Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park: Central zone

Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park: Central zone

Don’t miss the elephant statues

More on Kamphaeng Phet

Comprising Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park’s entire central zone, Wat Phra Kaeo and Wat Phra That stand over a large field that was also home to a royal palace during the Sukhothai period, which at the time was the city’s spiritual and political anchor.

Travelfish says:
One of the most photographed sites at Wat Phra Kaeo. Photo by: David Luekens.
One of the most photographed sites at Wat Phra Kaeo. Photo: David Luekens

Kamphaeng Phet’s Wat Phra Kaeo is now a collection of ruins scattered around a large Sri Lankan-style bell-shaped chedi ringed by niches. At the centre of the complex, a large brick-and-plaster reclining Buddha image lies in front of two seated Buddha images, all displaying beautiful details in the faces and headdresses. Probably added to the complex in the early Ayutthaya era, the images are unique among the ruins of the ancient Sukhothai kingdom.

Keep wandering towards the back of Wat Phra Kaeo and you’ll find more ancient chedis, including one with a few elephant statues attached to a corner of the base. The eyes, tusks and delicate coiled trunks are still fully intact on some. Wat Phra Kaeo also features brick bases and pillars that once supported several wihaans and other structures. Some of these still have Buddha images so badly eroded that all you can see are the laterite cores looking like emaciated aliens.

Meet Wat Phra That. Photo by: David Luekens.
Meet Wat Phra That. Photo: David Luekens

Fronting Wat Phra Kaeo is Wat Phra That, featuring a massive Sri Lankan-style chedi with multiple tiers leading up to a slender spire that’s missing the uppermost piece. After you’re finished here you could pop up to the Shiva Shrine and National Museum before stopping by the City Pillar Shrine on the way to the historical park’s northern ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 200 words.)

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Reviewed by

David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.

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Our top 8 other sights and activities in and around Kamphaeng Phet

Kamphaeng Phet National Museum
Kamphaeng Phet National Museum

An excellent collection

Kamphaeng Phet Riverfront
Kamphaeng Phet Riverfront

Take it easy the local way

No pic at the moment — Sorry!
Mae Wong National Park

Get out there

Khlong Lan National Park
Khlong Lan National Park

Cool off in the jungle

Wat Phra Borommathat
Wat Phra Borommathat

Ancient riverside temple