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.
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
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Travel by train to Phitsanulok
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.
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.
Hotels Phitsanulok City: Popularity
|Hotel||Stars||Discount||Price before and discount||Select dates|
|Hop Inn Phitsanulok||★★|
|Aziss Boutique Hotel||★★|
|Mayflower Grande Hotel Phitsanulok|
|Pattara Resort & Spa||★★★★★|
|Fortune D Phitsanulok Hotel||★★★|
|Yodia Heritage Hotel||★★★★|
|Topland Hotel & Convention Centre||★★★★|
|The Grand Riverside Hotel||★★★|
|Pyrmont Ville Hotel|
|Rattana Park Hotel||★★★|
|The Imperial Hotel and Convention Centre Phitsanulok||★★★★|
|Wangchan Riverview Hotel|
- 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 , ✉ email@example.com. 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.).
- 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.
Sukhothai | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
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 […]
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.
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
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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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Song Nam Aui Than Festival Song Nam Aui Than Festival is annually held on 12 April, Songkran Ceremony in the SriSathanalai Historical Park. It exhibits the Buddha image procession from Wat Phra Prang to the Historical Park for people who want to pour the water over the Buddha image.
Si Sachanalai Ordination Celebration Si Sachanalai Ordination Festival is called by Thais as “Buat Chang Hat Siao”, held annually during 7–8 April at Ban Hat Sieo, Si Sachanalai District. It features a spectacular procession of ordination candidates in colourful costumes on the backs of some 20-30 decorated elephants.
Sukhothai Loi Krathong and Candle Festival The tradition which was founded in Sukhothai on the banks of the Yom River several hundred years ago derived from traditional Tai beliefs common to communities living along the banks of a river or waterway. It has become a need to worship and supplicate the Khongkla to avoid bad luck, to worship the gods in the Brahmin tradition, or to revere the Buddha’s footprint. The celebrations are normally organized in the 12th month when the tide is high and the air is cool. Sukhothai’s Loi Krathong is held annually on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month at the Sukhothai Historical Park. The Krathongs, or floats, have been made in the form of lotus. There is also a reference, in the Sila Charuek, to candle lighting and playing with firework in a grand festival believed to be similar to the candle lighting and firework as practiced in the current Loi Krathongs Festival. In this festival, there are Nang Nopphamat procession, exhibitions, lighting of lantern at the historical site, Loi Krathong, fireworks over all waterways, and a Krathong competition.
Phra Mae Ya Homage Paying Fair and Sukhothai Red Cross Fair (งานสักการะพระแม่ย่าและงานกาชาดจังหวัดสุโขทัย) This is held at the beginning of February every year around the Sukhothai City Hall, Nirakasem Road, Tambon Thani. A procession paying homage to Phra Mae Ya, a local sports competition, an exhibition, a local handicraft demonstration and entertainment, are held.
Si Satchanalai Elephant Back Ordination Procession (ประเพณีบวชพระแห่นาคด้วยช้างของชาวหาดเสี้ยว) A traditional ceremony of the Thai Phuan, citizens of Ban Hat Siao, Si Satchanalai Elephant Back Ordination Procession or Buat Chang is held annually during 7–8 April at Ban Hat Siao, Si Satchanalai District. The 7th is the crux of the event, when a procession takes place. On the 8th features a spectacular procession of ordination candidates in colourful costumes on the backs of some 20-30 decorated elephants. The ordination ceremony includes head shaving, bathing, and dressing up candidates, as well as, elephants. The procession is held around the village and the Si Satchanalai District Office.
Songkran and Mueang Sawankhalok Festival (งานประเพณีสงกรานต์และเทศกาลเมืองสวรรคโลก) This takes place during 11–15 April annually on the bank of the Yom River, in front of Wat Sawang Arom, by the Yom River, and at the Stadium of the Sawankhalok Municipal School. The procession of Miss Songkran, the Sawankhalok Food Festival, ceremonies of giving alms to monks and bathing rituals for Buddha images and monks are performed in the festival.
Songkran Festival (งานประเพณีสรงน้ำโอยทาน สงกรานต์ศรีสัชนาลัย) An annual celebration of the Thai New Year is held during 12–13 April at Si Satchanalai Historical Park, Si Satchanalai District; this festival carries forward Sukhothai’s tradition. It was mentioned in the famous stone inscription “The Sukhothai people are generous, abide by precepts, and always give charity”, which is believed to be inscribed during the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of the Sukhothai Kingdom. The highlights of the event include the elephant procession, offering rituals to pay respect to Phra Suea Mueang, the tutelary spirit and kings from the Phra Ruang Dynasty, Miss Songkran beauty queen contest, local sport competitions, and cultural performances.
Hae Nam Khuen Hong Festival (งานประเพณีแห่น้ำขึ้นโฮง) This is organized annually during 18 – 19 April at the plaza of Chaopho Mueang Dong Monument, Tambon Ban Tuek, Si Satchanalai District. The ceremony is held to honour “Muen Nakhon” or “Chaopho Mueang Dong”, the establisher of Dong City. He was talented and courageous, as well as specialized in catching elephants and utilising them in war. Later, he was executed to prove his loyalty to King Tilokkarat. Then, the villagers organized a ceremony to pay homage to Chaopho Mueang Dong by preparing a more-than-50-elephant parade wonderfully decorated, passing the village to pay respect to the shrine of Chaopho Khao Mung and onward to the plaza of Chaopho Mueang Dong Monument to pay homage to Chaopho Mueang Dong.
Khao Luang Winning Day (งานวันพิชิตยอดเขาหลวง) This is a yearly event that Sukhothai province has organized for tourists and the local people to climb up to the summit of Khao Luang in the Ramkhamhaeng National Park, Khiri Mat District. The event is held around November every year.
