Within the compound of the Nakorn Si Thammarat provincial administration is a small chapel containing one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand, or at least a copy of it.
The original Phra Phutthasihing, or Singh Buddha image, was commissioned by the King of (Sri) Lanka in 157 AD. More than a thousand years later, King Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai heard of the image's beauty and asked King of Nakorn Si Thammarat - then a vassal state of Sukhothai - to obtain the image from the King of Lanka. Some guidebooks relate some rather colorful stories about the arrival of the image in Nakorn Si Thammarat in the thirteenth century, but there are no local confirmations of any of these.
It is said that King Ramkhamhaeng came to Nakorn Si Thammarat himself to take possesion of the image. However, it appears that the image was copied first as there are at least three 'Singh' images in Thailand, one here in Nakorn Si Thammarat, one in Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai and one in the Phra Thinung Phutthaisawan chapel in Bangkok's National Museum. The curious thing is: all three images are different, and none of them are in second century Sri Lankan styles.
The Phra Phutthasihing chapel is in the grounds of the provincial offices right on Ratchadamnoen Road. The best way to get there is by songthaew - a small pickup with benches along either side of the bed. Each trip costs just 5 Baht.