The Nakhon Sawan province is in the lower north of Thailand and a little closer by car (237 km) than it is by train (250 km) from Bangkok. It is home to the most important waterway in Thailand – an area where 4 rivers meet. The rivers are the Ping, Nan, Wang and Yom. They meet to make the Chao Phraya River – also known as the Mother River. Because it is the centre of transportation in the area, Nakhon Sawan is regarded as the gateway to the north. The Provinces name is derived from Nagara, which means City and Sawan, which means Heaven. Therefore the Province's name literally means Heaven City. Both words are Sanskrit.
As with the rest of Thailand, Nakhon Sawan has a great all year round climate, but the one yearly attraction has to be the Chinese New Year! Thousands of people from China and Thailand make their way to the Heaven City to experience the annual procession. Since the tradition started in 1914, the festival begins on the 4th waxing (growing day) of the first lunar month of the Chinese calendar. This is usually around the end of January or early in February on the western calendar. The festivities are celebrated with dancing animals, lots of music and the celebration of beautiful woman! Definitely a site worth seeing!
When deciding on a holiday to Nakhon Sawan, travelling to the city is relatively easy. The best way to travel is by car - the 240 kilometres between Bangkok and Nakhon Sawan starts from highway number 1. Be sure that you know where you are going as the language and signage can be confusing! It is recommended to hire a car with a driver if it is within your budget. Regular bus and train services are also available from Bangkok so be sure to get in touch with the Northern Bus Terminal or the travel service divisions when you are in Bangkok for prices and times.
There are a variety of things to do when in Nakhon Sawan. One of the most popular is a monastery known to house Buddha's footprints called Wat Chom Khiri Nak Phrot. The monastery is home to annual celebrations and is just before the Kejativong Bridge- the views of the Mother River are fantastic. There are also numerous other temples, monasteries and viewing points in and around Nakhon Sawan.
Another popular attraction is Bung Boraphet which varies from a small lake, to a large swamp, depending on the time of year. It is the main source of fresh water fish in Thailand. There is a museum and aquarium at Bung Boraphet with many species on display. You can travel to the lake by car, or by boat from behind the City Market. The boat ride takes about half an hour.
If you decide to stay in Nakhon Sawan for a length of time there is a variety of accommodation to chose from including guest houses, hotels and some hostels. All hotels are generally fully booked around the time of the Chinese New Year, so plan far ahead or ensure you have transport arrangements to a hotel in a neighboring town or City. Popular accommodations include the Pimarn Hotel (500 baht per night) and the Country Lake Nature Lodge Hotel (1400 baht per night).