Kamphaeng Phet is a province in Northern Thailand known for its rich history and its valleys and forested mountains with several national parks. Its main attraction is the ruins of ancient Kamphaeng Phet, a town built during the Sukhothai period from the 13th century onwards.
The name of the province translates to “Diamond wall” referring to the walls that were built to protect the city during the Sukhothai era when the city served as a “wang” or garrison city, to protect the capital Sukhothai against invasion.
The provincial seal depicts the city walls and diamonds. The provincial capital is Kamphaeng Phet town, a small town on the Ping river with a very scenic riverfront, several parks and old teak houses on Tesa road just East of the river. Its night market near the river is a good place to sample some regional foods.
To do & see in Kamphaeng Phet
Kamphaeng Phet is a laid back province with many historical and natural attractions.
Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park
The provincial capital houses Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, a large park spread out across several sites on both sides of the Ping river. The park contains the ruins of a great number of ancient temples in various states of preservation. Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, together with the historical parks of Si Satchanalai and Sukhothai makes up the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Historic town of Sukhothai and associated historic towns”.
Kamphaeng Phet National Museum
Kamphaeng Phet National Museum exhibits items found in Kamphaeng Phet province from several periods including prehistoric finds, Buddha images from various era and items excavated in temples of the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park. The museum is located next to the central zone of the historical park.
The Wat Khu Yang is a Buddhist temple in the old town. Its main attraction is a Ho Trai or scripture library building that stores ancient Buddhist scripts, the Tripitaka. The wooden 19th century structure is built on poles in the middle of a pond to protect the scripts from rats and insects as termites. The temple is found North of Wichien road, about 500 East of Sirichit Park.
The Wat Sawang Arom is an old temple West of the Ping river. Its viharn enshrines a beautiful, large Chiang Saen style Buddha images in the “Calling the Earth to witness” posture. The 3 meter high image is named Luang Pho Umong.
At the Phra Ruang hot springs visitors can enjoy a bath in several hot springs, of which the temperatures are between 45 and 65 degrees Celsius. The waters have been led into several private huts with tiled baths and a larger shallow pool for the feet. Phra Ruang hot springs are found about 20 kilometers North West of Kamphaeng Phet town, off Route 101 to Sukhothai. The springs open daily from 8 am until 6 pm, admission is 50 Thai Baht including towels. On weekends the place can get busy.
Banana market & banana festival
Kamphaeng Phet province is known for several species of bananas, especially the small bananas named “kluai khai”. Along Highway AH1 South of the town is the “Talat Kluai khai”, the banana market where dozens of stalls sell various kinds of bananas and other local products. Every year in September the Kluai Khai festival is held, originally to celebrate the banana harvest, now a fair with performances and entertainment.
Getting to Kamphaeng Phet
Kamphaeng Phet is located 355 kilometers North of Bangkok. There are several ways to get there.
The nearest airport is Sukhothai 140 kilometers from Kamphaeng Phet town. Bangkok Airways offers direct flights from Bangkok international airport that take 1 hour and 15 minutes. Fares start at 2,290 Baht one way.
There is no train service to Kamphaeng Phet. The nearest train station is Phitsanulok, 100 kilometers away.
Kamphaeng Phet is easily reached by bus from Sukhothai. Busses and vans connect the two towns multiple times daily. The trip takes around 1½ hour, the fare is 70 Thai Baht.
Several transport companies, both government and private, offer bus services between Bangkok and Kamphaeng Phet. Busses leave multiple times daily from Bangkok’s Northern bus terminal Mo Chit. An air conditioned bus takes around five hours, fare is 350 Baht one way. The Kamphaeng Phet bus station is on Kamphaeng Phet road, about 1 kilometer West of the Ping river. From there, take a songthaew or arrange hotel pick up.