Phetchaburi

This small seaport town with many wats once linked the old Thai capitals of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya with trade routes on the South China Sea and Indian Ocean. Phetchaburi is famous for khao chae, a chilled rice dish with sweetmeats once favored by royals that has become a summer tradition in posh Bangkok hotels. You can find it around the day market on Phanit Charoen Road—look for people eating at stalls from small silver bowls—along with khanom jeen thotman (noodles with curried fish cake). The city was also a royal retreat during the reigns of Rama IV and Rama V (1851–1910) and has two palaces open to the public. Phetchaburi's wats are within, or easily accessible on foot from, the town center, particularly along Matayawong, Pongsuriya, and Phrasong roads. Steer clear of the gangs of monkeys on the streets and around Khao Wang, especially with food in your hands.

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