Nakhon Si Thammarat Province
||This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (May 2015)|
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2015)|
|Nakhon Si Thammarat
Phra Boromathat Chedi or Phra That Nakhon
Map of Thailand highlighting Nakhon Si Thammarat Province
|Capital||Nakhon Si Thammarat|
|• Governor||Mr Peerasak Hinmuangkao (since Oct 2014)|
|• Total||9,942.5 km2 (3,838.8 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 18th|
|• Rank||Ranked 8th|
|• Density||160/km2 (400/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||Ranked 26th|
|Time zone||ICT (UTC+7)|
|ISO 3166 code||TH-80|
Nakhon Si Thammarat (often shortened to Nakhon, Thai: นครศรีธรรมราช) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand, at the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from south clockwise) Songkhla, Phatthalung, Trang, Krabi, and Surat Thani.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Climate
- 3 History
- 4 Symbols
- 5 Administrative divisions
- 6 Education
- 6.1 Universities
- 6.2 Vocational colleges
- 6.3 Schools
- 6.3.1 Secondary schools
- 6.3.2 Primary schools
- 6.3.3 Demonstration schools
- 6.3.4 International schools
- 6.3.5 Special schools
- 6.3.6 Private schools
- 7 Public health
- 8 Tourism
- 9 Culture
- 10 Twin Towns and Sister Cities
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The province is on the Gulf of Thailand on the east side of the Malay Peninsula. The terrain is mostly rugged hill forest. The province is home to south Thailand's highest peak, Khao Luang, at 1,780 metres (5,800 ft), now protected in Khao Luang National Park.
|Climate data for Nakhon Si Thammarat (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.4
|Average low °C (°F)||22.1
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||145.4
|Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm)||13||6||4||8||17||13||14||14||17||21||22||20||169|
|Average relative humidity (%)||84||81||80||80||81||79||79||78||82||85||87||86||81.8|
|Source: Thai Meteorological Department (Normal 1981-2010), (Avg. rainy days 1961-1990)|
The Ramkhamhaeng stele lists it among the areas within the realm of Sukhothai. After the fall of Sukhothai it fell to its successor, the Ayutthaya kingdom and was one of the tributary kingdoms or 1st class provinces.
With the thesaphiban administrative reforms the kingdom was more closely integrated into the Thai state and formed the Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat. With the abolition of the monthon system in 1932, the province covering only the central parts of the former kingdom became the top-level administrative subdivision of Thailand.
The provincial seal shows the Phra Baromathat chedi of Wat Phra Mahathat Voramahavihan, one of the most important historical sites in southern Thailand. According to the city chronicle it was already built in 311, but archaeology dates it to the 13th century. The chedi is surrounded by the animals of the Chinese zodiac in the seal. The twelve animals represent the twelve Naksat cities or city-states which were tributary to the Nakhon Si Thammarat kingdom: the Rat of Saiburi; the Ox of Pattani; the Tiger of Kelantan; the Rabbit of Pahang (actually a city in Pahang which is said to be submerged by a lake now); the Dragon of Kedah; the Snake of Phatthalung; the Horse of Trang; the Goat of Chumphon; the Monkey of Bantaysamer (might be Chaiya, or a town in Krabi Province); the Rooster of Sa-ulau (unidentified city, might be Songkhla, Kanchanadit or Pla Tha); the Dog of Takua Pa and a Pig of Kraburi.
The provincial slogan is เมืองประวัติศาสตร์ พระธาตุทองคำ ชื่นฉ่ำธรรมชาติ แร่ธาตุอุดม เครื่องถมสามกษัตริย์ มากวัดมากศิลป์ ครบสิ้นกุ้งปู, which translates to A historical town, the golden Phra That, plentiful minerals, three-metal nielloware, numerous temples, abundant shellfish.
