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Northern Thailand

Pai : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Pai (ปาย) is a small town (pop. 3,000) in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand. It is a major stop on the Mae Hong Son Loop, which takes Rte 1095 from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, then Rte 108 back to Chiang Mai. The city is named after the Pai River. Understand Pai street […]

Wolfgang Holzem




Pai (ปาย) is a small town (pop. 3,000) in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand. It is a major stop on the Mae Hong Son Loop, which takes Rte 1095 from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son.


Set in a large picturesque valley north of Chiang Mai, Pai is tourism-oriented, offering a relaxed atmosphere with a vibrant tourist and backpacker scene. The town’s permanent residents are a seemingly harmonious mix of common Thai folk, with an admixture of Western hippies and Thai rastas thrown in, which gives the place a unique vibe which may be appealing to some and off-putting to others. Pai is now sometimes referred to as the “Khao San Road of the North”.

A sudden boom in guest house and bar construction from 2006 onwards has resulted in a great deal of spare capacity in the off-season. There has been a large increase in Thai people visiting after Pai was featured in a romantic Thai film, Pai in Love. It can be hard to find a room during the busy season (Oct-Feb). There are now around 350 guesthouses and hotels in Pai, and the city centre has transformed into a tourist warren of Western-style restaurants, souvenir shops, live music venues, tattoo parlours, and bars that cater largely to the now significant influx of tourists and package tours. Recently, there has been a large influx of mainland Chinese tourists and they now sometimes outnumber the western backpackers in Pai.

While the growth of Pai has been rapid and more or less every farm in the valley seems to rent bungalows, development so far has been largely tasteful and the town remains relatively serene during low season. That said, be prepared for large crowds of tourists and even traffic jams during the higher seasons.

Visit our Hotel Partners in Pai

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Get in

By road

Rte 1095 which connects Pai with Mae Hong Son (50 km as the crow flies, but approximately 110 km by road) and Chiang Mai (135 km) is a very scenic route through the mountains which takes several hours. It’s a steep and winding drive, with lots of curves, so take a plastic bag and some motion sickness pills if you need them. Police report that an average of two accidents a day happen on the Chiang Mai-Pai road, and more in the rainy season.

By motorcycle

Rte 1095 isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. There isn’t much traffic and you can hear the cars and trucks coming. The downside is the road is crappy, but not uniformly so. But because you never know what lies around the next bend, you’re forced to drive conservatively. If you’re a little adventurous, rent a motorcycle in Chiang Mai and make the ride up to Pai. You can stop at the waterfalls and small towns along the way, and you’ll really enjoy the trip, as opposed to being motion sick in a bus for hours, and being forced to stop at the driver’s friends restaurants. Make sure to take some warmer clothing on your bike, as it tends to get a bit chilly in the higher portions of the ride. As a novice rider, expect the trip to take around 5 or 6 hours, including stops at sites and restaurants along the way. aYa Service offers one way rentals from Chiang Mai to Pai (or vice versa) with free luggage delivery for 300 Thai Baht (Sep. 2017) depending on the motorbike. They will keep your passport and send it along with any baggage to aYa in Pai.

By bus

  • Pai Bus Station. As of 2017 September, Prempracha is the only transport provider into Pai with Minivans (THB150) that leave hourly from Chiang Mai (Arcade terminal) and Mae Hong Son between 5:30 to 17:30. There is also once daily fan bus (actually songthaew for 80 Thai Baht) running, but foreigners are usually refused to take them. The trip takes some 3 hours and can be gruesome cramped in a minivan in mountainous road, but there is a comfort stop at the small half-way village of Mae Sae (food, water, toilets [3 Thai Baht]). You can reserve a seat at Prempracha website., although their reservation system is not up-to date (you need to wait for a reply by email and to pick up a ticket 45 min before departure). Alternatively, aYa service provides direct minivan to guesthouses/train station/airport in Chiang Mai. Most guesthouse in Chiang Mai will book the ticket for you, but its schedule and cost depends on the season and who you book with. (updated Sep 2017)

By plane

  • Pai Airport. Served by Wisdom Airways, which operates daily flights between Chiang Mai and Pai. Flight time is 25 minutes. (updated Feb 2016)

Get around

Pai town centre is compact and best explored on foot. But the greater Pai area is sprawling. For exploring further afield, bicycles (40-100 Thai Baht/day) and motorbikes (from as little as 100 Thai Baht/day) can be rented from many agents along the main street. As the roads around Pai are steep and obtaining a decent mountain bike with fully functioning gears is surprisingly difficult, a motorbike is definitely the better option if you can ride one. aYa Service in the town centre rents motorbikes for 100 Thai Baht and a 100 Thai Baht helmet deposit, plus 40 Thai Baht for damage insurance, 40 Thai Baht for theft insurance (passport taken as deposit). You’ll want a motorbike if you’re planning on staying in some of the outlying bungalows in the valley around the town.

Motorbike and 4WD taxis are also readily available.

Suggestions in guidebooks that Ban Santhichon and Lisu Village might be reached on foot are optimistic.


The town itself has no special sights; most people come simply for the relaxed atmosphere. Nearby attractions include hot springs and waterfalls, villages and a hilltop temple.

  • Chinese village (Santichon). Village settled by Yunnanese hill-tribes who crossed the border in the middle of the 20th century to escape Communist rule. Shops selling different Chinese teas with varying health properties, and other interesting oddities include a human-powered Ferris wheel. Well worth a look, even as a brief stop on the way to Mo Paeng waterfall
  • Pai Canyon (Kong Lan) (signposted from the Chiang Mai road; approx 8 km from Pai). Somewhat optimistically described as Pai’s answer to the Grand Canyon, it could more accurately be described as a narrow red ridges with steep-sides valleys either side filled with pine and dipterocarp forests. The steep 50m drop either side and stunning views over the surrounding countryside are impressive, but you’ll need to be careful here – the path is extremely narrow in some places and requires a scramble in others. A set of steps up to a viewing platform provides the safest way to admire the scenery and the canyon makes the perfect spot for a sunset
  • WWII Memorial Bridge (on the road to Chiang Mai, approx 8 km from Pai). The original bridge here was built by the occupying Japanese. The current steel truss bridge which sits alongside the present main road was assembled in its current position rather more recently, but as with Pai’s “canyon”, the bridge invites very loose comparisons with the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai.
  • Village Farm (Pai Village Farm), 205 Moo 1, Mae Hee, Pai, Mae Hong Son, Thailand, 58130 (From Pai town, cross ‘Pai River’ by the South East bridge. Then travel a few hundred meters down the road you will find a 2 way junction with a small drive way up the hill in between the 2 main roads. Head up that hill for a few hundred meters you will find the farm to the left.), ✉ 10:00 – 16:00. Located less than 5-minutes from the center of Pai, the Village Farm offers the chance to experience a unique world of fruits, flowers, animals, including the star attraction, a lovely pair of Alpaca known as Rosemary & Aron. You will also enjoy local coffee and snacks as well as a souvenir shop. The Village Farm is the perfect scenic opportunity for the most memorable photos of Pai. 40 – 80 THB per person.

