding structures in 1859 as a retreat from Bangkok. The hilltop location allowed the king to pursue his interest in astronomy. Parts of the palace, made in a mix of European, Thai and Chinese styles, are now a museum furnished with royal belongings.

Rolling cobblestone paths lead from the palace through the forested hill to three summits, each topped by a stupa. The 40m-tall white spire of Phra That Chom Phet skewers the sky from the central peak. You can climb up through the interior to its waist. The western peak features Wat Phra Kaew Noi (Little Wat Phra Kaew), a small building slightly resembling one from Bangkok's most important temples, and Phra Prang Daeng stupa, with a Khmer-influenced design.

There are two entrances to the site. The east, or front, entrance is across from Th Ratwithi and involves a not-too-strenuous footpath. The west entrance on the opposite side of the hill has a cable car (closed for 10 days each June for regular maintenance and a few other days during the year to change the cable) that glides up and down to the summit. At both, keep a leery eye on the troops of unpredictable monkeys. This place is a popular school-group outing and you’ll be as much of a photo op as the historic buildings.

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