- Walailak University
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University
- Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya
- College of Industrial Technology and Management
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Saiyai Campus
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Thungyai Campus
- Thaksin University
- Management for Development College, Nakhon Si Thammarat Education Center
- Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Nakhon Si Thammarat Campus
- Mahamakut Buddhist University, Sithammasokkarat Campus
- Ramkhamhaeng University, Nakhon Si Thammarat Regional Campus in Honour of His Majesty the King
- Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Nakhon Si Thammarat Regional Distance Education Center
- Boromarajonani College of Nursing Nakhon Si Thammarat
Public vocational colleges
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Technical College
- Thung Song Technical College
- Sichon Technical College
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Seaboard Industrial College
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Polytechnic College
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Vocational College
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Arts and Crafts College
- Nakhon Si Thammarat College of Agriculture and Technology
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Industrial and Community Education College
- Hua Sai Industrial and Community Education College
- Phrom Khiri Industrial and Community Education College
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Colleges of Dramatic Arts
- Nakhon Si Thammarat College of Fine Arts
Private vocational colleges
- Jaruspichakorn College of Technology
- Charoenmit Commercial Technological college
- Thurakitbundit Technology College
- Satapat Technological College
- Southern Technological College
- Thaksin Vocational Technological College
- Foreign Language Industrial and Commercial Vocational College
- Nakhonpanichyakarn Vocational College
- Pakphanang Vocational College
- Virasinpin Vocational College
- Sichon Technology Commercial College
- Thungsong Commercial College
- Nakhon Vocational School
- Saksinpin Commercial School
- Benjamarachutit School
- Kanlayaneesithammarat School
- Yothinbamrung School
- Muangnakhonsithammarat School
- Princess Chulabhorn's College Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Srinagarindra the Princess Mother School Nakhon Si Thammarat
- Triam Udom Suksa School of the South
- Suankularb Wittayalai Nakhon Si Thammarat School
- Phromkiripittayakom School
- Thung Song School
- Satri Thungsong School
- Thungsong Wittaya School
- Pakphanang School
- Satri Pakphanang School
- Thasalaprasitsuksa School
- Chawang Ratchadapisek School
- Thungyai Wittayakom School
- Chianyai School
- Cha-uat School
- Chauat Wittayakan School
- Bangkhan Wittaya School
- Ronphiboonkiatwasuntharaphiwat School
- Huasaibumrungrat School
- Sichonkunatanvittaya School
- Sichonprachasan School
Nakhon Si Thammarat Primary Education Service Area Office 1
Nakhon Si Thammarat Primary Education Service Area Office 2
- Sangwanvit 7 School
- Chulaporn Pitchayakan School
- Maharat 3 School
- Wat Tayang School
- Wat Jandee School
Nakhon Si Thammarat Primary Education Service Area Office 3
Nakhon Si Thammarat Primary Education Service Area Office 4
- Petcharik Demonstration School
- Demonstration School of Walailak University
- The Laboratory School of Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University
- Southern College of Technology Demonstration School (Tantiwat)
- Thaksin Buddhism College Education Demonstration School
- Rajaprajanugroh 19 School
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Panyanukul School (Special School)
- Sot Suksa Changwat Nakhon Si Thammarat School (Deaf School)
- Sithammarat Suksa School
- Jaruspichakorn School
- Maripitaksuksa School
- Darunsuksa School
- Kanjana Suksa School
- Kanjanasuksa Pattanakan School
Ministry of Public Health
- Chawang Crown Prince Hospital
- Tha Sala Hospital
- Thung Yai Hospital
- Pak Phanang Hospital
- Cha-uat Hospital
- Hua Sai Hospital
- Na Bon Hospital
- Lan Saka Hospital
- Khanom Hospital
- Chulabhorn Hospital
- Chian Yai Hospital
- Bang Khan Hospital
- Phrom Khiri Hospital
- Phipun Hospital
- Ron Phibun Hospital
- Tham Phannara Hospital
- Health Promotion Hospital, 11th Regional Health Promotion Center
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Defence
Thai Red Cross Society
Nakhon Si Thammarat City Municipality
- Nakharin Hospital
- Nakhonpat Hospital
- Nakhon Christian Hospital
- Ruamphat Thungsong Hospital
- Thonburi Thungsong Hospital
Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan (วัดพระมหาธาตุวรมหาวิหาร) A royal temple. Inside the temple are many buildings of importance, especially the royal building which has architecture from the Ayutthaya period and the Sam Chom building where the Buddha image, attired in royal wardrobe Phra Si Thamma Sokarat, is housed.
Phra Phutthaishing (พระพุทธสิหิงค์) This sacred image was believed to have been ordered by the King of Lanka in 157 CE and was brought to Thailand during the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great. The hall housing the image was originally the Buddha image hall of the palace of Chao Phraya Nakhon (Noi).
