Roundabout in the Cradle of Civilization World Heritage Sites

| March 4, 2016

The trip starts from Bangkok on Highway No.1 through Nakhon Sawan, heading fro Kamphaeng Phet, a comfortable drive of 4 hours. About 18 kilometers before reaching Kamphaeng Phet, turn right into Traitrueng, the oldest city in Kamphaeng Phet, founded by King Chaisiri around the 7th century.
Turning back to Highway No.1, before reaching the city of Kamphaeng Phet, one comes across symbols of Kamphaeng Phet, a massive laterite fort of European style, built during the Ayutthaya Period, known as Thung Setthi Fort and a Sukhothai-style lotus-bud pagoda of Wat Chedi Klang Thung, standing tall amid the green field called Thung Setthi – the Millionairs’Field. The vast area is believed to be favored by the wealthy as site of their personal temples, still found lining the west bank of the Ping River, such as Wat Chedi Klang Thung, Wat Nang Lanka, Wat Nang Pikun, and Wat Sum Ko, all of Sukhothai art-form.
Not far from Thung Setthi is Nakhon Chum ancient town, a major economic hub in the 14th century, on the trade route of Sukhothai Kingdom. A major Buddhist shrine, the Pagoda of the Holy Relics of Nakhon Chum is situated at Wat Phra Borommathat Nakhon Chum. Old communities exist in Nakhon Chun Sub-Disttrict, with wooden houses and shop-houses, including Ban Hang or Ban Papa, of the famed Karen wood trader who renovated the pagoda of the holy relics of Nakhon Chum in the reign of King Rama V.
Returning to the main road, cross the bridge into Kamphaeng Phet and head for Ratchadamnoen Road Apart from charming wooden shop-houses, the area also features several famous delicacies of the city, including Siang’s Chakangrao Noodle and Auntie Sap’s Spicy Phat Thai. For desserts, visit Auntie Hat’s Khanom Thai Shop, and Ratchadamnoen Fresh Brewed Coffee in old wooden shop-houses.
About 5 kilometers further on Highway No.101, take the left turn at kilometer 360 towards Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, on the site of Chakangrao Ancient town, which thrived alongside Nakhon Chum on the other side of the Ping River. Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park comprises 2 parts, the inner part within the city wall, with significant temples such as Wat Phra Kaeo, the largest temple in Kamphaeng Phet, with White Elephant Pagoda, surrounded by 32 elephant figures at the base, and 3 huge Buddha images of U Thong style in the temple hall, regarded· as another symbol of Kamphaeng Phet. The area around Wat Phra Kaeo serves as the venue of major annual festivals, the Nop Phra Len Phleng on Magha Puja and Sat Thai Kluai Khai Muang Kamphaeng in September each year.

Wat Chedi Klang Thung Kamphaeng Phet Thailand

The second part of the Historical Park is the outer part or Aranyik, with ruins of more than 40 ancient temples. Not to be missed are Temple Hall of the Reclining Buddha with the largest laterite pillars ever found in the country, Wat Sing, Wat Phra Si Iriyabot and Chedi Wat Chang Lam.
From Kamphaeng Phet, turn back to Highway No.101, passing Phran Kratai District, a two-way traffic lane, and enter Sukhothai Province at Khiri Mat District, a distance of 5 0 kilometers. Aside way at the intersection leads to Ramkhamhaeng National Park, with Khao Luang hilltop as the greatest natural attraction. Khiri Mat offers the famous snack of baked banana. About 5 kilometers from Khiri Mat, a right turn leads to Ban Thung Luang, a famous production site of distinctive earthenware.
Traveling further about 20 kilometers on the same route to Sukhothai, where respect can be paid at the Shrine of the City Matriarch and Sukhothai Buddha Park. A visit to Sangkhalok Museum is recommended, to view the characteristic Sangkhalok ceramics of Sukhothai. The city also offers diverse delicacies, especially Sukhothai Noodle Along Charot Withi Thong Road leading to the ancient city such as Uncle Pui’s Chae Hae’s and Tai Ton Krachi Shop. local sweets such as Sukhothai Khanom Kliao on Si Intharathit Road make up good souvenirs.