Local events in Pai

Poi Sang Long is a famous Buddhist ordination of children festival, especially in Mae Hong Son. Thai Yai cultural dance show can be seen at the temple fair in the evening.


  • Mae Yen (7 km out of town with no bikes allowed for the last 6 km of that. Head east over the bridge heading out of Pai and follow the signs.).
  • Mo Paeng (west of Chiang Mai past Santichon). A little more accessible than most of Pai’s waterfalls, this multi-tiered waterfall flows through a verdant green valley and is popular for its pools to swim in. The upper section of this waterfall is a natural water slide during the dry season. The rocks are smooth, just find a small section and slide on down like the locals do.
  • Pam Bok (on the road to Chiang Mai before Pai Canyon.). Nice secluded waterfall with high cliffs surrounding it, making this a cool place to escape the heat. Go for a relaxing bathe in the shade during the dry season.


Renting a bicycle or motorbike and riding around the countryside seems to be the most popular activity. You can easily create an itinerary to include visits to the nearby waterfalls and hill tribe villages. Potential day trips include the Tham Lod Bat Cave 55 km away in Pangmapha, best visited when the bats emerge just before sunset.


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Former founder of and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu.

Northern Thailand

Phitsanulok : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Phitsanulok (พิษณุโลก) is a historic city in Lower Northern Thailand, about halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It has a population of around 80,000. Understand A city in the lower part of Northern Thailand rich in historical, cultural and natural attractions, Phitsanulok is some 377 kilometres from Bangkok. The province around it covers an area […]

Wolfgang Holzem




Phitsanulok (พิษณุโลก) is a historic city in Lower Northern Thailand, about halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It has a population of around 80,000.


A city in the lower part of Northern Thailand rich in historical, cultural and natural attractions, Phitsanulok is some 377 kilometres from Bangkok. The province around it covers an area of 10,815 square kilometres, featuring mountains, plains and forest in the east and river basin. The Nan River, lifeline of the province, runs through the heart of the city.

It is also a regional commerce and transportation hub. Many travellers will at least pass through Phitsanulok on way to and from the North. The city itself is not the most exciting or prettiest place in the world, but it can be useful for stocking up on supplies, and Phitsanulok is a great starting point for exploring the ancient Thai capital of Sukhothai.

The local Tourism Authority Thailand (TAT) office is at 209/7-8 Borom Trailokanat Road, a few streets south of the train station (walking, 5-7 min) (08:30-16:30 daily).

History of Phitsanulok

The city dates back to the 10th century when the Khmer ruled this region. Formerly, the city was named Song Khwae, meaning two rivers, as it was located between the Nan and Khwae Noi River. The original location of Song Khwae city is at Wat Chulamani. Around the year 1357, king of Sukhothai, Phra Maha Thammaracha Lithai, decided to move the town to its present location. Since then, Phitsanulok served as a strategic border town ruled by members of the royal family.

During the Ayutthaya Period, the town played a larger role as a buffer town between Ayutthaya, the capital city, and the northern kingdom. Following an administrative reform by King Borommatrailokkanat, it had served as the capital city for 25 years. After that, the town was downgraded to a strategic border town. It has played a major role in blocking the invasion of Burmese troops. King Naresuan the Great, who ruled the town in a capacity as Crown Prince, mobilized troops from Phitsanulok to fight against the Burmese who then ruled over the Siamese Kingdom, and reclaimed independence in 1584.

Phitsanulok became a strategic town in coping Burmese invasion again in 1775 in the Thon Buri period. During a tough battle, the Burmese army commander requested the appearance of a Thai commander, Chaophraya Chakri, and predicted that he would become a king. Chaophraya Chakri was later crowned the first monarch of the Rattanakosin period, King Rama I the Great of the Royal House of Chakri. Phitsanulok was upgraded to be a circle called Monthon Phitsanulok in 1894 in the reign of King Rama V. Now, Phitsanulok is a province.

Get in

By plane

Nok Air offers regular flights between Phitsanulok (PHS) and Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) (50 min). Bus 4 runs to the airport, as do tuk-tuks, for about 10-20 Thai Baht.

Cheap Flights to Phitsanulok

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Khon Kaen



Tickets from 3 427

Chiang Mai



Tickets from 3 530

Surat Thani



Tickets from 3 588

Hat Yai



Tickets from 3 615

Chiang Rai



Tickets from 3 885




Tickets from 5 810

Travel by train to Phitsanulok

There are several daily services north to Chiang Mai and south to Bangkok. Both take about 6-7 hours.

By bus

Extensive bus services connect Phitsanulok with Chiang Mai (202 Thai Baht) and Bangkok (262 bath). As Phitsanulok is a major transportation hub, there are also regular services to the northeast. Phitsanulok is about 390 km from Bangkok. Buses take 5-7 hours for the journey. The return trip can take as long as 7 hours, depending on the Bangkok traffic. The bus to Chiang Mai takes 6 hours.

Beware that if you are coming from Chiang Mai, the bus will first stop on Bus Terminal 2 and after on the Bus Terminal 1. This later is nearer from the city center although the bus driver will call first Phitsanulok to Bus Terminal 2.

The main 16.819100.2791 bus station is 2 km east of the train station just off Singhawat Road (a 60 Thai Baht tuk-tuk ride). From there buses leave for Chiang Mai, Tak (via Sukhothai), Khon Kaen and Bangkok, as well as the surrounding provinces and to the towns within the province.

You can reach the bus station by tuk-tuk, or hop on the bus on one of the stops downtown, for instance on the broad road passing south of the Topland Plaza Hotel (a little west of the hotel). Bus stops and buses have signage in Thai only.

Get around

Public buses serve the town and there is no shortage of tuk-tuks and taxis. Bus 1 serves the route between the central bus station and the train station in the town centre, and leaves from the short road leading from the highway to the bus station.

