Geographically located in the Lower North on the bank of the Ping River, Kamphaeng Phet is 358 kilometres from Bangkok. To its East are riverine flatlands while the western areas are made up of high mountains lush with fertile forests where a number of national parks have been established.
Areas along the river bank at present-day Mueang district used to host several ancient towns which had played a major role as strategic front-line frontiers since Sukhothai was the kingdom's capital down through the times of Ayutthaya and early Rattanakosin (Bangkok) eras. In fact, the name Kamphaeng Phet actually means as strong as walls or forts make of diamonds.
Kamphaeng Phet covers an area of 8,607 square kilometres. It is divided administratively into 9 districts, namely, Mueang Kampheang Phet, Phran Kratai, Khlong Khlung, Khanu Woralaksauri, Sai Ngam, Lan Krabue, Khlong Lan, Sai Thong Watthana and Pang Sila Thong and 2 sub-districts, Bueng Samakkhi and Kosamphi Nakhon. How To Get There
By Car From Bangkok, take Highway No. 32 to Nakhon Sawan via Ayutthaya, Ang Thong and Sing Buri and then proceed along Highway No. 1 to Kamphaeng Phet, a total distance of 358 kilometres. By Bus
Both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok's Mochit 2 Bus Terminal every day. Call 0 2936 2852-66 or visit www.transport.co.th for more information.
Kluai Khai Fair
The Kluai Khai Fair is held in September each year to promote the local banana for which the province is famous. There are banana contests and competitions on the making of Krayasat (a local sweet), as well as many entertainment performances.
Nop Phra Len Phleng
The Nop Phra Len Phleng Fair is held during the celebrations of Makha Bucha (around February). A tradition since the times of Sukhothai, it is described in the inscription stone found at Nakhon Chum of how processions were organised to pay homage to the town's major religious sites. The fair today consists of colorfully decorated parades of participants dressed in ancient attires crossing the Ping to pay homage to the Holy Relic on the Nakhon Chum side of the river.
Kluai Khai (mini banana) Kluai Khai is a famous produce of this province. Raw and ripe bananas as well as
other local produces such as sticky paste (made of rice, bean, sesame and sugar) called Krayasat are available around the 343 km
marker on the Kamphang Phet-Nakhon Sawan Highway.
Khlong Lan National Park
Khlong Lan National Park covers an area of some 300 square kilometres over mountain ranges to the west of the province. The highest peak is about 1,400 metres. Of mainly virgin jungles, it is the source of several streams which flow into the Ping River.
The park headquarters is near the Khlong Lan waterfall about 60 kilometres from town on the route to Khlong Lan district (highway no.1117). Attractions within the park include the 95-metre high Khlong Lan Fall with scenic surroundings, and the Khlong Nam Lai Fall, a 9-level cascade and located off Highway no.1117 at Km. 35 and 10 kilometres further on). The Kaeng Ko Roi (off Highway No.1117 at Pong Nam Ron intersection) is a group of rock formations jutting out of the stream looking somewhat like all islands. Visitors can camp overnight within the park.
Mae Wong National Park
The Mae Wong National Park forms the border between Kamphaeng Phet and Nakhon Sawan and covers an area of about 894 square kilometres. Most of the land is rich in various types of plants. Along the Khlong Lan -Umphang route passing through the park's area, which leads up to the mountains, are several viewing points between Kms. 81 to 115. At Km. 102 is a beautiful road-side waterfall. Other falls within the park include the Mae Krasa, Mae Liwa and others. To visit these attractions tourists need to go on foot and overnight in the jungle.
Major features of Kamphang Phet Historical Park include archaeological remains of ancient sites such as Muang Chakangrao to the east of the Ping River, Muang Nakhon Chum to the west and Muang Trai Trueng some 18 kilometres from the town to the southwest. Services from the Tourist Centre are available, the centre itself being located some 5 kilometres from town on the Kamphaeng Phet-Phran Kratai route.
the ancient Kamphaeng Phet town, had the same town planning concept as the old Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai, with separate zones for religious sites both within and outside of town limits. Structures are usually large and made of laterite. Religious sites on the west bank of the Ping River at Nakhon Chum are built of bricks and of smaller size.
†Remains of the ancient sites within the city walls are as follows:
City Wallsand Old Fortifications mark the boundary of the rectangular town area, measuring 300-700 metres wide and 2,200 metres long.