About 4 kilometers further on the same route, lies Sukhothai Historical Park, the centerpiece of the world heritage sites route. Traces of the former glorious kingdom are evident everywhere. The old capital was announced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, as the world heritage site, combined with Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park and Si Satchanalai Historical Park in 1991.
Archeological sites within Sukhothai Historical Park number over 126, within and outside the city wall, some in original shape and good condition, others as ruins. Visitors can ride their cars around the park, hire bicycles, or use the tram service. Good planning is needed so as not to miss the significant structures in the historical park.
For the inner part, the starting point is Ramkhamhaeng National Museum at the front entrance. Sites to visit include the royal palace, Wat Mahathat, the largest and most significant temple, with 200 pagodas. The pagoda of the holy relics is in lotus-bud Sukhothai style, surrounded by 8 pagodas on the same base. The huge temple hall used to house the largest bronze Buddha, Phra Sisakayamuni, now enshrined at Wat Suthat in Bangkok. Notable is the Attharot standing Buddha in beautiful arch. In the same area lies Wat Si Sawai with three top stupas in Khmer art, Wat Sa Si in the mid of a large pond, known as Traphangkuan and the Memorial of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great· with stone inscriptions.
Out side the city wall, to the north, one finds Wat Si Chum, the site of the legend of a talking Buddha, Phra Achana, a huge Buddha surrounded by thick brick walls, with a tunnel, echoing normal voices as mysterious Buddha’s voice. Another major temple Wat Phra Phal Luang, with Buddhas of Four Positions, sitting, standing, walking and reclining and over 30 pagodas.

To the west are Wat Saphan Hin, with a huge Buddha standing 12.5 meters, to the south, Wat Chetuphon with the palace-topped structure built of slate, housing Buddha images in four positions, and Wat Chedi Si Hong, and to the east Wat Chang Lom and Wat Traphang Thong Lang.
From the old town of Sukhothai, use the same Highway No.101 to Si Samrong District and further to Sawankhalok District, At kilometer 64, a left turn leads to the bridge across the Yom River, turn right and continue for about 2 kilometers to Si Satchanalai Historical Park.
Si Satchanalai existed along”Side Sukhothai under the name of Chaliang. The city in a square shape is situated on the bank of the Yom River. Visitors can hire bicycles, use the tram service, or drive around to visit sites. A whole day is required to tour around the historical park. Not to be missed are Wat Chang Lorn, Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo and Wat Nang Phaya, all in good keep. Wat Chang Lam features a Lankan shape pagoda, surrounded by 39 elephant figures, with elaborate ones at the four corners. Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo is said to be the finest one in Sukhothai, with various types of pagodas. Wat Nang Phaya, on the other hand, features elaborate cement carvings on the wall and the balustrade of the temple hall. Other significant structures are Wat Suan Kaeo Utthayan Noi, Wat Suan Kaeo· Utthayan Yai, and Wat Khao Suwannakhiri. Time permitted, a visit to Wat Khao Phanom Phloeng on top of a hill of 80 meters elevation, provides a chance to observe the entire ancient town. In morning fog, the old glorious city comes alive before one’s eyes. About 4 kilometers to the south of the Si Satchanalai Historical Park, lies Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, believed to be the center of Chaliang in the past.
The trip through the world heritage sites not only brings you in touch with the heritage of over 7 centuries but also the living cultures and lifestyles that could blur into the ancient monuments. And perhaps, it is not an overstatement to say that each morning on this trip, you wake up to the “Dawn of Happiness”.

Kamphaeng Phet – Sukhothai Map Thailand

Category: Kamphaeng Phet, Sukhothai