Ho Phra Isuan (หอพระอิศวร) is a historical site of the Brahman religion. It has on display the Shiva Linga which is the symbol of Shiva, the Brahman god. There are also several bronze images such as the Siwa Nattarat image, Phra Uma, and Phra Phikkhanet.
Ho Phra Narai (หอพระนารายณ์) is a Brahman place of worship opposite Ho Phra Isuan. A gray sandstone image of the god Narai wearing a hat and holding a conch in the right hand was discovered in the hall.
Phra Wihan Sung (พระวิหารสูง) The building houses plaster images with a fat clay core. The images are either from the 23rd-24th Buddhist century or from the late-Ayutthaya period.
The Thai-style monks' residence of Wat Wang Tawan Tok (กุฏิทรงไทยวัดวังตะวันตก) The three houses have a pointed roof connected to the other and there are exquisite Nakhon Si Thammarat designs on the walls, doors, windows, and vents. The Siam Architects Society named these houses the best conservation effort in the area of historical sites and temples in 1992.
Wat Chai Na Meditation Centre (สำนักวิปัสสนากรรมฐานวัดชายนา) Meditation courses are held for Thais and foreigners. The famous monk Phutthathat Bhikkhu established the centre as a branch of his monastery in Surat Thani.
Chinese buildings at Wat Pradu and Wat Chaeng (เก๋งจีนวัดประดู่และวัดแจ้ง) Built in the early Rattanakosin period, they house the ashes of Phraya Nakhon and believed to also have the ashes of King Taksin the Great.
Chedi Yak (เจดีย์ยักษ์) is the province’s second-tallest pagoda after Phra Borom That pagoda. It is said that the pagoda was built by Khotkhiri, a wealthy Mon, and his employees when they took refuge in the city in 1003.
Residence of Ok Ya Sena Phimuk (Yamada Nagamasa) (จวนออกญาเสนาภิมุข – ยามาดา นางามาซา) who was a Japanese volunteer soldier living in the Ayutthaya period during the reign of King Songtham. He was rewarded for his many contributions to the palace by being appointed Ok Ya Sena Phimuk and as the lord of Nakhon Si Thammarat in 1629.
City wall (กำแพงเมือง) The wall runs parallel with the city moat from Chai Nuea Gate or Chai Sak Gate to the east for 100 metres.
Nakhon Si Thammarat National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ นครศรีธรรมราช) The museum has on display artifacts found in four southern provinces, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Surat Thani, and Chumphon. There is a good collection of rare books and important books sent by the National Library in Bangkok for locals to study.
Wirathai Monument (อนุสาวรีย์วีรไทย) is made of blackened copper. The locals call this monument Cha Dam or Chao Pho Dam. It was erected to honor Thai soldiers in southern Thailand who died fighting the invading Japanese in World War II on 8 December 1941.
Arts and Culture Centre of Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat Institute (สำนักศิลปและวัฒนธรรม สถาบันราชภัฏนครศรีธรรมราช) It is the centre of information on archaeological sites discovered in the province. The most important artifacts here are the stone inscriptions found at Khao Chong Khoi and artifacts from the ancient community at Wat Mok Lan.
Somdet Phra Sri Nakharin 84 Park (สวนสมเด็จพระศรีนครินทร์ 84) Originally part of Ratcharudi Park in the time of King Rama V, the park has an open zoo, a bird park, a health park, and a lake which is home to waterfowl that migrate here during January to March every year.
Bang Pu (บางปู) This is where quality pottery is made. Only bricks and flowerpots used to be made here but villagers from Ban Mok Lan have now set up stores selling their handicrafts in this area.
Khao Luang National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาหลวง) The park has a winding mountain range, with the Khao Luang peak the highest of the peaks in southern Thailand at 1,835 metres elevation. It is the watershed of more than 15 streams and rivers.
Karom waterfall (น้ำตกกะโรม) The waterfall originates in the Nakhon Si Thammarat mountain range and cascades down 19 levels with names like Nan Phung, Nan Nam Ruang, Nan Dat Fa, and Nan Soi Dao (the highest level at 1,300-1,400 metres). Kings and royal family members have visited this waterfall as evidenced by the initials of King Rama V and King Rama VI carved there.
Ban Khiri Wong (บ้านคีรีวง) is an ancient community which settled at the foot of Khao Luang in Tambon Kamlon, a path up the mountain. The main occupation is growing mixed fruits, such as mangosteen, rambutan, durian, and sato.