Decent motorcycles (Honda Wave, etc.) can be rented from the shop near the central bus station, at prices somewhat higher than the Chiang Mai standard (starting ~200 Thai Baht)


Phitsanulok is not well-known to foreign tourists and thus has retained the charm of a typical, larger Thai city. Unfortunately, most of the older parts of the city were destroyed in a disastrous fire decades ago.

  • Aviary (Next to the Buddha casting factory). With around 100 local species such as parrots (English is spoken!) and hornbills.
  • City Pillar Shrine/Lak Mueang (Thai) (On the river, opposite Wat Yai). The spiritual centre of the city and province. A Lak Mueang (Thai) or ‘City Pillar Shrine’ is a golden pillar, which represents the tutelary deity of each province of Thailand, housed inside an impressively designed structure. This shrine was designed by the Thai Fine Arts Department, in a Khymer-style.
  • Folklore Museum (South of town centre). A small museum exhibiting local culture and society, as collected by Sergeant Major Tawee. Interesting, worth a look. 50 Thai Baht.
  • Houseboats. Once a symbol of Phitsanulok, only a few of these are left on the river and some now function as restaurants and cafes.
  • King Naresuan Shrine and Wang Chan Palace Ruin (North of city centre, past the government offices). King Naresuan was one of the great Thai kings who liberated Ayutthaya Kingdom from the Burmese in the 16th century. This shrine commemorates his life. A small white building contains the statue of the King. Surrounding the shrine are the ruins of the king’s palace birthplace.
  • Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat (Wat Yai) (Near Naresuan Bridge). This is the most important temple in Phitsanulok and is the home of the famous Phra Buddha Chinnarat, one of the most revered Buddha figures in Thailand. The temple is host to a large fair every January. There is also a small market on the ground, where people offer souvenirs and local food. Connected to the temple ground of Wat Yai is the Nang Phaya Temple. There you can get a traditional Thai massage.
  • Wat Ratburana (on the southern side of Naresuan Bridge). This wat is best known for its very old and tall chedi. According to legend this was constructed in the 15th century to house the ashes of the King of Sukhothai’s two brothers. There is also the usual Thai temple buildings, plus, a small museum, and a boat used by King Chulalongkorn.


Visit the temples and stroll around a Thai city that is still unspoilt by the tourist traps of Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

There’s a really nice daytrip to two temples possible. 16.78926101.050851 Wat Prathat Phasornkaew and the Sitting Buddha Statue are around 2 1/2 hours by bus from Phitsanulok. Busses depart from the normal bus station and cost 80 Baht one way. From where the bus stops you have to walk for 25 mins up a hill (or hitch a ride on the back of a pick up truck). Both temples are quite new. The Sitting Buddha Statue temple is actually multiple Buddhas sitting in front of each other and getting smaller. The other temple (Wat Prathat Phasornkaew), which is just on the other side of the road, is completely covered in beautiful mosaic art, walls, floors and stairs are designed in a smooth, fluid way which reminded me of Antoni Gaudí. You can climb this temple quite a bit and have an amazing view on the surrounding hills. This is really Off The Beaten Path. When going back it’s possible to hitch hike or take a bus. For more information you can ask the owner of the Karma Home Hostel.


Several markets offer the typical variety of food stall dishes. During the day check out the Market just south of the train station, which turns into a popular night market scene in the early evening. Some of the best buys are gai yang (grilled chicken) and kweitiou pat Thai (Thai style fried noodles).

  • Night Bazaar (Located along the river). Offers lots of tourist type food options plus after dinner shopping with the usual night market items.
  • Topland Mall. Shopping mall with standard chain restaurant fare. There is a Tesco-Lotus downstairs for self catering and other essentials.
  • Big C Mall (3 km east of the city centre). Offers a wide range of small restaurants and a food hall.
  • Connection House, Borom Trailokanat Road (go southwest from train station/clock tower, past Xing Ming school but before Playground/Leelawadee.). Thai and foreign food, cakes and coffee.
  • Kuai Tiao Hoi Kha (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวห้อยขา), Soi Phutthabucha (riverside alley behind Wat Yai). Very popular noodle restaurant by the riverside. “Kuai Tiao” meens noodle and “Hoi Kha” to dangle one’s legs, refering to the fact that you can dangle your legs in the air while sitting there. May be difficult to find a seat during lunchtime. (updated May 2017)
  • Bubbletea Kiosk (At the river, near the school). A small bubble tea stall / kiosk offering really cheap, but tasty bubble tea. Open throughout the day. 20 – 25 Baht. (updated Jun 2019)


  • It’s a Cake (In the same building as Lithai Guesthouse). Great cakes and good sandwiches, pasta, and Thai dishes. Internet access.
  • The Pista, Phayalithai Road (Down the road from Lintai Guesthouse before the river.). Great little coffee shop mainly visited by young local students, with surprisingly good coffee and a quiet environment, good seating, and aircon. Free Wifi.



