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The classical Photharam
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The classical Photharam

 

Off most tourists’ beaten path, the quiet and easy town of Photharam houses many attractions. Stop by and you will be fascinated by simplicity of this rural hideaway.

Among peaceful countryside, Photharam keeps secret gems of Nang Yai. The Buddhist temple of Wat Khanon houses the world’s famous museum of Nang Yai or the grand shadow play. Pay a visit, and you will be amazed by a massive collection of 313 well-maintained shadow puppets.

Nang Yai is made from a whole piece of buffalo hide, delicately carved and colored to resemble characters in Ramayana ancient epic. Besides the puppet display, the museum also runs shadow plays performed by students from Wat Khanon School on Saturdays.

Photharam town itself is filled up with retro atmosphere of the 70s. Stroll around the market and you will find yourself returning to the environment of yesteryears. A number of old-fashioned shops, ranging from coffee houses, drug stores, to groceries, still operate like in the old days, regardless of changes elsewhere.

A famous local delicacy you should never miss is black tofu. With a unique texture, the black tofu is relatively denser, firmer and chewier than the white ones. It has a combination of sweet and little salty tastes like that of Palo. (Chinese herbal brown soup).

Each day, the tofu is let to be slowly simmered for six hours on a charcoal stove, until the white tofu gradually absorbs ingredients and aroma of the brown herbal Palo soup and turns totally black.

When darkness is about to fall, Photharam's sky will be dominated by millions of bats flying away forming a long black streak from their caves across the sky. At first, falcons come to prey them for dinner. Then, the stream of bat flows out. The stunning flight lasts for an hour and happens again before dawn. The bat cave at Khao Chong Pran offers the natural spectacle daily.

 

How to get there: Photharam is 58 miles west of Bangkok, via highway 4. For more information, call TAT Phetchaburi Office at 032-471-005 to 6.

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