- Rent a bike and explore the ruins of Old Sukhothai (walking will kill you).
- Visit the park at sunrise and admire the Buddha figures in the orange glow of the morning sun.
- Pay a visit to the ruins at Si Satchanalai Historic Park, 55km from New Sukhothai. Few tourists, great sites, quiet. Bike rental at entrance.
- Cycling Route along the Orchards Some visitors enjoy cycling around the orchards and tasting a variety of fruits like pomelo, santol, sapodilla, coconut, star fruit, various kinds of bananas, as well as the tasty and fleshy plum mango (Bouae Macrophylla) with its chicken-egged size.
- Cycling Tambon Ban Tuek Community of Si Satchanalai District. This is a small and peaceful community filled with trees, paddy fields, and scenic mountain ranges, while tourists can enjoy the traditional life of fruit growers. Different types of fruits grown along the hilly terrain include longkong, langsat, mangosteen, durian, banana, pomelo, rambeh, and rambutan.
- A Buddha figure (Sukhothai Historical Park). Available in all historic styles, sizes, and materials. It’s forbidden to export Buddha figures from Thailand, even though it is commonly done.
- Thongchai Wittayu (Electronics) (New Sukhothai). A large electronics shop with good prices for digital cameras, memory cards, MP3s, etc.
- Khanom Kliao (ขนมเกลียว) Snacks of Sukhothai made from wheat flour and egg, seasoned with salt and pepper, and made it into a twist shaped-dough. Fried until crispy and further glacé. It has a sweet taste and is available everywhere.
- Sangkhalok ceramics (เครื่องสังคโลก) These replicas arguably look as good as the originals.
- Thung Luang terra cotta (เครื่องปั้นดินเผา) of Khiri Mat District come in unique patterns. The products include flower pots, vases, basin, water jar, lamps, with perforated decorations of animal fiqures like frogs, bullfrogs, and dogs.
- Butter-baked Banana (กล้วยอบเนย) A well-known snack of Khiri Mat District, it resembles another local sweet called Khanom Rang Nok made from sweet potato. This butter-baked banana snack is made from slicing raw banana horizontally, left to dry for half a day, seasoned with salt, deep fried, adding sugar, and giving it a good stir. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and add butter. This product is available everywhere.
- Local Snacks: Khanom Phing, Thong Muan, Thong Phap, Thong Tan(ขนมผิง ทองม้วน ทองพับ และทองตัน) Famous crispy snacks of various shapes: square, round tube, and thick roll.
- Fried peanuts (ถั่วทอด) of Si Samrong District, also called “200-year fried peanuts”, are a tribute to a technique which has been inherited for many generations. The recipe is a mixture of rice flour, wheat flour, eggs, coconut milk, salt, pepper, chopped wild yam, which are then deep fried.
- Ancient gold reproductions (ทองโบราณ) of Si Satchanalai District are entirely hand-made by skilled workers. These replicas of the Sukhothai style products include necklaces, wristlets, bangles, earrings, rings, etc.
- Ancient silver reproductions (เงินโบราณ) These replicas are entirely hand-made with distinctive skill. They are available at all silver shops in Si Satchanalai District.
- Hat Siao fabric (ผ้าหาดเสี้ยว) comes with nine beautiful patterns woven with the use of a supplementary weft technique, done by the descendants of Thai Phuan, who migrated from the north of Vientiane in Laos.
- Marble products (ผลิตภัณฑ์หินอ่อน) The marble products from Amphoe Thung Saliam – Thoen include tables, chairs, flower pots and alarm clocks.
Sukhothai has its very own specialty noodle dish simply called Sukhothai noodles. They are a blend of Thai rice noodles (khanom chin) mixed with crispy pork, garlic, green beans, coriander, chili, and peanuts in a broth flavored with dark soy sauce.
- Ban Kru Eiw, 203/25 Wichien Chamnong Road (New Sukhothai). One of Sukhothai’s noodle restaurants. Not only Sukhothai noodles, but also Sukhothai-style pad Thai, Vietnamese food, desserts. The restaurant is only open in the daytime which mainly serves for brunch and lunch.
- Chopper Bar, Pravetnakorn Road. A rooftop restaurant and bar with good service, live acoustic guitar music, and Thai and Western menus. From 70 Thai Baht for main course (2017).
- Dream Café, 86/1 Singhawat Road (Downtown New Sukhothai). In a charming rustic old Thai house, serves up a good selection of Thai and Western dishes. Attentive service, eclectic music, and charming decor. There is also a small guesthouse at the back. Chat with the owner Chabah if she’s there. She is a genuine renaissance woman, Thai-style.
- Fueng Fah, 107/2 Th Khuhasuwan. Mainly serves dinner. Also a drinking spot where you can enjoy sipping beer by the Yom River. The food is called “fish food”. Sukhothai local fish (bla) dishes. From 50 Thai Baht.
- Poo Restaurant, Jarod Withitong Road. This is a Belgian-run restaurant offering Thai and Western food and a wide selection of cocktails. From 50-60 Thai Baht for main courses.
- Sukhothai Night Market, Th Ramkhamhaeng. Varieties of local food stalls. The night market is called “to-rung”. It encompasses the food stalls along the Rachathani temple’s fence. From 30 Thai Baht.