  • Asia Hotel (a short walk from the railway station (turn left on the main road just past the 7-11)). From the outside this hotel doesn’t look much, but it has clean fan or air-con rooms with hot water, Wi-Fi and Thai TV. From the bus station, bus numbers 6, 8, and 12 stop opposite the hotel. 380 Thai Baht for an air-con room.
  • BP Tower. Pleasant 6 storey hotel, past the Big C on the main road (Mittraphap Road) out of the city, down a side street, sign on main road. A bit away from the city, but on the ground floor of the hotel is a mini-mart, laundry, massage, and a small restaurant. Bus to the city 9 Thai Baht, motorbike 50 Thai Baht. 300-500 Thai Baht.
  • Lithai Guesthouse, 73/1-5 Phayalithai Road (Taxi is 120 THB from the new bus staton. In walking distance of the train station.) , fax: +66 55 219627 ext 500. Very clean and good beds. Moderate prices, starting at 300 Thai Baht for a single fan room and 400 for double, both with en suite bathroom. Good in-room Wi-Fi is free of charge. Asian breakfast is included, and there is also a cafe downstairs in the building. (as of 9/2020) 300 single, 400 double.
  • London Guesthouse (short walk from Lithai Guesthouse). Check-out: 11:00. Clean, Spartan fan rooms for 100 Thai Baht. Shared bathrooms. Along one of the busier roads in town, so ask for a back room if noise is usually an issue for you. Pay another 20 Thai Baht for wireless password, good Internet speed. Good location, with night market & railway station nearby. Checkout time is 11:30. Friendly & helpful staff. 100+ Thai Baht.
  • LV Gardenhome. Very nice hotel – 2-storey with rooms surrounding central garden with water features. Bath, air-con, TV and free Wi-Fi in all rooms. Outside the city near Big C. Bus (9 Thai Baht) and songthaew (10 Thai Baht) during the day but no transport into the city in the evening; meaning you have little choice of what to do in the evenings as the place is quite remote. There are a few restaurants across the motorway open at night. Monthly rate 3,500 Thai Baht is for a minimum of 3 months stay.
  • Phitsanulok Hotel (across the street from the train station). Check-out: 12:00. Big hotel with small rooms. It feels like a barracks, the rooms cost 200 Thai Baht. Not really a bargain but it’s OK. Fan, table, chair, shower, Thai toilet. You get toilet paper, water, soap, and a towel. The staff hardly speak any English. Good option if you arrive with the train late at night. 200+ Thai Baht.
  • Tonwai Modern Place. 278 pra ong khao rd, a 15 or less minute walk from the train station and 20 or less minutes to bus terminal no.1. Doubles for 350 Thai Baht. Nice and clean rooms with TV, aircon, closet, minibar, private bathroom and a small balcony that includes a nice sunset. The owner is a Chinese Thai who speaks Thai, English and a bit of teochew. Breakfast is included, toast bread with jam and butter. Coffee, tea and chocolate. They also have a few adorable cats wandering around.
  • Phoonsab Hostel. (a short walk from Bus terminal 1). Clean and spacious rooms with toilet included. Free wi-fi. Rooms from 250-350 bath. Friendly staff that speaks a bit of English. 10 minutes walk to night market.}}
  • 16.82046100.263095 Karma Home Hostel, Lang Wat Mai Apaiyaram 26-64 , ✉ Check-out: 12:00. Small hostel with only a few beds which come with curtains. The owner, Mark, is really nice and is a foreigner so speaks really good English. Location is central and good. The rate for a fan dorm bed is 180 Baht. They also have an A/C dorm. Free WiFi is available and good. Also there’s a rootop area with hammocks. Breakfast is with toast plus jam and cereals and it’s on a pay what you think it’s worth basis (not free). 180 Thai Baht for fan dorm.


  • Amarin Lagoon Hotel, 52/299 Praongkhao Road.
  • Grand Riverside Hotel, 59 Praroung Road. Free airport transfer. 2,000+ Thai Baht.
  • Rattana Park Hotel, 999/59 Mitrapap Road (About 500m from the bus station. Find the 7-Eleven, walk to the end of the road then turn right onto Mitrapap). Hot water in the shower. Breakfast is basic Thai food, and it was quite cold not all that late in the morning. Walk-in price for basic, clean, well-organised) air-con is 690 Thai Baht with breakfast.
  • Topland Hotel & Convention Center, 68/33 Ekathosarot Road. Part of the Topland Plaza shopping centre, this is one of the better hotels. Buses to Sukhothai leave from in front of the hotel. It is well worth the money, though can be noisy at night as it contains a popular night-club. This hotel has a lunch and dinner buffet. Price in the 200 Thai Baht range. Good range of eats. 2,000+ Thai Baht.


  • Immigration Office (visa extensions) (in the Floating Museum opposite the main Post Office, on the river. Walk upriver from the night bazaar (same river bank) approx 10 min (you will need to cross a road junction). After about 10 min you should see the main post office on the right. It’s the traditional wooden building, on the left, before the post office.).

Go next

Phitsanulok is a convenient transportation hub and good stop-over from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (or vice versa), or on the way between Northern and Northeastern Thailand (Isan).

  • Phichit – the town is the setting of a legend about the crocodile king, illustrated by a crocodile park. 55 km south, 40 min by train.
  • Sukhothai – ancient capital of Siam with historic monuments from the 13th century (UNESCO World Heritage site); a good day trip. 60 km (new town)/70 km (historical park) west, 1 hour by bus.
  • Uttaradit – 110 km north, 1½–2 hours by train or bus.
  • Kamphaeng Phet – another interesting historical park from the same era as Sukhothai. 110 km southwest, 2½–3 hrs by local bus.
  • Loei – main town of the coolest (climatewise) province of Thailand. 230 km northeast, 4½ hrs by bus.
  • Khon Kaen – informal capital of Northeastern Thailand, economic and transportation hub in central Isan. 320 km east, 5–6 hrs by bus.
  • Chiang Mai – informal capital of Northern Thailand, cultural centre. 345 km north, 5:15-7 hrs by bus, 6–7½ hrs by train.
  • Bangkok – Thailand’s capital and international metropolis. 375 km south, 5½ hrs by bus, 5–7 hrs by train.


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Northern Thailand

Sukhothai : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Centuries old Buddha figures in the Historical Park Sukhothai (สุโขทัย) is a small city (population 35,713) in Lower Northern Thailand, 427 kilometres north of Bangkok. Its attraction lies in the ruins of the ancient city Sukhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage List. The name translates as “the dawn of happiness”. Understand History of Sukhothai Ancient Sukhothai […]

Wolfgang Holzem




Sukhothai (สุโขทัย) is a small city (population 35,713) in Lower Northern Thailand, 427 kilometres north of Bangkok. Its attraction lies in the ruins of the ancient city Sukhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage List. The name translates as “the dawn of happiness”.


History of Sukhothai

Ancient Sukhothai was the first capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom, a long arc of territory that ran through what is today’s Laos and western Thailand as far as the Malay states. The kingdom was established in 1238 by Phokhun Si Intharathit, the founder of the Phra Ruang dynasty. It was the state that eventually had the greatest influence on the later Siamese and Thai kingdoms. Traditional Thai history has it that Ramkhamhaeng the Great, the third ruler of the Phra Ruang dynasty, developed the capital at Sukhothai. He is also venerated as being the inventor of the Thai alphabet and being an all-round role model for Thailand’s politics, monarchy, and religion.


The province’s temples and monuments have been restored and the UNESCO-listed Sukhothai Historical Park covers a wide area with numerous sites. Other interesting places include Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, Ramkhamhaeng National Park, Sri Satchanalai National Park, and The Royal Palace and Wat Mahathat.


While enjoyable all year, Sukhothai is most comfortable during the cooler weather of Nov-Feb.

Get in

By plane

Bangkok Airways has daily flights from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Sukhothai Airport (THS), which then continue on to Lampang (LPT). Fares from/to Bangkok start from 1,700 Thai Baht (1 hour 20 minutes), from/to Lampang: from 1,100 Thai Baht (around 40 minutes).

Air Asia has daily flights from Bangkok Don Mueang Airport (DMK) to Phitsanulok airport (PHS). You can book a combined ticket with Air Asia to travel From:DMK To:Sukhothai. This consists of the flight (1 hour), transfer to ground transport (30 minutes) then the road trip Tharaburi Resort in Sukhothai (1 hour 40 minutes).