Phra Kaeo Temple (Wat Phra Kaeo) is a large royal temple in town centre near a site believed to have been a palace. The temple itself was used on important city events and had no monks in residence. Major features include the principal chedi with lion-adorned base and a round chedi with elephant-adorned base. There are also other chedis of different bases and remains of several chapels. Its boundary is marked off by laterite walls.
†Second in size to Wat Phra Kaeo is Phra That Temple. Here the principal chedi is built of mixture of laterite and bricks with a 15-metre wide square base. The style is of Kamphaeng Phet architecture.
†Sa Mon is the site of the palace located to the north of Wat Phra Kaeo with a square earthen wall almost touching the northern city wall. Surrounded the walls on three sides are moats with a pond in the middle. There are no standing structures remaining today.
†Phra Non Temple (Wat Phra Non)†is fenced in by laterite walls on four sides. At the front of the temple are a square-shaped pond, bathrooms and an ancient floating pavilion which is supported by a large laterite column. The entire column was cut out in one single piece from its source and measures 1.1 meters on each side and 6.4 meters in height, the largest such stone in the country. A lion sculpture and Sema stones (boundary stones) can still be discerned. The large Vihan which once housed the Reclining Buddha has crumbled entirely.
†Phra Si Iriyabot Temple (Wat Phra Si Iriyabot) is located to the north of Wat Phra Non and has similar pond and bathroom facilities as its neighbour. Walls on the four sides are of laterite materials with an entrance also made of laterite. A Mondop structure houses Buddha statues in four postures-walking, sitting, standing and reclining in the Sukhothai artistic style. Today only the statue in the standing posture still remains.
†Phra Sing Temple (Wat Phra Sing)†is believed to have been constructed during both the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods. With laterite walls, it has a square-shaped principal Chedi with arches on four sides. In front of the Ubosot are ornamental lion and Naga figurines.
†Chang Rop Temple (Wat Chang Rop)†is a large temple situated on a high hill. Its main Chedi of Ceylonese style is in the middle of the yard but its top part is broken down. The base is adorned with 68 half-elephants between which are Bhoti-shaped designs. There are also traces of demon and female dancers' figures remaining. Apart from these temples, there are also several ancient sites on the east bank of the Ping River, including Wat Arwat Yai, Wat Kalothai and Phra Ruang Road.
†Muang Nakhon Chum is an ancient town on the west bank of the Ping River. Its 2-3 metre-high earthen walls run along the waterway. It is in this area that the famous religious tablets of Kamphaeng Phet have been discovered. Within the city walls are a couple of ancient sites such as the Kamphaeng Pom Thung Sethi located on Phahonyothin Road just before entering the town. It is part of the laterite fortifications 83 metres long and 6 metres tall.
†Phra Borom Temple (Wat Phra Borom)†That is a temple situated in the centre of Muang Nakhon Chum featuring a Burmese-style Chedi. To the south is an Ubosot housing several Sukhothai- and Ayutthaya-style bronze Buddha statues. The Chedi itself is believed to originally have been a Sukhothai-type structure, its style having been altered during a restoration work financed by a wealthy Burmese about a century ago.
†Another ancient town is Muang Trai Trueng. It was built by King Chaisiri of Chiang Rai who fled invading enemy in 1542 B.E. (circa 999). Today most of the structures are in disrepair with only ruins of Chedis and ramparts. The town is about 18 kilometres from Kamphaeng Phet on the Kamphaeng Phet-Khlong Lan road.
Banana Market (Talat Kluai Khai)†
This market is on the Kamphaeng Phet-Nakhon Sawan highway at Km.343. Scores of roadside stalls display and sell both raw and ripe Kluai Khai (a type of bananas).
The Kamphang Phet National Museum
The Kamphang Phet National Museum, located on Pindamri Road in Muang district, houses ancient objects and other antique arts articles from various eras found in the provincial town. These include sculptured and earthen designs, heads of Buddha statues, traditional celadon products, sculptures of demons and celestial and human beings used to decorate Chedi bases or Vihans. It is open Wednesday-Sunday from 9.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m. More information at Tel: 0 5571 1570.
The Kamphang Phet Province Museum
The Kamphang Phet Province Museum nearby is made up of groups of Central Region applied architectural style structures. There are exhibitions on the local history with replicas of the city, lifestyle and urban and hill tribal customs and traditions. It also displays the development of Kamphaeng Phet votive tablets and other resources. The museum is open daily. For more information, call 0 5572 2341.