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Things To Do In Kamphaeng Phet: A History Lover’s Dream Destination

things to do in kamphaeng phet
Melanie
Melanie
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The most well-known UNESCO heritage site in Thailand is Sukhothai. What most people may not know is that there is another one in the country, situated in Kamphaeng Phet. It may not bring in as many tourists as Sukhothai, but this could be good for those who want to avoid the crowds and take the time to enjoy not just the internationally renowned site, but also the other destinations in town.

1. Travel back to the Sukhothai era by visiting Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park

History and architecture fans will enjoy spending a day or more, in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, which houses the ruins of an entire town, dating back to the Sukhothai era. The best-known structure in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park is Wat Phra Kaeo (also known as Wat Phra Kaew), or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It was named for the Buddha image, housed here, since the early 1430s, and was considered the one that gave spiritual authority to the king. The temple is also home to two seated Buddha images, that bear unique headdresses.

Kamphaeng Phet is a destination for those who want to walk the road less traveled. If you want to find out more about the history of Thailand but do not want to go where the crowds, this might be the ideal destination for you. At the northeast portion of the temple, is a bronze figure of the Hindu god Shiva, known as Phra Isuan, to Thais. The statue itself is a replica of the one displayed at the National Museum, which, according to the inscription, is said to protect all the two and four-legged creatures of Kamphaeng Phet.

In the north of the park, is Wat Phra Non, a complex constructed between the 14th and 16th centuries and found in the middle of a forest which once served as the home of a reclining Buddha, as well as some boundary stones that depicted scenes from the epic Ramakien. These are now situated in the National Museum. Wat Phra Si Ariyabot, which was once one of the largest structures in the complex, can also be found in the northern zone. It is home to a large Buddha image, about six meters (twenty feet) tall, that faces the forest. It resembles the one in Sukhothai, although the features are somewhat flatter than the one in the other UNESCO heritage site.

Also in the northern zone is Wat Singh or the Lion Temple. The seated Buddha here is flanked by smaller images, which may depict Mogallana and Sariputta, his two chief disciples. Wat Chang Rob, found at the northwest corner of the complex, is a 31 meter (101.7 foot) chedi constructed similar to the ones found in Sri Lanka. Its base once bore 68 elephant sculptures, although visitors can still see traces of these figures when they visit.

Also worth visiting are the temples of Wat Kamphaeng Ngam and Wat Ma Phi. Make sure to drop by the National Museum, as well, which is located behind Wat Phra Kaeo and near Wat Phra That. Just beside the National Museum is Ruan Thai Museum, known for its beautiful architecture.

Try to make transportation arrangements to and from Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park so you can be sure to get a ride, as public utility vehicles are relatively rare. Alternatively, you can rent a car once you get to Kamphaeng Phet. Once you are in the park, it would be a good idea to rent a bike so you can explore more areas. The Visitors Center rents bikes for 20 THB (.50 USD) per hour.

Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park

Address: Nong Pling, Mueang Kamphaeng Phet District

Price: 100 THB (2.91 USD) each for the Old City or the Northern Zone, or 150 THB (5 USD) for both areas

Opening Hours: 8am - 5pm.

Duration: At least one day should be devoted to exploring Kamphaeng Phet Heritage Park

Access: Hotels can arrange motorbike taxi to and from the park. Alternatively, travelers can hire a motorbike to bring them to the park (a one-way ride to the park costs between 60-80 THB (1.75 – 2.30 USD)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand

2. Discover the ruins of Mueang Nakhon Chum

Mueang Nakhon Chum refers to the ruins of an ancient town, established during the Sukhothai period, in around 14 AD, along the banks of the Ping River. It is most notable for being the site where the religious tablets of Kamphaeng Phet, were discovered.

Most traces of the ancient town have already disappeared, over the years. However, it remains the home of Wat Phra Borommathat, a Burmese-style chedi. Also found within the ruins, is the Kamphaeng Pom Thung Sethi.

Mueang Nakhon Chum

Access: Mueang Nakhon Chum can be found along the Ping River

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand

3. Explore the waterfalls and the spring of Kamphaeng Phet

Khlong Lan Park is best known for the 100 meter (328 foot) high Khlong Lan waterfalls, considered to be one of the most beautiful and picturesque waterfalls in the country. The best time to visit the waterfalls is during the rainy season, as it can dry up during the dry season. The nine-level Khlong Nam Lai, Lan Thae, and Wang Lan waterfalls can also be found within the park, as well as a wide stream called Khlong Suan Mak, which traverses a cave.