Cheap Flights to Sukhothai

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Khon Kaen



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Udon Thani



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Chiang Mai



Tickets from 5 689

Hat Yai



Tickets from 13 580

By train

Take the (express) train (7 hr from Bangkok or Chiang Mai) to Phitsanulok and go by bus from there (1 hour). A tuk-tuk to the bus station costs 60 Thai Baht.

By bus

Sukhothai only has a small bus station, but the old and new city can be easily reached from all points. The bus station is out of town and should cost you 50-60 Thai Baht to get into town by tuk-tuk (40 mototaxi). From the new city bus station it costs 15 Thai Baht via the local shuttle to reach the new city center.

From Bangkok

There are direct buses from Bangkok Mo Chit Terminal and takes 7 hr, including some stops at bus terminals of major cities on the way.

At Mo Chit Wintour Travel charges 326 Thai Baht per person for a first class air-con bus. It takes about 6 hr.

From Chiang Mai

Buses from the main bus terminal take about 4 hours. The cheaper 2nd class buses make many stops and take about 5 hours and a half (Wintour: 195 Thai Baht as of May 2017).

From Mae Sot

Minibuses run regularly from the station behind the market. The journey takes about 3 hours, passing through Tak on the way. 130 Thai Baht.

From Phitsanulok

Buses operate approximately every 45 minutes from the main bus terminal until approximately 18:00 and take about 1 hour for the 58 km trip. These are often crowded so be waiting early for the bus if you’d like to get a seat. 43 Thai Baht.

If you’re feeling rich you can get a tuk-tuk directly which costs 1,000 Thai Baht from the train station (one of the fixed prices posted on a sign in front of the station).

Get around

It’s an easy 15-minute walk from the bus station into New Sukothai town along a dirt path in front of the bus station (although the tuk tuk drivers will tell you that it is not possible to walk). To find it, exit the front of the station and walk straight (west) for a few meters until you reach the shops in front of the station. There will be a dirt path leading off to your left (south) that passes by some fields and houses. Follow the path about 500 meters and you will hit a concrete road; continue straight along this road for another 500 meters (you will pass “No. 4 Guesthouse”) and you will hit Jarodvithi Thong (Charodwithitong), the main street with many guesthouses, from where you can catch the blue songthaew to Old Sukhothai.

Purple #1 songthaews travel to and from the bus station, which is about 3km out of town. They run the length of Charodwithitong Road. The fare is 10 Thai Baht.

The large blue songthaews to Old Sukhothai leave from a bus stop on Charodwithitong Road, about 100m west of the bridge(50m west from 7-eleven). It stops about 750m from the entrance to the central zone of the historic park. Fare is 20 Thai Baht. Drivers often ask 30 Thai Baht from foreigners, but if you insist or start to walk away they should agree for 20 Thai Baht.

There are also tuk-tuks, which will try to get 600 Thai Baht out of you for a trip to the Old City (main ruins) some 15 km out of town. The correct price is 300 Thai Baht and this is for at least a couple of hours. When you have seen the part you are at and want to move further in the same area, the driver takes you there. 600 Thai Baht is a fair price for a full day.

Scooters can be rented from Chopper on Prewet Nahkon Alley, just behind Bar 64000 on the main road through New Sukhothai. The bikes are pretty new and well maintained. Rates are 60 bht for 1hr. 250 bht for the day (return at 8:30pm). 300 bht for 24hrs