Hotels Sukhothai City: Popularity
|Hotel||Stars||Discount||Price before and discount||Select dates|
|Baan Georges Hotel||★★★|
|Nakorn De Sukhothai Hip Hotel||★★★|
|Ruean Thai Hotel||★★★|
|J & J Guesthouse||★★|
|Pai Sukhothai Resort||★★★|
|At Home Sukhothai||★★★|
|Chuan Chom Guesthouse||★|
|Sila Resort Sukhothai||★★★|
|Sukhothai Guest House||★★|
|Ananda Museum Gallery|
|KTT Resort Sukhothai||★★★|
|Happy Guesthouse Bungalow||★|
|Le Sukhothai Resort||★★★|
|Sukhothai Treasure Resort & Spa||★★★★|
- No name Thai Guesthouse, 25/4 Rach-U-Thid Road (Located 1 block after TMB (Thai Military Bank) in market area. Look for sign “LAUNDRY” and “Thai Massage by old person”). Just old house with shared bathroom. Concession rate applied for long-stayers. Handy access to market, banks, conves, net-cafe. Free to use utensils and hot water. Always-helpful-manager is also a certified Thai Massage 150-200 Thai Baht (2017).
- No 4 Guesthouse, 140/4 Soi Maerampan, Jarodwitheethong Road (A 500m walk from the bus station. Look for the signs). Thai style garden bungalows with private bath and veranda with daybed. Has a restaurant; cooking classes and massage available. 300 Thai Baht.
- 4T Guesthouse, 122/7 Soi.Maeramphan (Close to the bus station and No4 Guesthouse). Large bungalows with Fan or A/C. Has a large pool and a restaurant 300-400 Thai Baht (2017).
- 17.0076299.818034 Baan Thai, Pravetnakorn Road. This is a typical guesthouse, with a restaurant and a number of rooms available. Rooms contain a fan and share a bathroom, with hot water available. 300 Thai Baht.
- Gardenhouse. A selection of rooms and bungalows. Free Wi-Fi. 150-350 Thai Baht.
- Happy Guest House. Simple, uninspiring guest House a bit a way from the bussy main road. Staff is friendly but tries to sell. Bargain hard to get a reasonable price! Free wifi and computer access. Some travelers report that the owner wasn’t clear about charges per night and they felt they were overcharged 250-350 Thai Baht (2017).
- Le Sukhothai Resort, 52/7 Loethai Street (Near the backpacker area and behind 7-Eleven.). A nice place to stay. Clean rooms with free Wi-Fi. There is a big difference between rooms. Take some time to check and bargain the price. You also get two Singha (500 ml) water bottles per day and dodgy bicycles to choose from for free. Plus they run a nice homey restaurant with OK prices. The staff are friendly and attentive. 200+ Thai Baht.
- New City Guesthouse, 82/7 Moo 13, Charodwithithong Road (Next to House Sabaidee. There are signs all way from the bus station to town). Clean rooms with big bed, fan and private bathroom with hot shower. Run by a Thai- and English-speaking Japanese woman and her tuk-tuk-driving Thai husband. 180+ Thai Baht.
- Sila Resort, 3/49 Moo 1 Wat Khooha Suwan Road (Near the bus station. Free pickup). Very welcoming and efficient young staff. Rooms are nicely decorated, the bungalows are very nice too. Rooms have fan or air-con and shared or en suite bath. 200+ Thai Baht.
- TR Guest House. Family-run guesthouse. Rooms with fan and air-con and bungalows with fan. All with private shower and toilet. Free Wi-Fi. Motorbikes for rent. Advice on touring the old and new city. Good for the price. 250-450 Thai Baht.
- Yupa, Pravetnakorn Road. This is a teak house with a small number of basic rooms and some dorm beds. With fans, cold water and shared bathrooms, these are a good value. 120+ Thai Baht.
- At Home Guesthouse (In front of Sukhothai Guesthouse). Very friendly staff, good information and free maps, very clean rooms with private bathrooms. Wi-Fi in all rooms. Small restaurant. Tuk-tuk price from bus station: 40 Thai Baht (day), 100 Thai Baht (night). The owner organises great trips around town. Wide selection of maps, guides and travel info at your disposal. 450 to 650 Thai Baht.
- Lotus Village, 170 Ratchathanee St. A cosy boutique hotel in the heart of town. All rooms are in Thai-style teak houses with verandas, surrounded by fish ponds, lotus flowers and beautiful tropical gardens. The lobby is an excellent place to relax and read a large selection of magazines, books and newspapers. Other services include local transport, travel bookings, cars with driver, and guides in French and English.
- Mountain View Guesthouse, 23/3 Moo 8. Guesthouse with 6 rooms and swimming pool. Breakfast included. Owners very helpful and will take you to and from the historical park, which is 4 km away.
- Orchid Hibiscus Guesthouse, 407/2,Old City Sukhothai. A small guesthouse with clean rooms, a swimming pool, and Italian/Thai owners. It is within biking distance to the old city, but there are only two restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. The owner is well-versed in English and is very helpful. There is Wi-Fi, breakfast and a garden.
- Ruean Thai Hotel, 181/20 Soi Pracharuammit, Jarodwithithong Road , fax: +66 55 612456, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A big Thai house with a nice swimming pool in the city. Helpful staff.
- Sawasdee Sukhothai Resort (1.5 km away from Sukhothai Historical Park) , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: Noon. Eco-friendly hotel. 15 bungalows, all featuring a comfy bed, hardwood floors, private bathroom with hot water, AC, TV, fridge, kettle, desk, terrace. Free Wi-Fi accessible from the whole property, 24-hour security, friendly staff members, with the front desk ones speaking an excellent English. Free buffet breakfast 07:00-10:00. Extra services such as free cookies & tea/coffee all day long, umbrellas provided when it rains. Bicycle rental possible. Snack bar. Plenty of restaurants around. Swimming pool 09:00-21:00. English landscape garden with benches, hammocks, wooden games for adults and kids. Low season: starting at 1200 Thai Baht, 1600 Thai Baht for pool/garden view. (updated May 2018)
- Hotel Sawasdipong, 56/2-5 Singhawat Road, City Central (A 50 Thai Baht tuk-tuk ride from the bus station). Rooms are air-con with TV and bar fridge. Has a restaurant and there are others within walking distance including street stalls. 390 Thai Baht (room only), 500 Thai Baht (including Western breakfast).
