Kamphaengphet is an ancient city of more than 700 years, situated on the left bank of Mae Nam Ping. It was formerly called "Cha Kang Rao" and "Nakhon Chum". It is an important archaeological site and its impressive ruins attest to the splendor of its early past. Kamphaengphet occupies an area of 8,607.5 square kilometers and is located 358 kms. from Bangkok. It is administratively divided into 7 Amphoes and 2 King Amphoes: Muang, Phran Kratai, Khlong Khlung, Khanu Woralaksaburi, Sai Ngam, Lan Krabu; Khlong Lan, King Amphoe Thung Sai and Pang Sila Thong.
Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park is located 5 kms. from town along Kamphaeng Phet - Phran Kratai Road. The archaeological sites in the ancient city of Kamphaeng Phet are now under renovation by the Fine Arts Departments and are open to the public everyday from 8:30 -16:30 hrs. The admission fee is 20 baht.
The ancient ruins in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park are divided into 2 areas:
Inside The Citywalls
Kamphaeng Phet National Museum, located behind Wat Phra Kaeo, was officially opened in early 1970. It contains 'art and archaeological objects of various periods from excavations in Kamphaeng Phet and all over Thailand.
Wat Phra Kaeo is situated in the heart of Kamphaeng Phet City. Its walls are made of whole slabs of round sand stone laid parallel to the city walls. All structures within the monastery are made of sand stone and it is presided over by a large, Sri Lankan style pagoda.
Wat Phrathat is the second largest monastery located within the city, just east of Wat Phra Kaeo. It is presided over by a pagoda built of sand stone and bricks, surrounded by a Vihara with sand stone walls having a gate on each side. The construction is classical Kamphaeng Phet style.
San Phra Isuan is situated behind the Provincial Court. The structure has a square sand stone base with 1.5 meters high floor and a staircase. On the Chuk Chi pedestal is a recently cast bronze of Isuan God. (The original image is displayed in Kamphaeng Phet Nation Museum). During the reign of King Rama V, a German tourist secretly removed the head and hands of the idol and brought them to Bangkok (in 1886). The Ruler of Kamphaeng Phet notified Bangkok about the incident and the King personally requested the return of the head and hands. A replica was cast and graciously given as a replacement, which is now displayed in the Museum of Berlin, Germany.
The City Pillar Shrine was built by King Woraman during Sukhothai Period. It is highly respected by Kamphaeng Phet residents.
Luang Pho Mo image is housed in a monastery in the heart of Kamphaeng Phet City. It is believed, by the faithful, that it is capable of preventing rainfall.
Outside The Citywalls
Wat Chang Rop is a big monastery on a hill with a large pagoda located in the center of the courtyard. The pagoda is supported by 68 half-bodied elephants (head and forelegs). This monastery has sand stone walls and is of early Ayutthaya or late Sukhothai architecture.
Wat Chang Rop
Wat Phra Non is the renovated Buddhist monastery with four laterite walls. Within its compound, there are a square-shaped well and bathrooms. Its chapel, whose base and pillars are made of laterite, has the boundary stones (or SEMA) carved as a diety in the Thai salute manner and other delicate designs. Behind the church is situated a vihara housing the reclining image of Buddha. The vihara's wall was partly cut into space blocks replaced by balusters. Another striking sight is its large pillars. Nowadays, this construction styles are rarely found.
Wat Phra Si Ariyabot is locally called "Wat Phra Yun". It is fronted by a large pond. The walls are of vertics sand stone slabs. They are decorated on each side with Buddha images cast in each of the four attitudes of Reclining, Walking, Standing and Sitting.
Wat Sing might have been constructed during both Sukhothai and Ayutthaya period because of its mixed-styles of Arts.
Wat Awat Yai is a vast monastery, consisting of many pagodas and viharas, situated on the road to Amphoe Phran Kratai, about three kilometers north of Saphan Khom Gate. Its walls are of sand stone and in its courtyard is a large octagonal pagoda. In front of the monastery on the road side, there is a big square pond called "Bo Sam Saen" with a sand stone floor.
Muang Nakhon Chum and Muang Trai Trung are two ancient towns. Muang Nakhon Chum is located on the east bank of the Ping River. The town's earthen wall, 2-3 meters high, was built in rectangular shape. Within the precinct, there are old Buddhist monasteries. The important one is Wat Phra Borommathat. Muang Trai Trung is located 18 Kms. away from Kamphaeng Phet City to the south along the Khampheng Phet -Khlong Lan route. Since its ancient structures have been gradually destroyed by time, only the remains of some Chedis can be seen.
Sirichit Park is a multi-purpose public park, located on the bank of Maenam Ping opposite Chakangrao Hotel. It has a sports field, flower garden, tourism public relations center and night bazaar.
Khao Son - Khao Sanam Phriang Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Tambon Kosamphi west of Kamphaeng Phet. It is another major tourist attraction developed by the Province as a natural resort. Trips to the park begin from the township area at Km. 358 of Kamphaeng Phet - Tak Highway. Turn left at Km. 380 for 9 kms.
Namtok Khlong Lan National Park is located about 65 kms. west of Kamphaeng Phet along the road to Amphoe Khlong Lan. Attractions in the area of the park are:
Khlong Lan waterfall is a medium - sized waterfall that flows year round. In the vicinity of the waterfall, there are several hill tribe villages, where one may see Yao, Meo and Karen people.
Khlong Nam Lai or Pang Kwai waterfall is a 9-level waterfall located 16 kms. from Namtok Khlong Lan where there is an access road to the waterfall. It a National Park and flows year round.
Khlong Lan Hilltribe Handicraft Center is located at the entrance to Khlong Lan Waterfall. The center gives support to the area hilltribes in improving their standard of living. Souvenirs and products of each hilltribe are on sale.
Mae Wong National Park is about 79 kilometers from the provincial town on Khlonglan - Umphang highway. Its tourist attractions include waterfalls, lookout posts, hot springs and nature study walk route. For park accommodation, please contact National Parks Division, Royal Forestry Department. Tel, 5790529, 5794842.
Nop Phra Len Phleng (Kamphaeng Phet Word Heritage Site Celebrations)In February each year, Kamphaeng Phet celebrates its 1991 UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site. The events include ancient Nop Phra Len Phleng precessions, historical exhibitions, cultural and artistic demonstrations, cultural performances and numerous forms of popular entertainment with light & sound presentations.