  • Si Sachanalai National Park. Proclaimed a national park on 8 May 1981. With a total area of 213 square kilometres (82 sq mi) in Si Satchanalai and Thung Saliam Districts, Si Satchanalai offers trekking routes through waterfalls and caves. There is Tad Dao Waterfall, originating from the Tha Pae stream. Thara Wasan Cave, with fantastic stalactites and stalagmites, is about 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) away from the park’s office. Wildlife is found here, including hundreds of thousands of bats. Tad Duan Waterfall, about 500 meters from the office of the park, is ideal for swimming. (updated Feb 2019)
  • Phra Mae Ya Shrine (ศาลพระแม่ย่า) (In front of City Hall, Thanon Nikhon Kasem, by the Yom River). The shrine is highly respected by Sukhothai residents. It houses an idol of Phra Mae Ya, a stone figure with a long face, tapered chin, long halo and dressed as an ancient queen. The idol is supposed to have been built during King Ramkhamhaeng the Great’s reign as a dedication to his late mother Nang Sueang. In this connection, the word Phra Mae Ya or grandmother in Thai is literally a term of endearment since the local people regarded King Ramkhamhaeng the Great as their father. The statue was formerly housed in a rock shelter of Phra Mae Ya Mountain. The Sukhothai residents later relocated it to the present shrine situated in front of the City Hall. The shrine is also believed to house the spirit of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great. The Phra Mae Ya Fair is held annually in late February. (updated Feb 2019)
  • Fish Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ปลาในวรรณคดีเฉลิมพระเกียรติ) (In Rama IX Park, along Highway 12). It displays a variety of fresh water fish mentioned in Thai literature, such as the travel poems titled Kap Ho Khlong Nirat Phra Bat and Kap Ho Khlong Praphat Than Thongdaeng, and the Kap He Ruea boat song by Chaofa Thammathibet (Chaofa Kung). (updated Feb 2019)
  • Sawankhaworanayok National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติสวรรควรนายก). Houses exhibits in a two-storey building. Upstairs houses sculptural collections from various periods, mostly those formerly collected within the compound of Wat Sawankharam and offered by Phra Sawankhaworanayok. In addition, there are Buddha images, relocated from the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, from the pre-Sukhothai to the early Ayutthaya period. (updated Feb 2019)
  • Centre for Study and Preservation of Sangkhalok Kilns (ศูนย์ศึกษาและอนุรักษ์เตาสังคโลก (เตาทุเรียง)). Once the industrial area of Si Satchanalai. Numerous celadon wares in broken, as well as perfect, condition have been discovered. The kiln is oval in shape with a curved roof like that of a ferryboat and is 7–8 metres long. The centre consists of two buildings situated on the kiln site area with two kilns Nos. 42 (ground level) and 61 (underground) exhibited in situ. There are also exhibitions on artifacts, academic documents, and on the evolution of ancient ceramic wares. (updated Feb 2019)
  • Sangkhalok Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์สังคโลกสุโขทัย) (In Mueang Ake Plaza, Thanon By-pass, just 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) outside the old city). The museum displays more than 2,000 pieces of Sangkhalok ceramic wares collected from various sources both locally and internationally. (updated Feb 2019)
  • Ramkhamhaeng National Park (Pa Kho Luang). It covers an area of about 341 square kilometres (132 sq mi), or 213,125 rai. It is full of wildlife and natural beauty, including tropical jungle and mountain. The park, in the province of Sukhothai, is surrounded by the districts of Kirimas, Ban Dan Lan Hoi, and the provincial capital, Sukhothai. (updated Feb 2019)
  • Ramkhamhaeng National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติรามคำแหง). Houses many artifacts found from archaeological excavations in Sukhothai, as well as those donated by the locals. The museum is divided into three premises: the Lai Sue Thai Chet Roi Pi Memorial Building, Museum Building, and Outdoor Museum. (updated Feb 2019)
  • Sukhothai Historical Park (14 km to the Way of New Sukhothai). Daily, 6:00 to 18:00. This was the former capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom from 1238 to 1438 and contains many ruins from that period. Its importance has been internationally recognised and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old city is a popular tourist attraction, and the site has seen much restoration since the 1960s. It is well maintained, exceptionally clean and well furnished with vendors, though with only a minimum of touts. The heavy restoration is worth noting, since with some ruins and Buddha figures it can lead to a feeling that it is a little over-sanitised, especially in the central zone. The other zones are much less “restored” and trips down unmarked tracks can lead to ruins in their untouched state. The best way to see the ruins in the Sukhothai National Historic Park is by bicycle. These can be rented from a shop opposite from the main park entrance. It is feasible to walk around the central and northern zones in 6 hours or so. There is also a 60-baht guided tour by electric tram available. The best time to see the ruins is mornings when it’s a little cooler and before the buses arrive, at noon when they have lunch, or after 16:00. The whole site covers an area of approximately 70 square kilometres (~27 square miles) and is divided into multiple zones. The central zone contains the majority of the ruins and a museum. Maps are free at the ticket office.
  • Central Zone: It contains 11 ruins in 3 square kilometres, interspersed with moats, lakes and bridges to some island-bound ruins. Mat Mahathat is one of the most spectacular, with a large seated Buddha figure set amid the pillars of a now-ruined sala, and a central chedi flanked by two standing Buddha figures. Wat Sra Sri also has a large chedi and Buddha figure, but is reached by a bridge to the island. There are some nice views from the other side of the lake. Every zone has an entrance fee. Admission to each of the zones is 100 Thai Baht for Westerners, and 20 Thai Baht for Thais plus extra for vehicles, including bicycles (10 Thai Baht). (updated Feb 2019)
  • West zone The West zone is a hilly and forested area that contains over a dozen little visited monuments. The area is located West of the walled old town between the road to Tak (Route 12) and the road through the Or gate in the ancient Western city wall. Spread out over an area of several kilometers, it contains mostly small monuments in the forest and on hill tops, most of them a single stupa or other structure. In the days of the Sukhothai empire the area was known as Aranyika. Monks studied the Tripitaka and practised meditation in forest temples. An ancient stone inscription mentions that Ramkhamhaeng, the third King of Sukhothai, visited the area regularly to pay his respects to a Buddha image, believed to be the standing Buddha image of the Wat Saphan Hin.}}
  • North zone Wat Phra Phai Luang contains the remains of a number of buildings plus a large prang with stucco reliefs. More impressive is Wat Sri Chum, which contains a massive seated Buddha figure peering through an opening in its enclosure. Look for a stairway on the left as you enter the enclosure; it leads up and behind the Buddha image, though the passage is not always open. Only if you want to have a close look for Wat Phra Phai Luang you need to pay.
Name Sukhothai FC
Founded 2009
Stadium Thung Talay Luang Stadium


Phor Khun Ramkhamhaeng’s Day Festival (or King Ramkhamhaeng the Great Memorial Fair (งานวันพ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช) Phor Khun Ramkhamhaeng’s Day Festival, annually held on January 17. It honors of the Great King of Sukhothai Kingdom. In this day, people will visit the Monument of Phor Khun Ramkamhaeng the Great for praising Phor Khun Ramkhamhaeng. People will make merit and present food to a Buddhist priest. At night, there is merrymaking and many shows that all people can enjoy. There are fireworks, too.


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Northern Thailand

Kamphaeng Phet : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Kamphaeng Phet (กำแพงเพชร) is a city in Lower Northern Thailand. Its historical park with ruins of 14th- to 16th-century temples, city fortifications and Buddha statues is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List “Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns”. Wat Chang Rop, Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park Understand Main entrance to the historical park […]

Wolfgang Holzem




Kamphaeng Phet (กำแพงเพชร) is a city in Lower Northern Thailand. Its historical park with ruins of 14th- to 16th-century temples, city fortifications and Buddha statues is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List “Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns”.


In the lower north of Thailand on the bank of the Ping River, Kamphaeng Phet is about halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. To its east are riverine plains while the western areas are made up of high mountains lush with forests where a number of national parks have been established.

Areas along the river bank at present-day city used to host several ancient towns which played a major role as strategic front-lines since Sukhothai was the kingdom’s capital down through the times of Ayutthaya and early-Rattanakosin (Bangkok) eras. The name Kamphaeng Phet actually means “wall as hard as diamonds”.

Kamphaeng Phet declined in importance and was an ordinary, smallish provincial city until the establishment of the historical park and its listing as a World Heritage site in 1991. Still, unlike its well-known neighbour Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet is largely ignored by tourists. This is why the city has barely any offerings geared to the needs of international travelers. Some may view this as a drawback, but those looking to experience authentic, upcountry Thailand, are coming just to the right place.

Kamphaeng Phet is a “banana capital”. Its local speciality are “egg bananas” (kluai khai in Thai), whose fruit are only about 10 centimetres (4 inches) long, almost oval shaped (hence the name) and much more aromatic then the run-of-the-mill long, bent banana varieties sold in most non-tropical countries. Kamphaneng Phet Province exports bananas worth 200 million Thai Baht each year.

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Get in

Fly to Kamphaeng Phet

The closest international airports are Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Mueang (DMK), 370 and 340 km from Kamphaeng Phet, respectively. Flying to the regional airports of Phitsanulok or Sukhothai only makes sense if you are picked up or rent a car there, as public transportation from these airports to Kamphaeng Phet is inconvenient and very slow.

Travel by train to Kamphaeng Phet

Kamphaeng Phet is not connected with the train network. The closest train station is in Phitsanulok, from which it’s a nearly three-hour bus ride to Kamphaeng Phet.