- Sukhothai Guest House, 68 Wicheanchumnong Road. A family guesthouse with clean rooms, beautiful decorated garden. You can relax in front of the room on a teak terrace. The Panang curry is a highlight of the restaurant.
- Thai Thai Sukhothai Guest House, 407/4 Moo 3 Napho-Khirimas Road, Old City Sukhothai (Behind the Orchid Hibiscus). Beautiful bungalow-style guesthouse. Each bungalow is air conditioned and has a small terrace and garden view. Reception lends bicycles (50 Thai Baht/day), so everywhere you need is only a 5-min ride away. Massage in your room possible. 1,000 Thai Baht+ with breakfast..
Sukhothai town has one main government hospital, Sukhothai Hospital. Another large government hospital called Srisangworn Sukhothai Hospital, is in Si Samrong District, 22 kilometers distant. Ruam Phaet Sukhothai Hospital is the only private hospital in the province and is across from Sukhothai Hospital.
- Kamphaeng Phet — historic town
- Si Satchanalai — Sukhothai’s twin city
- Bangkok Despite two large signs detailling explicitly the bus schedule with class and prices, 3 different bus compagnies (WinTour, Transport and another one) explained us that no 2nd class buses are running anymore. Only 1st class and VIP buses. They claimed that the sign was wrong, then that it was old, until finally somebody said that ALL the 2nd class buses are broken down! It seems tourists are now charged first class prices (310 Thai Baht) vs economy class (240 bath) – at least I did. Each companies have buses running every hour. The ride takes 7-8h depending on the traffic and stop multiple times until Mo Chit 2 (Chatuchak) in Bangkok.
- Chiang Mai For 230bht from the bus station you can take a bus. First in the morning is 6h30.
- Ayutthaya there are government buses at 13h, 15h and 18h
Kamphaeng Phet | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
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 […]
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are dozens of small restaurants, but only very few are attuned to foreign guests. English menus are pretty rare. The night market (starting 17:00) is particularly good for cheap and varied eats, having countless stalls serving ready-to-eat or made-to-order dishes. It is on Tesa 1 between Bamrungrat and Soi 14. During the day Ton Pho Market between Tesa 1 and Rachadamnoen, first soi south from Kamphaengphet/101 is a good bet for food.
Another popular meal is Mu kratha (หมูกระทะ), offered at several open-air restaurants in town. Guests come in groups and take different ingredients (mostly pork) from a buffet to cook them on a small barbecue or in a hot pot at their tables (somewhat comparable to a raclette or fondue meal).
While a handful of restaurants are open until around midnight much of the town shuts up pretty early, between 20:00 and 21:00; even the night market is winding down by that time. Bear this in mind when planning your dinner.
- Bami Chakangrao (บะหมี่ชากังราว), Ratchadamnoen 1 Road (Sign only in Thai script, recognisable by the green shield and light-green awning). Simple, but popular restaurant, mainly serving yellow noodle dishes (e.g., with tom yum soup) and grilled pork skewers. Video clip presenting the restaurant (Thai). (updated May 2017)
- Kai Yang Phi Paeo (ไก่ย่างพี่แป๋ว), Soi Ratchawithi 5 (Only Thai signage). Daily, 08:00-17:00. Offers delicious grilled chicken, som tam and other spicy Northeastern Thai dishes. There is an air conditioned and a non-AC room. Video clip (Thai). (updated May 2017)
- Khrua Rim Khlong (ครัวริมคลอง), Soi Suk Sakun, Nakhon Chum (Off Hwy 1 to Tak; turn left to the byroad at the Esso filling station before the bridge, at the end of the road turn left again). Rustic open-air restaurant in a garden by the riverside, serving mainly dishes with freshwater fish. (updated May 2017)
- Supha Phochana (สุภา โภชนา), 18-20 Soi 8 Ratchadamnoen 1 Road (Sign with golden Thai letters on a red background). Simple, very popular restaurant for authentic Thai food. Specialty of the house is Tom Lueat Moo (soup with clotted pig blood). (updated May 2017)
- Suphap Phat Thai Nakhon Chum (สุภาพผัดไทยนครชุม), Nakhon Chum market (on the opposite side of the river). Small restaurant and takeaway, supposedly making (according to locals) the best pad Thai. (updated May 2017)
- Fourest, 55 Ratchadamnoen 2 Road (At the south gate of Historical Park (Khet Aranyik), opposite Wat Phra Kaeo). Daily, 11:00-23:00. Restaurant and café with a large garden at the edge of Historical Park. Serves European beers. Live music evenings. (updated May 2017)
- Kitti Restaurant (กิตติโภชนา, Kitti Phochana), 287 Wichit 2 Road (Corner of Bamrungrat Road; round building with glass door, Chinese lanterns, red sign with gold lettering). Daily, 09:00-22:00. Large and long-standing Chinese restaurant with diverse selection of dishes. A little expensive. (updated May 2017)
- Mae Ping Riverside (แม่ปิงริเวอร์ไซด์), 50/1 Moo 2, Nakhon Chum (On the opposite bank of Ping River). Large choice in dishes, mainly (but not only) freshwater fish; draught beer; seats directly on the riverbank with a beautiful view of the town; frequently live music in the evening. (updated May 2017)
- Oasis Bar & Restaurant, 143-3 Moo 10, Nakhon Chum (Six km outside the city centre; 1.2 km off Hwy 1 to Tak—signposted). German owner and chef; German and Thai dishes, burger, pizza, lasagne; various German beers; meeting place of Western expats. (updated May 2017)
- Sathanee Steak (สถานีสเต็ก), Ratchadamnoen 1 Road (Near night market and Navarat Hotel). Quaint restaurant and café with antiques in the American 1920s to ’50s style. As its name implies, mostly steaks are served. Video. (updated May 2017)
- Tori Japanese Restaurant, 168/9 Rat Ruam Chai Road (On the ring road surrounding the city centre; recognisable by Japanese-style decoration and lettering). Noon-14:00 and 16:00-21:00, closed Tu. Small Japanese restaurant, serving sushi, ramen and the like. (updated May 2017)
- There are branches of the usual chains (KFC, MK, Pizza Company, etc.) at Big C Supercenter.