'Khao Luang peak (ยอดเขาหลวง) Ban Khiri Wong-Khao Luang nature trail.
Mueang Nakhon Reception House (เรือนรับรองเมืองนคร) was built to receive the king and H.R.H. Crown Princess Maha Chakri when they visited the city. It is in an old fruit orchard of the Thongsamak family which built the house for the royal family on behalf of the city's people.
Wat Khao Khun Phanom and the Khao Khun Phanom Scientific Study Centre (วัดเขาขุนพนมและศูนย์วิทยาศาสตร์เพื่อการศึกษาเขาขุนพนม) Wat Khao Khun Phanom is a temple of historical and archaeological importance. The temple has a cave lined with brick and marked with heart-shaped stones marking the limits of the temple similar to those along the city wall.
Namtok Phrom Lok (น้ำตกพรหมโลก) This is a large waterfall with wide and rock platforms. The source is in Nakhon Si Thammarat mountain range and flows down four levels, which are Nan Bo Nam Won, Nan Wang Mai Pak, Nan Wang Hua Bua, and Nan Wang Ai Le.
Namtok Ai Khiao (น้ำตกอ้ายเขียวหรือน้ำตกในเขียว) The source is also from Khao Luang. The surrounding area is still a dense jungle. The locals call the betel Phlu Pak Sai because of its hot flavor and sweet scent.
Namtok Krung Ching (น้ำตกกรุงชิง) in Tambon Krung Ching, the waterfall derived its name from Ton Ching which is a kind of palm prevalent in the area. The most scenic level is Nan Fon Saen Ha where water drops off a sheer cliff 100 metres high, splashing down creating a mist covering the area like rain unlike other falls.
Tham Hong (ถ้ำหงส์) is a medium-sized cave with a stream running through its centre before going subterranean to another stream outside. The most distinctive characteristic of the cave is a waterfall that drops three levels.
Namtok Yot Lueang or Namtok Mueang Mai (น้ำตกยอดเหลืองหรือน้ำตกเมืองใหม่) This medium-sized waterfall has four levels, which are Nan Toei, Nan Kradot, Nan Ya Kha, and Nan Plio.
Namtok Tha Phae (น้ำตกท่าแพ) This ten-level waterfall has three levels which are accessible to the public; Nan Phae Noi, Nan Nang Khruan, and Nan Toei.
Namtok Suan Ai (น้ำตกสวนอาย) Waterfall in Mu 5, Tambon Khlong La-ai, Amphoe Chawang.
Waterfall Suan Khan (น้ำตกสวนขัน) Three levels of the waterfall can be accessed.
Wat Tham Thong Phannara (วัดถ้ำทองพรรณรา) It became tradition that on the first full-moon night of the 11th lunar month (October) people would pay homage to the reclining image and the images representing the nuns called Phra Pring and Phra Prang.
Walailak University (มหาวิทยาลัยวลัยลักษณ์) This state university is one of the newest and most complete in the country, incorporating a university city and an education park.
Khao Nan National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขานัน) The main topography is a high mountain range extending from Khao Luang National Park. The main peaks are Khao Nan Yai, Khao Nom, and Sunyen. The park itself is a watershed of many waterways. The park's main attraction is Sunantha.
Ban Nai Thung Handicrafts (หัตถกรรมบ้านในถุ้ง) is a Muslim Thai village near the sea. Aside from fishing, villagers make colored cloth kites in the shape of birds as well as birdcages.
Wat Mokhlan Archaeological Site (วัดโมคลาน) Items that can be seen here include traces of stone pillars, carvings around doorways, religious stones, an ancient pond, and statue bases. The Fine Arts Department declared this area an archaeological site in 1975.
Pottery Village (หมู่บ้านปั้นหม้อ) The village still adheres to the old technique of making pottery by hand. The pots made here are large and thick and have little design.
Hat Sichon (หาดสิชล) or Hua Hin Sichon to locals, is a well-known destination of the district. Rocks line the beach all the way to a curved sandy stretch where people can swim.
Hin Ngam Beach (หาดหินงาม) has a unique characteristic in that it is littered with round rocks of various striking colors.
Kho Khao Beach (Piti Beach) (หาดคอเขาหรือหาดปิติ) is a popular beach that connects to Hin Ngam Beach.
Si Khit Waterfall (น้ำตกสี่ขีด) This small waterfall originates in the mountains to the west and flows down several levels amidst natural surroundings.