By bus

The most usual way to get in, is by bus. Buses from Bangkok’s northern terminal (Mo Chit) and from Chiang Mai arrive about hourly. There are also some overnight connections. The ride from Bangkok takes five to six hours and costs 204 or 263 Thai Baht, depending on the class of coach. Most buses from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Uttaradit, Mae Sot, Sawankhalok or Sukhothai stop in Kamphaeng Phet and may be used (ask at the counter).

Non-AC regional buses from Phitsanulok run hourly, from 05:00 to 18:00. For just 100 km, they take nearly three hours due to frequent stops and detours to villages along the way. A ticket costs 59 Thai Baht.

From Sukhothai you may either get on a bus towards Bangkok and hop off at Kamphaeng Phet, which takes some 1½ hours and costs around 70 Thai Baht (though passengers who book all the way to Bangkok may be preferred) or take the more rustic songthaew (converted pickup with passenger benches on the bed) that departs whenever there are enough passengers, takes up to 2½ hours and costs 60 Thai Baht.

The government-owned Transport Company’s bus terminal used by most intercity buses is somewhat incoveniently located, about 2 km outside the city centre, on the other bank of Ping River. From there, irregularly running songthaews, tuk-tuks, or motorcycle taxis (if available) take you to the city centre. Preferably, you ask your hosts to arrange a pickup. Wintour buses on their way from Bangkok to Sukhothai (or back) instead stop at the  bodhi tree close to the city centre.

By car

Kamphaeng Phet is conveniently accessible via Route 1 (Asian Highway 1), about halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. It is a four to 4½ ride from either city. From Sukhothai it takes just over one hour, from Phitsanulok 1½ hours via decently paved roads.

Get around

Kamphaeng Phet lacks an actual public transportation system. The city is not well prepared for tourists. There are no regular taxis, and even tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis, or rickshaws are pretty rare. Reddish-brown painted songthaews cruise through the city, between the bus terminal and Big C shopping mall. Their departure times are irregular. Other songthaew lines connect with the surrounding province, departing either from the bus terminal or the large day market in the city centre. It may be difficult to find out where exactly they are going without speaking Thai. They do not have exact departure times either, but go whenever there are enough passengers for a certain destination.

To be independent and be able to do individual excursions to the hinterland, it is best to arrive with a hired car (e.g., from Phitsanulok) or to rent a motorbike (e.g., at Three J Guesthouse or Praepimpalai Resort).

Most distances within the city centre can be covered on foot. Moreover, Kamphaeng Phet is relatively bicycle-friendly (at least, in comparison to most Thai cities). While there are no designated bike paths, traffic on the roads is quite minimal, and there are quite a lot of green areas. To discover the historical park, the bicycle is just about the ideal means of transportation: it is a little too far to walk, while you cannot see that much from inside a car. Some guesthouses lend or rent out bikes to their guests. Another rental location is right at the entry to the historical park (Khet Aranyik)—30 Thai Baht per hour, mountain bikes for 50 Thai Baht.


Historical Park

Kamphaeng Phet’s Historical Park of temple ruins, Buddha statues, old walls and forts from the 14th to 16th centuries is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and the town’s main sight. It consists of three separate parts. Admission to either the “inner district” or Khet Aranyik costs 100 Thai Baht each. A combined ticket for both sections is 150 Thai Baht. The walls, forts and the sights of Nakhon Chum can be accessed without ticket. The zones that are surrounded by fences are open daily 08:00-18:00.

  • Khet Nai (Inner district). The ruins of the temple district of the ancient city of Cha Kang Rao, including Wat Phra Kaeo and Wat Phra That. The Reclining Buddha of Wat Phra Kaeo is arguably the most beautiful statue in the park and one of the best depictions of the Buddha’s serene smile from the Sukhothai period. The zone is surrounded by five metre high laterite walls and a 25-metre wide moat. Four of ten forts and gates are relatively well-preserved and can be visited. (updated Mar 2017)
  • Khet Aranyik (Forest district). Thailand’s Buddhist clergy was divided into “town monks” who studied, taught and performed ceremonies for the believers, and “forest monks” who went into retreat, dedicated to meditation and asceticism. The bigger part of the historical park, covered with light forest, consists of the hermitage ruins of the latter group. Thanks to the canopy of leaves, it is very pleasant to visit on foot or by bicycle (can be rented by the main entrance). Its main sites are Wat Chang Rop (with its remarkable chedi that is surrounded by 68 stucco elephant figures), Wat Phra Non (with a relatively well-preserved chedi and remains of a Reclining Buddha statue), Wat Phra Si Iriyabot (with the park’s only surviving, nine metre high standing Buddha statue). Next to the main entrance to this zone is also the park administration. (updated Mar 2017)
  • Mueang Nakhon Chum. Kamphaeng Phet/Cha Kang Rao’s sister city on the opposite bank of the Ping River is even older. Its fortification and temple ruins are however in a worse state of preservation. Unlike on the other bank, there is no actual park with fence, cashier, and trim paths, but the ruins are simply dispersed among the landscape, widely ignored by locals and tourists alike. The only historic temple that is still in use, is Wat Phra Borommathat (see below, in the temples section). (updated Mar 2017)


  • Wat Khu Yang, Th. Wichit 1. Old temple in the town centre whose history dates to c. 1600. The present buildings date from the 1850s. Notable is the ho trai, i.e., the monastery’s library, a traditional wooden house standing on stilts amid a water ditch. Its roof is covered with characteristic fish-scale shaped tiles. The ubosot is nice to look at too, especially at dusk when the colourful glass elements of the elaborately decorated pediment shimmer. (updated Mar 2017)
  • Wat Phra Borommathat (วัดพระบรมธาตุ), Nakhon Chum. This temple is one of the oldest in Kamphaeng Phet (its history probably dates back to the 14th century) and the only ancient monastery of the historical park that is not a ruin but still active. Its most visible feature is the tall, gold-covered pagoda in Burmese Mon style that can be seen from afar. Originally, the chedi was Sukhothai-style, but it was redesigned during a renovation from 1870 to 1907, sponsored by a rich timber merchant. The temple compound also hosts the “Nakhon Chum cultural centre” in a traditional teak building, with a collection of all kinds of antique objects, that however lack explanations (at least in English). (updated Mar 2017)
  • Wat Sawang Arom, Nakhon Chum (West of the Suan Mak canal, some 800 m off the Route 1/Asian Highway. Turn left at the Esso gas pump before the bridge, at the end of the road turn right through the underpass, then left, past the small market, after 450 m left again, across the bridge, and another 100 m to the temple entrance). Old temple with a beautiful, three metre high, Chiang Saen-style Buddha statue in the “calling the earth to witness” posture.