Like any Thai town with more than a handful of people, Kamphaeng Phet has been overrun with cafes serving a wide range of espresso-based beverages. Most also have a selection of cakes.
- About Coffee by Dao, Vichit 1 Road. 08:00-23:00. Cozy café with fresh coffee and espresso-derivatives; free Wi-Fi. About halfway between downtown and National Museum/Historical Park. (updated May 2017)
- Coffee Mania, Charoensuk Road (Corner of Thesaban 1; on the right side of the yellow filling station). Cozy, retro-styled café; offers espresso, cappuccino, frappes, etc. Owner speaks English. (updated May 2017)
- Cake Pond (เค้กปอนด์) (At the traffic circle near the clocktower (intersection of Tesa 1 and Kamphaengphet/101)). 07:00-?. Bakery, coffee shop. Lots of breads, mini pizzas and cake options at reasonable prices. Two muffins for 30 Thai Baht, tasty and a good deal. Air-con. Espresso 35 Thai Baht.
- Coffee Today (Intersection of Tesa 1 Road and Kamphaengphet Road. Look for the clock and the fountain). A popular coffee shop. Cappuccino at 50 Thai Baht, selection of sweet snacks, Wi-Fi. On the street corner opposite the town fountain.
There are at least three cafes on Wichien/Rachavitee. Starting from Rachadumnoen heading towards 3J Guesthouse, look on the south side of the road…
- Ba-Gan Tim. 09:00-21:00. Identifiable by the cute cow sign next to the chalk board. Serves cakes. Has A/C. Espresso 30 Thai Baht.
- In Coffee. A small stall affair with only a couple of tables. espresso 25 Thai Baht.
- Coffee Club (เสือยิ้ม, Suea Yim) (200 m west of Three J Guest House). 08:00-18:00. Comfortable sofas and some great coffee. They also provide a free pot of green tea with each cup of coffee. Has A/C and Wi-Fi, and serves cakes. Espresso 30 Thai Baht.
Vijit 2 has two cafes within 200 m heading south from Wichien, the first in a 16.47505299.5304446 bookshop (09:00-20:00, espresso, 30 Thai Baht, air-con, free Wi-Fi) and the next, 16.47437499.5306297 Sugar Cane Coffee (espresso, 40 Thai Baht, air-con, free Wi-Fi) about 50 m further on. Both are on the east side of the street and also serve cakes.
- 3 TIME Pub & Restaurant, 4-6 Prachahansa Road. Daily, 18:00-02:00. Hip bar (at least by the standards of a provincial town), live music. (updated May 2017)
- Banana Pub. Night club in the basement of Phet Hotel with a stage for live music and go-go dance. (updated May 2017)
- Common Coffee, 141 Thesa 1 Road (Next to Chakungrao Hotel). Daily, 10:00-23:00. Small café and cocktail bar, large variety of imported beer in bottles. Cocktails 129+ Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
- Eagle Pub, 61 Bamrungrat Road (Corner of Charoensuk Soi 2). (updated May 2017)
- Rong Tiam (โรงเตี๊๊ยม), Thesa 1 Soi 9 (Alley between Thanon Thesa 1 and Ratchadamnoen 1; old wooden house with red lanterns and Chang beer sign; name plate is only in Thai). Cozy and relaxed pub; live music on some days, starting around 21:00. (updated May 2017)
Where to stay in Kamphaeng Phet
Note that some resorts are in Nakhon Chum, on the opposite bank of Ping River. They may be cheaper, but you can only go by car or bicycle (3 km on a not-so-idyllic road) to downtown.
Hotels Kamphaeng Phet: Popularity
|Hotel||Stars||Discount||Price before and discount||Select dates|
|La Riva Boutique Hotel||★★★★|
|Scenic Riverside Resort||★★★★|
|Chakungrao Riverview Hotel||★★★|
|Ruen Thai Ban Rim Nam|
|Baan Din Baramee Resort||★★★|
|Golden Place Guesthouse||★★|
|home by the bridge||★★|
|Techno Riverview Resort||★★|
|FIG Boutique Hotel||★★★|
|Three J Guesthouse||★★|
|Navarat Heritage Hotel||★★|
|White Wall Riverfront Hotel||★★★|
|Rainbow House Resort||★★|
|Hin Sai Resotel|
|P Resort Hotel||★★|
|Baan Suanphet Resort||★★★|
|Ban Poh Garden House|
- 16.478699.53551 3 J Guesthouse, 79 Rachavitee Road (About 2 km S of city centre). Check-out: noon. Low cost, basic rooms (entirely adequate and clean), fan and shared bathroom or air-con and en-suite bathroom, very pleasant garden environment, cozy common room. Small range of food offered, bicycles and motorbikes (200 Thai Baht a day) for hire. Family-run business, good spoken English, helpful advice about touring the town and ruins, organises trekking and day trips with minivan and driver. Laundry service, pickup from bus terminal or Bangkok airport on request. 1.5 km to night market, 2 km to historical park (inner district). 250-500 Thai Baht.