Khao Kha (แหล่งโบราณคดีเขาคา) is a sacred religious place of the Saiwanikai sect which worships Shiva as its highest god. Many artifacts used in rites have been found here including phallic symbols, holy water pipes, ruins, and an ancient pond.
Hat Khanom - Mu Ko Thale Tai National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติหาดขนอม-หมู่เกาะทะเลใต้) The park incorporates islands, mountains and coastal areas of Amphoe Khanom and some parts of Surat Thani.
Ao Khanom (อ่าวขนอม) is the largest bay in Khanom. Khanom beach is a long beach that connects to other beaches, as follows:
- Hat Nai Phlao (หาดในเพลา) is Khanom's largest. The overall scenery is one that features a clean, white beach.
- Hat Na Dan (หาดหน้าด่าน) is a long, palm-fringed white beach.
- Hat Nai Praet (หาดในแปร็ด) is a long curved beach. This beach is between Hat Na Dan and Hat Nai Phlao and is rocky in some areas.
- Ao Thong Yi (อ่าวท้องหยี) Ao Thong Yi is encompassed by Khao Phlao and Khao Klang, making it peaceful and removed from the outside world.
Tham Khao Wang Thong (ถ้ำเขาวังทอง) The cave has many large and small chambers, each with stalagmites and stalactites of odd sizes and shapes, like pagodas, dinosaurs, custard apples, and fried eggs.
Khao Phlai Dam (เขาพลายดำ) is a seaside mountain which borders Khanom and Sichon. The Khao Phlai Dam Wildlife Development and Conservation Office are here in Tambon Thung Sai.
Wat Kradangnga (วัดกระดังงา) is an ancient temple of Khanom that was probably built during the Ayutthaya period. Inside the convocation hall are murals of Lord Buddha’s life. There is also a Buddha image from the Ayutthaya period and interesting artifacts, particularly plates and bowls.
Wat That Tharam or Wat Khao That (วัดธาตุธารามหรือวัดเขาธาตุ) The entire pagoda is made of coral in the shape of an inverted jar. The pagoda is surrounded by Buddha images of red sandstone.
Wat Chedi Luang (วัดเจดีย์หลวง) This ancient community still shows numerous traces of mounds, ponds, stones from a sanctuary, statue bases, and phallic symbols.
Wat Parian (วัดป่าเรียน) This new wat has a museum and is founded on remains of an ancient temple where Ganesha statue was found.
Museum Honouring the King for the Development of Pak Phanang Basin (พิพิธภัณฑ์เฉลิมพระเกียรติเพื่อพัฒนาพื้นที่ลุ่มน้ำปากพนัง) is a museum dedicated to the king's Project to Develop Pak Phanang Basin in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, and Songkhla.
Pak Phanang Coast and Talumphuk Cape (ชายทะเลปากพนังและแหลมตะลุมพุก) are the sites of a severe storm in Nakhon Si Thammarat in 1962. The coast of Pak Phanang is a long beach with the Talumphuk Cape to the north jutting out into the Gulf of Thailand like a crescent moon.
Ban Rang Nok (บ้านรังนก) is famous for the nests made by swallows in the town. Several houses and buildings have been closed because of the immense number of swallows inhabiting them.
Wat Nantharam (วัดนันทาราม) used to be called Wat Tai and currently houses Luang Pho Phut, a red sandstone Buddha image from the Ayutthaya period. In addition, the temple houses a giant phallic symbol found at Khao Kha archaeological site and is believed to be around 1,200 years old.
Khao Chong Khoi Stone Inscription (ศิลาจารึกเขาช่องคอย) This is the oldest Sanskrit stone inscription found in southern Thailand. It dates from the 11th-12th Buddhist century. It tells the story of people asking for shelter from Shiva and jungle spirits.
Fan Making Village (หมู่บ้านทำพัดใบกะพ้อ) The villagers here make Kapho fans for sale nationwide.
Namtok Yong National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติน้ำตกโยง) or locally known as Yong Sai Yai waterfall has a total area of 49,403.25 acres (199.9279 km2). The park includes the Yong waterfall where streams converge into one giant rope-like waterfall dropping from a high cliff to the large pool below.
