Wat Chang Rob temple in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park.

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Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park

Top choice in Northern Thailand

A Unesco World Heritage Site, the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park features the ruins of structures dating back to the 14th century, roughly the same time as the better-known kingdom of Sukhothai. Kamphaeng Phet’s Buddhist monuments continued to be built up until the Ayuthaya period, nearly 200 years later, and thus possess elements of both Sukhothai and Ayuthaya styles, resulting in a school of Buddhist art quite unlike anywhere else in Thailand.

The park consists of two distinct sections.

The majority of Kamphaeng Phet’s ruins are found in the expansive zone located about 1.5km north of the city walls. The area was previously home to aranyavasi (living in forests) monks and (in addition to Wat Phra Si Iriyabot and Wat Chang Rob) contains more than 40 other former compounds, including an additional six currently being excavated, although most are not much more than flat-brick foundations with the occasional weather-worn Buddha image. There is an excellent visitor centre at the entrance where bicycle hire (30B to 50B per day) can be arranged. A motorcycle taxi from central Kamphaeng Phet to the entrance costs about 80B.

Just north of modern Kamphaeng Phet, a walled zone is the origin of the city’s name, and was formerly inhabited by gamavasi (living in the community) monks. It’s a long walk or an approximately 40B motorcycle taxi ride from the centre of town.

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