- 16.47300499.5210592 Grandview Resort, 34/4 Moo 2, Nakhon Chum (On the opposite side of the river). AC rooms 350 Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
- 16.47129699.5216813 Techno Riverview Resort, 27/27 Moo 2, Nakhon Chum (On the opposite side of the river). One of the larger and fancier resorts on the bank of Ping River (59 rooms). Different room categories, all clean and convenient with AC, en suite bathroom, cable TV, fridge. AC room with riverview 500 Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
- Chakungrao Riverview Hotel, 149 Thesa 1 Road. The city’s most prestigious hotel (115 rooms on six floors), claims four stars (but only deserves three by international standards). All rooms have AC, balcony, satellite TV, minibar. Spa area, karaoke. Only a few steps to the riverside, Sirichit Park, 200 m to night market, under 2 km to historical park (inner district). 1000+ Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
- Navarat Heritage Hotel, 2 Soi 21 Tesa 1 Road, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. All rooms with AC, satellite TV, minibar. Bicycle hire. Directly at the night market, 100 m to Ping River bank, about 2 km to historical park (inner district). 1100+ Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
- Phet Hotel, 189 Bamrungrat Road, ✉ email@example.com. Mass hotel (155 rooms), large rooms (c. 33 sq.m) with AC, bathtub, cable TV, minibar. 700+ Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
- P. Paradise Hotel, 58 Thesaban 2 Road Soi 1, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Neat small resort (10 rooms), large rooms (32 sq. m) with AC, bathtub, veranda, flatscreen TV, DVD player, fridge, water kettle. Swimming pool, large garden with playground, restaurant and café; free WiFi; karaoke, massage, laundry, shuttle service. 1.2 km to night market, 2.5 km to historical park (inner district). Video review 1,200 Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
- Praepimpalai Thai Spa & Resort, 33/3 Moo 2, Nakhon Chum (On the opposite side of the river), ✉ email@example.com. Small, comfortable resort (7 rooms) around a pool; spacious and cozy non-smoking rooms (36 sq.m) with AC, patio/balcony, flatscreen TV, fridge/minibar; free Wi-Fi, free pickup at bus terminal; bicycles, motorbikes and kayaks for hire, sauna, massage and spa treatments. 900+ Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
- Scenic Riverside Resort, 325/16 Tesa 2 Road, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Relaxing place to stay, 7 individually furnished units including a small “villa” with 2 bedrooms; all rooms with bathtub, AC, TV, DVD player, balcony or terrace, barbecue area; resort has a large garden, pool, bicycles for rent, restaurant, free Wi-Fi. Lots of local info, close to the historical park. 1,500+ Thai Baht (incl. breakfast, more expensive on weekends and during high season).
Telecommunications in Kamphaeng Phet
- Thailand Post, Chakangrao Post Office, Thanon Thesa 1 (300 m east of the clock tower/bodhi tree roundabout). (updated May 2017)
- Hot springs of Phra Ruang, Tambon Lan Dok Mai (25 km north of the main town: Follow Hwy 101 north (towards Sukhothai) out of Kamphaeng Phet for 13 km, then turn left and 12 km up this road you’ll come upon the springs.). Admission 30 Thai Baht, private cabin for bathing 50 Thai Baht. (updated May 2017)
- Khlong Lan National Park and waterfalls, Amphoe Khlong Lan (60 km southwest of Kamphaeng Phet; songthaeos from Kamphaeng Phet market to Khlong Lan village, hitchhike the last 6 km to the national park; or go by car, motorbike or chartered minivan, “Khlong Lan” or “Khlong Lan National Park” is signposted in Roman script from Hwy 1/Asian Hwy). (updated May 2017)
- Mae Wang National Park, Amphoe Pang Sila Thong (65 km southwest of Kamphaeng Phet; only by car, motorbike or chartered minivan). (updated May 2017)
- Tak, 70 km northwest, 1:10 hr by Chiang Mai-bound buses or songthaew (half-hourly), in Tak you can transfer to Mae Sot at the Burmese border
- Sukhothai, 80 km north, 1½ hours by bus or songthaew – the former Siamese capital is another, even more comprehensive historic town from the same era as Kamphaeng Phet
- Phitsanulok, 100 km northeast, 2–3 hours by local bus – trade city and transportation hub, several temples and a huge golden Buddha statue
- Nakhon Sawan, 120 km southeast, 1:45 hr by Bangkok-bound buses – near Bueng Boraphet wetland and bird reserve, notable for its many water lilies
- Phichit, 120 km east – the town is the setting of a legend about the crocodile king, illustrated by a crocodile park
Mae Hong Son | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
Mae Hong Son (แม่ฮ่องสอน) is a city (pop. 7,000) in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand. Get in View over Mae Hong Son Lake By plane Non-stop 30 minute flights from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son Airport (HGN) are flown daily by Nok Air By road Mae Hong Son is 924 km from Bangkok. […]
Mae Hong Son (แม่ฮ่องสอน) is a city (pop. 7,000) in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand.
Stay with our Hotel Partners in Mae Hong Son
The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.
Mae Hong Son is 924 km from Bangkok. Drive from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and then choose a route to Mae Hong Son. There are two road options from Chiang Mai, each taking 5-6 hours by car:
- Chiang Mai—Hot—Mae Sariang—Khun Yuam—Mae Hong Son (Rte 108) totals a distance of 349 km. This is the easier drive, especially the Chiang Mai to Mae Sariang part.
- Chiang Mai—Mae Malai—Pai—Mae Hong Son (Rte 1095), a distance of 236 km but with 1,864 curves. While this is the more scenic route, it is more demanding of the driver.