Tham Talot (ถ้ำตลอด) The cave can be traversed from one exit to the other. Inside is a huge reclining Buddha image stretching the length of the cave. This sacred image is decorated with murals of Buddha's life drawn by Mr. Naep Thichinnaphong, a famous Nakhon Si Thammarat artist.
Kuan Im Goddess Image (พระโพธิสัตว์กวนอิม) is a large white plaster image. The image is in the middle of a large pond surrounded by fountains.
Namtok Khlong Chang and Trekking on Khao Men (น้ำคลองจังและเดินป่าเขาเหมน) The Khlong Chang waterfall has seven tiers and is one of southern Thailand's most beautiful.
Niello (เครื่องถมนคร) There are two types: black surface with white designs and black surface with gold designs. Nielloware of this province is popular for its durability and intricate designs by hand. The finished product is a bright, shiny black object with beautiful patterns.
Necklaces (สร้อยนะโม สร้อยเงิน สร้อยสามกษัตริย์) have long been the work of local silversmiths who can create gold, silver, and mixed (gold, silver and an alloy) necklaces.
Shadow play figures (การแกะหนังตลุง) is an art that goes with the popular southern entertainment of shadow play. Thai shadow play figures have been transformed from those found in Java so that they are now very Thai. The hands and feet of the figures are fully movable during performances. The hide used can be either cow or goat hide.
Yan Liphao basketry (จักสานย่านลิเภา) is another famous product of the south, particularly in Nakhon Si Thammarat where people have been making it for over 100 years. Yan liphao is a climbing plant that grows in damp places. The trunk is very tough and durable, so locals found a way to make good use of it by making household goods such as handbags, tobacco boxes, and utensils.
Kapho fans (พัดใบกระพ้อ) are made from a kind of palm called "ton pho" by locals. The leaves are dried and then woven into fans. Some are dyed into bright colors and sold at reasonable prices. Kapho fans are well known and sold throughout the country.
Hae Pha Khuen That Festival (ประเพณีแห่ผ้าขึ้นธาตุ) is celebrated at Phra Borom That Chedi. The pagoda is considered to be the representative of Lord Buddha and is believed by locals to possess unsurpassed might of righteousness as it contains holy relics. Every year Buddhists pay homage to the pagoda by organizing a procession bearing a religious cloth to wrap around the pagoda to bring good fortune and success. This festival is held twice a year during Makha Bucha Day (the 15th full-moon night of February) and Wisakha Bucha Day (the 15th full-moon night of May).
Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month (ประเพณีเทศกาลเดือนสิบ) is a grand event of the province and of southern Thailand. This festival is held from the 1st waning-moon night to the 15th waning-moon night every September. It is held to pay respect to deceased ancestors. According to Buddhism beliefs, the dead had many sins and were sent to hell to become a demon. The demons are allowed to come up to meet their relatives for 15 days in September, but must return to hell before sunrise of the 15th day. The living tries to appease the spirits by taking food to temples to make merit. Beginning on the 13th day, people will go shopping for food to be given. The 14th day is spent preparing and decorating the food tray, and the 15th day is the actual merit-making day. The tray presented nowadays has elaborate designs but still retains traditional components. Contests to find the most beautiful tray are held. A magnificent procession proceeds along Ratchadamnoen Road on the 14th day.
Chak Phra or Lak Phra Festival (ประเพณีชักพระหรือลากพระ) is influenced by Indian culture, which expanded into the province a long time ago. The festival signifies the joy that people had when Buddha returned from a star and was invited to sit on a throne and carried to a palace. In practice, locals bear a Buddha image holding a bowl in a procession around the city. This is a great way for escape from daily routine and it is a fun competition to find who is the most religious. Held in October, the festival is preceded by activities seven days before, such as beating drums, playing castanets, and decorating the ceremonial throne for the image. The actual ceremony is usually held only on the last day of the Buddhist Lent. People take the image from the temple in the morning and proceed to Benchama Rachuthit School in Amphoe Mueang. This is also done in front of Ron Phibun district office. In addition, there is a water-borne procession on Pak Phanang River in Pak Phanang, which coincides with an annual boat race for a trophy from the crown princess.
Cow fighting (กีฬาชนวัว) is an ancient sport of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Many details are involved in staging a contest. Cows selected will have the best breeding and will be trained and carefully looked after. The contest itself is held weekly with districts not far from the city, Mueang, Pak Phanang, Chawang, Thung Song, Hua Sai, and Ron Phibun.
Twin Towns and Sister Cities
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