This week I was invited by UNESCO to see the results of their program to train cultural guides in World Heritage Sites in Thailand. The idea is to empower local people to not only teach tourists about their history, but also to help preserve this heritage. On day one of our trip with the UNESCO trained guides we explored Sukhothai Historical Park. On the second day we visited Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, which is about an hour to the south. All of the guides are local people and it’s great that UNESCO are lending their support to help Thais to preserve their heritage for future generations. The following photos and notes were posted live during the trip.
Date of trip: 5-6 October 2015
DAY ONE: Today I’m flying to Sukhothai for a two day trip with UNESCO. I’m flying Bangkok Airways PG211 from Suvarnabhumi airport to Sukhothai. Flight time 1 hour & 15 mins.
Good morning from Sukhothai Airport. Top temperature expected today is 32C with 40% chance of thunderstorms.
The last time I was in Sukhothai was in July 2015. Click here for my trip report.
Demonstration of how to make a “krathong” using natural materials. Loy Krathong is said to have started in Sukhothai.
Discovery of this Sukhothai period plate showing an image of a Krathong supports the argument it’s an old festival.
Before we visit the first site, our UNESCO trained guide tells us the rules about not climbing on the ruins.
Our first stop is Wat Phra Phai Luang (วัดพระพายหลวง) which is in the original Old Sukhothai to the north. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/hL8Gc3nFGrH2
Our second stop in Sukhothai Historical Park is Wat Si Chum (วัดศรีชุม) which has an impressive seated Buddha image. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/brDYnZAkq612
Wat Si Phichit Kirati Kanlayaram (วัดศรีพิจิตกิรติกัลยาราม) to the south of Sukhothai Historical Park. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/d7ppupZqAUu
Wat Chedi Si Hong (วัดเจดีย์สี่ห้อง) to the south of Sukhothai Historical Park. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/LaBX7FBZLtB2
Wat Chetuphon (วัดเชตุพน) to the south of Sukhothai Historical Park. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/3VCffcg9LMP2
Lunch today in Sukhothai is Si Satchanalai style noodles at Sweet Rice Cafe. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/rWyQaRAyNfS2
A good place to start a tour of Sukhothai is at Ramkhamhaeng National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ). 150B entrance. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/TW9Xr9Aqta72
Learning how to make Buddha amulets at Ban Pra Phim in Sukhothai.
Saritphong Dam (Phra Ruang Dam) was built 700 years ago to supply water for Sukhothai. Water management was more efficient back then. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/YiukvdzBLMo
If you ever visit Sukhothait Historical Park, make sure you visit Wat Mahathat for the sunset.
DAY TWO: Today we are heading 1 hour south of Sukhothai to Kamphaeng Phet which is another world heritage site in Thailand.
Wat Phra Borom That (วัดพระบรมธาตุ) is a temple in Nakhon Chum featuring a Burmese-style chedi. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/xBB41G9A8yo
A 82 year old lady who makes “cereal bars” from sticky rice flour in her house.
Kamphaeng Phet National Museum is a good place to start before visiting the historical park. Admission is 100B. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Qsk2R2VRe8m
The image of Shiva in the Kamphaeng Phet National Museum. In 1886, a German was caught stealing the hands & head.
Lunch time in Kamphaeng Phet in Northern.
Tim Curtis, Chief of the Culture Unit at the UNESCO Bangkok office, hands out pins to the new local cultural guides.
The old city wall at Kamphaeng Phet which is made from laterite. The name of the city in Thai is “diamond wall”.
Wat Phra Si Ariyabot in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park. Many of the temples here are made from laterite. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/P1XTQg3tmqH2
Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park is split into two parts. We are exploring the “temples in the jungle” section.
Wat Phra Non or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park. Though no Buddha can be seen any more. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/aLKCuQH2b1v
Wat Chang Rob is a bell shaped Chedi surrounded by 68 elephants. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/DCMPdnYPA5J2
Our time in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park was sadly too short. I’ll be back again to explore more by myself.
Flying back home from Phitsanulok Airport with Nok Air as Bangkok Airways has no late night flights from Sukhothai.