Regular bus services connect Mae Hong Son with Chiang Mai (Arcade Bus Terminal). The trip will take at least 7-8 hours. A better option is the minibus, also leaving from Arcade in Chiang Mai, which only takes 5.5 hours but costs 250 Thai Baht. If you’re going by bus, you can choose the northern (Pai) or southern (Mae Sariang) route. The northern route is a little faster. The new bus station in Mae Hong Son is about a 15 minute walk from the centre of town to the southwest. The bus station is set on a seemingly deserted street that runs parallel to the main road in town.
There is also an overnight bus to Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) which takes about 15 hours.
Sombat Tour, operates an air conditioned bus which runs directly from Bangkok to Mae Hong Son every day. The bus departs from Chatuchak (Mo Chit 2) Bus Terminal at 15:00, 17:00, and 18:00 with a fare of 718 Thai Baht.
Travel by train to Mae Hong Son
The nearest train station is at Chiang Mai. One can travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by rail and then continue to Mae Hong Son by bus. For more information, call 1699, +66 2 2237010, +66 2 2237020 or visit Thai State Railways.
This is a small town so walking is the way to get around. There are bicycles for rent from Titan Internet shop (across from the 7-11 and post office). To do anything in the surrounding areas a motorbike, or at least a bicycle, is needed.
The new bus station seems like it is in the middle of nowhere and the tuk-tuk and motorbike taxi guys love that. A ride to the centre (including most guest houses) costs 80 Thai Baht, but really it’s only a 10-15 minute walk to the centre of town. You should just turn left out of the bus station and walk straight until you hit the golden statue. Walking up next to the statue, the station is just a bit further towards the city center.
Walk around the picturesque lake and visit the surrounding wats. Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu (aka Wat Phai Doi) overlooks the town from the west and offers superb views.
- Ban Rak Thai (Mae Aw). A Kuomintang (KMT) village near the Myanmar border. On your way up (or down), you can stop by Mae Hong Son (Ruam Thai), a picturesque Shan minority village high in the mountains.
- Pang Ung. Often referred to as Ruam Thai on some signs and maps, is a Shan Minority Village near Mae Hong Son. It should be combined with a trip to Ban Rak Thai. It is a picturesque village of bamboo houses, probably dolled up a bit for the tourist industry. Bamboo grows everywhere, including one stand at least 80 feet tall. There are one or two restaurants. It is unclear what they serve. Shopkeepers and restaurant owners speak some English, but this is not as heavily touristed as one might expect, so communication will be limited if you don’t speak Thai. There are at least two homestays here, and another guesthouse in the town between Pang Ung and the main road. From Mae Hong Song, follow signs for Ban Rak Thai, but at the village of Na Pa Paek, turn left, following the signs for “Pang Ung Reservoir,” or something of the sort. The signs are not exactly consistent, but if it indicates a reservoir, you are going the right direction. It is about 5.5 km from the turn-off, at N19 29.955, E097 54.705.
- Fish Cave (Thumpla) (Near the village of Huay Pha, about 17 km from Mae Hong Son via Hwy 1095). This is a beautiful spot to escape the heat. A water channel that wends its way out of a small submerged cave. What is inside the cave is still unknown, but it astoundingly draws thousands of the “Pluang-Hin” fish into the cave, with only a small number of them coming back out.
- Pha Sua Waterfall (26 km from Mae Hong Son on the road to Pai). This waterfall consists of six levels and offers some fine walks. This waterfall is about 20 m high and 30 m wide. It is said to be the most beautiful waterfall in Mae Hong Son Province. In rainy season, the cascading water makes the waterfall look like a rolling mat.
- Thampla-Phasua Waterfall National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติ ถ้ำปลา – น้ำตกผาเสื่อ). This national park covers more than 488 km of the “Thanon Thongchai” range that separates Thailand from Burma. “Doi Larn” is the highest peak in the area, with an elevation of about 1,918 m.
- Hiking. One of the main reasons for tourist to go to Mae Hong Son is to go hiking in the surrounding mountains and visiting hill tribe villages. Nearly every guesthouse offers tours.
- Mae Hong Son Loop. The provincial capital of Mae Hong Son is only one part of this vast and beautiful mountainous province. Explore the rest of the province by taking the popular Mae Hong Son Loop which travels through the province on a circuit that starts and ends in Chiang Mai.
- Night Market (At the lake). Interesting market where you can buy art and handicrafts from hill tribe people.
Typical northern food consists of:
- Nam phrik ong – a type of nam phrik chili paste that is made of minced pork and tomatoes. It is usually eaten with soft-boiled vegetables, pork crackling or deep-fried crunchy rice cakes.
- Nam phrik num – another kind of paste that is popular in the north and eaten by Thais of all regions. It is often eaten with pork crackling.
- Sai ua – a local sausage that is very aromatic and spicy, and usually is eaten with sticky rice.
- Kaeng – a Thai curry
- Kaeng Hang-Le – a northern-style pork curry.
- Kaeng Om – a spicy curry made with intestines.
- Kaeng khae – a spicy vegetable curry.
- Khanom Chin Nam ngiao – a traditional northern chicken noodle dish.
- Khao Soi – a noodle dish that can be made from chicken, pork, or beef. It contains coconut milk and is garnished with garlic.
- Khao Som – cooked rice mixed with turmeric and tomato. Eaten with fried chilies and green peas.
- Khao Lhueng – cooked rice mixed with turmeric. Made into a small ball and sprinkled with fried onion. It is usually eaten with pork balls.
- Khaow Kan Chin – cooked rice mixed with the blood of fowls and steamed with fried onion. It is eaten with fried chilies.
- Tua Pae Yee – dipped fried soybeans
- Tau Pae Lau – fried soybeans with salt.
- Souy Tamin – a dessert, made of sticky rice, coconut milk, and cane sugar.