  • Kamphaeng Phet National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติกำแพงเพชร, Phiphithaphanthasathan haeng Chat Kamphaeng Phet), Th Pin Damri. W-Su, 09:00-16:30. Exhibition of bronze sculptures and pottery from different periods of Thai art and Mon art. The highlight is an early 16th-century bronze Shiva statue. Its head and hands were cut off in 1886 by a German trader who tried to smuggle them to Europe. They were however confiscated before he could send them abroad and were reunited with the torso. A replica was then made under orders of King Rama V, given to the German crown prince and is now exhibited at the Berlin Museum of Asian Art. 100 Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
  • Kamphaeng Phet Chaloemphrakiat Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานกำแพงเพชรเฉลิมพระเกียรติ, Phiphithaphanthasathan Kamphaeng Phet Chaloem Phrakiat; also known as “Thai House Museum”, พิพิธภัณฑ์เรือนไทย, Phiphithaphan Ruean Thai). Daily, 09:00-16:30. Elegant replicas of traditional Thai houses, hosting an exhibition about local and regional history and lifestyle. 10 Thai Baht; multimedia room 250 Thai Baht per group. (updated May 2017)
  • Next to the Thai House Museum is a banana orchard, officially named the “Centre for Collection of Banana Varieties” (ศูนย์รวมสายพันธุ์กล้วย), growing banana plants of more than 150 different breeds.


  • San Lak Mueang (City pillar shrine), Th. Ratchadamnoen 2 (At the corner of the historical park’s “inner district”, on the road to Sukhothai). Shrine that houses the symbolic navel of the city which according to the locals’ belief is home to the city’s guardian spirits. (updated May 2017)
  • Shiva shrine (San Phra Isuan) (Near Kamphaeng Phet Chaloemphrakiat Museum and the northeastern corner of the historical park, behind the family court (fenced, large white colonnaded building with red roof)). Original place of the Shiva statue that now is kept at the National Museum, there is a replica where locals bring their offerings, asking the deity for blessing of themselves, their families and pets. (updated May 2017)
  • Clock tower (At the main roundabout near the city limit). Landmark and central orientation point. It is made of laterite, thus referring to the ancient monuments of the historical park, that consist of the same material. With its castle-like shape and crenelations, it is also a nod to the city’s name: “diamond wall”. The bodhi (sacred fig) tree on the other side of the roundabout is used by locals as a meeting point. (updated May 2017)


  • Stroll, jog or cycle along the palm-lined 16.47325699.5252911 waterside promenade on the bank of Ping River (Rim Ping, ริมปิง); enjoy a foot massage (200 Thai Baht/hr); relax at Sirichit Park (สิริจิตอุทยาน) which offers free outdoor gym machines, a children’s swimming pool, a tennis court and lots of stalls selling snacks and refreshments. You can cross the bridge to the quaint little island in the middle of the river (Ko Klang Maenam Ping, เกาะกลางแม่น้ำปิง).
  • Traditional Thai massage “Pa Phim” (นวดแผนไทยโบราณ), Rachavitee Road 1 (200 m west of Three J Guesthouse, next to Suea Yim Coffee Club). Owner is an alumna of the reputable Wat Pho massage school in Bangkok. 2 hr for 200 Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)

Festivals and regular events

  • Nop Phra Len Phleng festival on Makha Bucha, i.e., full moon in late-February or early-March, commemorates the donation of a Buddha relic to the city of Nakhon Chum (one of the precursors of Kamphaeng Phet) by king Li Thai in 1357. An inscription which describes a procession in honour of this relic is one of the oldest documents of local history. The tradition was revived in 1983 and since then a great pageant is held annually. The city is decorated several days beforehand. Nop Phra means to ‘pay respect to the Buddha’, Len means ‘play’ and Phleng is ‘song’. This sums up the programme of this festival pretty well: apart from the religious parade (with attendees in historic costumes), cultural performances like dance and plays are staged. Moreover there is a light and sound show in the historical park and a large fair where regional products are peddled.
  • Thai kite festival Cha-kang-rao (February to March), traditional kite competition at Sirichit Park
  • Banana Festival on ten days around Sat Thai, i.e., new moon in late-September, celebrating and promoting the province’s best-known product. There are different parades and contests, including the selection of a banana queen, and of course lots of opportunities to taste bananas and krayasat, a local sweet made from puffed rice, toasted sesame, peanuts and sugar.
  • Loi Krathong on November’s full moon, like in most Thai cities the festival of lights in honour of the river goddess is celebrated in Kamphaeng Phet, too. There is a parade with floats shaped like oversized krathong (i.e., decorated floats made from banana wood and leaves), a competition for the most beautiful krathong as well as the selection of a beauty queen and different cultural programmes. Most activities are centered around Sirichit Park at the bank of Ping River.
  • Food fair and noodle festival (1-3 December), Noodle dishes are the favourite food of many locals, so an annual fair was established around this theme with many food stalls offering local products around Sirichit Park.


Kamphaeng Phet is famous for a small, round, sweet and aromatic banana variety called “egg bananas” (Thai: kluai khai).

  • Big C Supercenter, 613/1 Charoensuk Road. Large shopping mall with a variety of shops, system catering and a cinema. (updated May 2017)
  • Tesco Lotus, Bamrungrat Road Soi 4. Western-style supermarket with a little mall of a few individual shops and a KFC branch. (updated May 2017)
  • Main daytime market (Between Thanon Bamrungrat und Wichit 2). Wet market selling fresh food and ready-to-eat dishes as well as craft products. (updated May 2017)
  • Talat Ton Pho (small daytime market), Thesa Road 1 Soi 2 (Near the bodhi tree). Mainly food, including ready-to-eat dishes. (updated May 2017)
  • Night market (or “night bazaar”) (Between Sirichit und Thesa 1 Roads). Great variety of food, including ready-to-eat dishes. (updated May 2017)
  • There are several 7-Elevens around the town, one of them next to the main roundabout (next to bodhi tree and clock tower).
  • Banana market, Tambon Ang Thong (On both sides of Hwy 1/Asian Highway, about 14 km south of town). Dozens of stalls selling fresh bananas (ripe or green), fried bananas, bananas baked in honey, and rattan products. (updated May 2017)

The city has branches of all Thai banks. ATMs can also be found at the bus terminal and Big C.


Apart from the local “egg bananas”, local specialties include “grass jelly” (Chao Kuai, เฉาก๊วย), served on ice as a dessert or refreshing snack.


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