Thailand’s rich history dates back thousands of years. The impressive monuments we see today are remnants of the ancient temples and Buddhist architecture built by various emperors who ruled the country at the time. Thailand is a great place to visit, especially if you are a history buff, as you will be able to see breathtakingly beautiful historical sites, some of which are preserved and recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
If you are interested in exploring the most famous historical places in Thailand, let me guide you through some of the most visited historical sites by tourists and travelers from all over the world.
Phra Pathom Chedi
The picturesque ruins of the oldest Buddhist structure, Phra Pathom Chedi, are found in Nakhon Pathom. This Buddhist structure is said to have been built when Buddhism had just been introduced to Southeast Asia in the 3rd century BC. The Indian ruler of the time, Asoka, sent out a community of monks to spread the new religion throughout much of Asia. This historical landmark is also revered by locals and history buffs due to the relics of Buddha that are enshrined in the Phra Pathom Chedi.
As the name suggests, Khmer temples were built in Thailand under the rule of the Khmer kingdom about ten centuries ago. You will be surprised to see how well-preserved the temples are even after 1000 years. Dozens of Khmer temples are scattered across northern Thailand. While most of the temples are located in remote areas that are less frequently visited by tourists, there are three well-preserved temples that tourists flock to throughout the year: Phanom Rung, Muang Tum, and Phimai.
Each of these temples was built approximately one thousand years ago and has been included in the provisional list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Thailand. The beautifully carved structure of the temples will leave you in complete awe.
Si Satchanalai Historical Park
The 45 km2 Satchanalai Historical Park contains the ruins of Si Satchanalai, a small town that flourished during the 13th and 14th centuries under the rule of the Sukhothai kingdom. The park is located on the banks of the Yom River, surrounded by a natural forested area. The ancient city of Si Satchanalai was known for its exquisite glazed pottery known as Sangkhalok pottery.
To take a look at the remains of the excavated ovens, visit the local museum which is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm. You can get to Si Satchanalai Park by air or by car. The fastest way to get to the park is by car; it will only take 30 minutes to arrive.
Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park
With the remains of Kamphaeng Phet, the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park has been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This small town was of great importance during the Sukhothai rule and contains ancient ruins of Buddhist monuments built between the 13th and 17th centuries.
Kamphaeng Phet was a garrison town, an important link for the defense system of the Sukhothai Kingdom due to its strategic location. Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park is located approximately 355 km north of Bangkok.
The local museum contains excavated relics dating back to prehistoric times, such as the early 16th-century bronze statue of Lord Shiva, pottery, and carved images of the Buddha. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm.
Ayutthaya Historic City
Once the capital city of Thailand, the historic city of Ayutthaya today is reduced to remnants. The old city will transport you back to an ancient era with its haunting yet romantic ruins including ancient palaces and temples that still stand today in a fairly well-preserved state.
Ayutthaya is close to Bangkok, so you can comfortably travel by bus or car to explore the ancient city at your leisure. A must-see tourist attraction for history buffs, a visit to Ayutthaya will help you develop a greater understanding of Thailand’s historical and cultural background.
Perhaps the most beautiful temple in all of Chiang Mai sits atop Doi Suthep. Visiting Doi Suthep is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will be able to see intricate religious carvings, Buddhist monks performing religious rituals, and local vendors selling delicious street food and local crafts.
Doi Suthep is also the perfect place to shop for souvenirs and gifts such as elephant carvings, masks, and home furnishings. If you have a couple of hours to spare, combine your excursion to Doi Suthep with a small Hmong village in the mountains called Doi Pui.
Believe me when I tell you that this small town is much more touristy than other towns you have previously visited. Not only will you learn about the Hmong culture and mountain tribal communities that exist in the region, but you will also have the opportunity to purchase exquisite hand-woven textiles.
These are some of the most famous historical sites to visit in Thailand, especially if you are interested in learning about the country’s culture and historical background. There really is no comparison as each historical landmark I have mentioned is beautiful in its own right and has its own significance in history.