Many restaurants are along the main road and the night market where there are also many food-stalls. There is a nice evening food market by the old jail, nowadays a table tennis club, close to the monument to the Shan king.
- Bai Fern Restaurant, 87 Khunlumprapas Road—87 ถนนขุนลุมประพาส. An upscale restaurant with a pleasant atmosphere featuring Northern Thai specialties. Live (easy listening) music in the evenings. Affiliated with the Fern Resort (resort guests coming to town by shuttle drop off here).
- Holland Club (Mok and Maew Souvenir) (Corner of Khunlun Praphat Road and Rung Ruang Kaan Ka Road. Look for the windmill out front.). Nice place to sit back and relax with a coffee and home baked apple pie (fresh out of the oven if you time it right). Browse the teak carvings, chat with the lovely lady who owns the place or browse the Dutch news printouts.
- JiJi Restaurant. Closed Su. A larger restaurant just 30 m from the gates of the city airport is the best value for your budget money when you want to order vegetarian Western food. Of course the owner Lek is also fantastic at cooking Thai food.
- Kai Mook, 23 Udom Chao Nithet Road (A few doors down from the corner with Khunlumprapas). Don’t miss the stuffed pork leg, and the fish sausage stuffed inside a deep fried snake head fish.
- Meeting (SW corner of the lake). 08:00-23:00. Good coffee, good breakfast, free Wi-Fi.
- Salween River Restaurant (Near the lake, next to PA Motors), ✉ email@example.com. Great food, people and atmosphere. Nan, the Shan owner, can cook up some amazing Shan/Thai/Western dishes. Try the Khao Soi, Burmese green tea salad, gai oup, or the green curry. Also good are the bread, pizza, and burgers. They have Wi-Fi and a big library of books that you can swap one-for-one for free. 30-300 Thai Baht.
- Baiyoke Chalet (On the main road opposite the post office.). Mae Hong Son’s own kind of night club. Listen to live music, the same band plays almost every evening of the week, and enjoy the Thai audience singing along and dancing around the tables.
- Crossroads (At the intersection between the main north-south road and the road leading to the hospital). The one pub that caters to both Thai and Westerners.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||less than 500 Thai Baht|
|Mid-range||500-1,500 Thai Baht|
|Splurge||over 1,500 Thai Baht|
Mae Hong Son has a broad range of guest houses, mainly clustered around the lake. There are several hotels within the city. If you’ve got your own transport there are several more resorts farther out of town. Take a look before checking in because there are always changes.
Hotels Mae Hong Son City: Popularity
|Hotel||Stars||Discount||Price before and discount||Select dates|
|The Imperial Mae Hong Son Resort||★★★★|
|Banviewnam Camping & Resort||★★★|
|Sang Poy Cottage|
|Sang Tong Huts||★|
|Saksuay Klangdoi Resort||★★|
|Suan Mork Kham Resort||★★|
|The Like View Guesthouse||★★|
|Baan Rom Mai||★★|
|Hotel Siblanburi Resort||★★★|
|Banbondoi Homestay บ้านบนดอย แม่ฮ่องสอน|
|The Point Villa Mae Hong Son||★★★|
|Mae Hong Son Mountain Inn & Resort||★★★|
|Mava Muscosa Guesthouse||★★|
- Look Dtai Homestay, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Owned and operated by a Shan lady. 100-300 Thai Baht.
- Friend House, 20 Phaditchongkam Road (Near the lake, next to Chili bar.). Owned and operated by a very nice Shan family. It’s simple and cheap. The downstairs can be a bit loud if you’re sleeping late and others are talking over their breakfasts. Great fruit salad. 13 rooms. 100-350 Thai Baht.
- Johnnie Guest House, 5/1 Udomchawnitech Road (Near the lake, but you’ll have to walk about two blocks to get to it.). Eight rooms. 100-250 Thai Baht.
- Palm House, 22/1 Chamnansahait Road. Fourteen large, clean rooms near the lake with TV/UBC cable. 350-600 Thai Baht..
- Prince’s House (Next to Johnnie Guest House). Shared bath twins. Lake view rooms with en suite baths. 150+ Thai Baht.
- Yok Guest House, 14 Sirimongkol Road. Nine rooms. 200-300 Thai Baht.
- JongKam Palace (North side of the lake, a few hundred metres from Johnnie’s). Bungalows, large rooms with king size beds, air-con, hot showers, free Wi-Fi, pleasant gardens. 600 Thai Baht.
- Pana Huts. Fan rooms with hot showers. 600-750 Thai Baht.
- Piya Guest House, 1/1 Khunlumphrapat Soi 3, fax: +66 53 612308. Clean rooms, many with TVs and all with air-con. Good location. 14 rooms. 700 Thai Baht.
- The Residence@Maehongson, 41/4 Nivetpisarn Road (300 m from the morning market). Check-out: 11:00. Each guest room is equipped with air-con, TV, refrigerator, en suite bath (hot showers) and free Wi-Fi. Free bicycles available. 900-1,300 Thai Baht..
- Fern Resort (7 km from the centre of Mae Hong Son), fax: +66 53 686111, ✉ email@example.com. Well appointed 2-bed bungalows dot the expansive and attractively landscaped grounds of the resort. Guides can be hired for a hike in nearby Mae Surin National Park. No TVs in rooms, and the Wi-Fi is slow. 2,500-3,500 Thai Baht, includes breakfast.
- Rooks Holiday Hotel & Resort, 114/5-7 Khunlumprapas Road. One of the more upmarket places in Mae Hong Son and offers wooden cottages as well as standard hotel rooms. It’s a little bit out of town, but within 10-15 minute walk of the night market/city centre. Some of the cottages are in need of a little refurbishing so take a look before check-in. 3,400-9,000 Thai Baht, web discount available.
- Mae Sariang
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