Namtok Wang Chomphu is another waterfall within the vicinity. However, do note that this only flows during the rainy season.

Khlong Lan National Park

Address: Khlong Nam Lai, Khlong Lan District

Price: The entrance fee for foreigners is 200 THB (5.82 USD). There is an additional 20 THB (0.50 USD) charge if you are bringing in a motorbike

Namtok Wang Chomphu

Address: Amphoe Kosamphi

Access: It is 30 km (18.6 miles) away from Kamphaeng Phet

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand

4. See water gush from a spring

Source: Wikipedia

If you are not a fan of waterfalls, you can instead explore Sa Ta Phrom Spring. This features water, gushing from the ground, similar to a geyser, to as high as 2 meters (6.6 feet).

Sa Ta Phrom Spring

Address: Amphoe Khanu Woralaksaburi

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand

4. Visit Buddhist temples outside Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park

While Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park is home to several temples, there are also those that can be found outside the park. The most popular is Wat Phra Borommathat, which was also founded during the Sukhothai era. It has a 30-meter (98.4 foot) high, Burmese-style chedi, painted gold.

The best time to visit this temple is February, which the month of the annual Nop Phra Len Phleng Festival, which centers on the chedi.

Wat Phra Borommathat

Address: Ko Taphao, Ban Tak District

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand

5. Explore the forest within a park at Mae Wong National Park

If you still have time to spare, while in Kamphaeng Phet, you can explore Mae Wong National Park, a protected area and home to 450 species of birds, endemic to the area. Some tigers can also be found there, as well as birds, apes, and the Malayan tapir, and various other wildlife, that make Mae Wong their home.

Visitors can also trek there. First-timers need not fear, given that there are options they can choose from, from short treks to longer, more challenging ones, for the more seasoned trekkers. Camping is allowed in some spots, within the park. Alternatively, there are some rooms that can be rented, if you want to stay overnight. Make sure to bring warm clothes, though, since the high altitude means temperatures can drop to as low as 8-9 Celsius (46-48 Fahrenheit). Make sure to use insect repellant, as well.

As an aside, Khao Mo Ko Chu, one of the highest mountains in Thailand, can be found within the park.

Mae Wong National Park

Address: Dawna Range, Kamphaeng Phet

Price: The entrance fee for foreigners is 200 THB (5.82 USD)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand

6. Stroll along the Kamphaeng Phet riverfront

Once you are done exploring the historic locations of Kamphaeng Phet, you can take a relaxing walk along the riverfront. You can get a foot massage here - a great way to end a long but tiring day. Be sure to go there on or before sunset, because the view is said to be beautiful.

Kamphaeng Phet riverfront

Address: Sirijit Road, Kamphaeng Phet

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand

7. Relieve tired muscles at Phra Ruang Hot Springs

Thais flock to the Phra Ruang Hot Springs as a way to soothe their tired bodies. The mineral-rich water can be as hot as 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit), so it would be a good idea to slowly immerse yourself in the water, to avoid getting burned. Phra Ruang Hot Springs is comprised of several hot springs, which are said to have a healing effect on the body. You can choose to either submerge your feet in one of the pools, or bathe in one of the bathhouses. You can also avail of a traditional Thai massage, within the area.

Visiting Kamphaeng Phet during the summer? Don’t worry, because within the complex is a cold spring where you can cool down.

Unfortunately, there is no public transit to or from Phra Ruang Hot Springs, so make sure to make transportation arrangements before heading here, to avoid problems.

Phra Ruang Hot Springs

Address: Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand

Price: 30 THB (0.87 USD)

Access: Take the road to Sukhothai from Kamphaeng Phet, to reach the hot springs

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet (province), Thailand

Kamphaeng Phet: The Disneyland for history lovers

Kamphaeng Phet’s old-world charm has drawn in many history and culture fans, over the years. It may not draw as many crowds as Bangkok, but that only means there is more room for explorers to wander around the many attractions of this mysterious town. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Thailand, by visiting Kamphaeng Phet.

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She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling.

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