Phitsanulok sits in the Upper-Central Region of Thailand and even has a small finger of land that extends to the Lao border. Much of the province is fertile land dotted with canals and rice fields, while some areas have mountains, national parks, and scenic plateaus.
Phitsanulok is a city and province in the lower North of Thailand. There is not much in the way of tourism here and most travelers use the city as a jumping off point for visiting Sukhothai to the west, or Khao Kho in Phetchabun to the east. The city is fairly large and has an airport and train station making it something of a transportation hub for the surrounding area.
- Nature lovers
- People who like to get off the beaten path
As a transportation hub, it’s quite easy to get to Phitsanulok.
By bus – Buses go regularly to and from Mochit Northern Bus Terminal in Bangkok to Phitsanulok. The journey takes 6-7 hours. There is also regular service to and from Chiang Mai.
By plane – Air Asia, Nok Air, and Thai Lion Air all serve Phitsanulok Airport (PHS) from Bangkok Don Meuang (DMK)
By train – Phitsanulok is a major station on the Northern Line with frequent service from Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Timetables can be found on the Thailand State Railway website and you can also book tickets there.
Where to stay
We find our accommodation on Booking.com by first searching for the town or province and our dates, we then filter out any rooms with a score lower than 7 or 8 (depending on availability) as well as any rooms out of our budget. After this, we open the map and hover over all of the pins in the rough location we already decided we want to stay in. Hovering over the pins gives us the price for x nights plus the review score. We click on each pin to open those hotels in a new tab, review them and book our favorite.
By motorbike – We had a car when we visited, but it looks like there is a shop that rents motorbikes in Phitsanulok right by the train station. Their website is in Thai but shows the location and phone number.
Tuk-tuk – If you come without your own transport, you’ll have to rely on tuk-tuks which should be easy to find. Just be sure to agree on a price first.
What to do
Explore the city – Phitsanulok city doesn’t really have that much to do, but there is a riverfront and a famous temple along it. Unless you are really into temples though you could easily skip this.
Flying bat spectacle – An hour southeast of the city in a beautiful and mountainous area there is an amazing scene every night as a million bats fly out of a cave in a thin ribbon that dances across the sky. Check out our guide to seeing the bats in Phitsanulok for everything you need to visit and a video of the spectacle.
Thung Salaeng Luang National Park – This park is technically in Phitsanulok, but access is from Phetchabun Province. It’s around a two-hour drive from Phitsanulok City to the entrance. You need a four wheel drive vehicle to get into the park beyond the initial area with a visitors center and small campground. At 500 Baht per person for foreigners, this is the most expensive national park we’ve seen anywhere in Thailand and one we really just can’t recommend.
Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park – Another national park with an exhorbitant 500 Baht entry fee for foreigners (again the most expensive we’ve seen anywhere). It looks like they have some interesting rock formations, but we couldn’t be bothered to go. It’s around a two-hour drive out of the city.
Khao Kho – If you do head into Phetchabun Province toward Thung Salaeng Luang National Park, you will pass through the beautiful mountainous area of Khao Kho. This is close enough to Phitsanulok to be done as a day trip, but really you should spend at least a night up here for the cool weather. If you go here, check out our guide to Khao Kho.
Phitsanulok city has a surprising number of bars and nightclubs. As we were driving in we were kind of shocked by just how many there were right along the main road. It won’t be hard to find a place.
Fitness & gym
We really liked Fitness no. 9, an airconditioned gym with everything you could need, and day passes for a great price. I can’t remember exactly what we paid but I believe it was 70 Baht or less.
From Phitsanulok you are located very centrally and can easily travel to the North, to the east to Phetchabun and then on to the Northeast, south into Central Thailand, or west to historical Sukhothai.