Top 7 Ancient Cities in Thailand

Cultural Delights

The rich history of Thailand dates back thousands of years. The impressive landmarks seen today are remnants of the ancient temples and Buddhist architecture built by several emperors that ruled the country at the time. Thailand is a great place to visit especially if someone is a history enthusiast as he would get to see breathtakingly beautiful historical sites, some of which are preserved and recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Planning a trip to Thailand to enrich your historical knowledge and soak into the experience of Thainess? or just need a  Luxury Concierge Travel who can show you the way? Worry not – We at Travel Motivations have eased your work as you can find below the Top 7 lists of places that you must visit if you want to delve into the historical richness of the country.

  1. Kanchanaburi 

    Kanchanaburi is an apparently quaint city home to some of the most historic relics in Thailand.  Kanchanaburi has the River Kwai going through its centre. This River has a bridge going over it called the “Bridge over the River Kwai”, which played an important part in the Second World War.  It was here that prisoners of war built the Thai-Burma Railway, otherwise known as the Death Railway during World War II. Both the JEATH War Museum and the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, otherwise known as the Don-Rak War Cemetery, are found here.

    In addition to these, one of the most picturesque yet disturbing spots in town is the bridge over the Khwae Yai River. Featured in a number of films, this bridge is a testament to those who suffered here and were forced to build it during the war, under appalling conditions.

    The historical aspect of the province does not stop with just the bridge, further into the province and into the jungle is also the Hellfire Pass. The Hellfire Pass is a part of the Thai-Burma Railway and is often described as one of the hardest construction parts of the entire railway. Hundreds of Prisoners of War died while constructing the pass.

While, for the War Prisoners, the Hellfire Pass already felt like hell to construct, this was not the reason for it to be named as such. The real reason was that the workers had to work throughout the day which meant they had to work at night as well. Thus torches were lit in the Pass. But as the pass was so narrow it looked like a picture from hell.

  1. Ayutthaya

    Ayutthaya is located 70 kilometres off the bustling city of Bangkok. The ruins of the ancient capital of the Siamese kingdom have become a hotspot for tourists who come to Bangkok and nearby areas to understand the ancient history of Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom after Sukhothai, and it flourished for many centuries up until the invasion. A prominent historical city, the local culture embroiled in the antiquity of the ruins offers a unique experience to tourists. Ayutthaya is a history buff’s paradise with crumbling temples, ruins, and prangs on almost every corner, These relics, though extremely beautiful unfortunately came to be after the city was destroyed in a fire set by the Burmese in the 18th century. While many of the temples were destroyed at that time, the skeletal remains still remain in the city. Visitors can explore the amazing architecture.

Though Ayutthaya has been neglected for the past three centuries, it has grown to become a tourist hotspot. As it falls along the way through Bangkok’s main roadways, the history of Ayutthaya soon caught the fancy of tourists and history enthusiasts.

Ayutthaya is a site amalgamation of ancient relics certified and protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Bearing heavy influences from Hindu and Traditional Thai- Buddhist culture, the temples feature elaborate Prangs, visible from far and traditional carvings and detailed structures. The most prominent ones are Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Chaiwatthanaram. These are the ones that are iconic for their sculpture and larger-than-life portrayal of Buddhist ideas and ideals. The art retrieved from the crypts of Wat Ratchaburana consists of regal mural paintings that survived and are being studied extensively under Siamese History. Though the ruins have been kept intact, to maintain their initial integrity, some of them have undergone necessary restoration and rephasing which have aided in the understanding and preservation of the relics. 

  1. Udon Thani 

    There are three main historical sites in and around Udon Thani. The Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is the most prominent of them all. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1992 due to the ceramics and bronze artefacts found here in 1966. It is considered one of the oldest settlements discovered in Southeast Asia according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In addition to Ban Chiang, the visitors visiting Udon Thani would find the Ban Chiang Historical Museum, where they can learn more about ancient relics, as well as the Phu Phrabat Historical Park, which is situated about 40 miles outside of the city. It is home to a number of strange rock formations intertwined with Buddha shrines.

  2. Bangkok 

    Bangkok is the most visited city in the world. The capital of the country of Thailand has so much more to offer visitors. Though the city has its fair share of flashy new skyscrapers, one can also find grand temples, extravagant architecture, and historic relics throughout. Some of the most noteworthy historical spots are Wat Arun, Wat Pho, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Saket and the Golden Mount, and more. Bangkok National Museum is the most extensive museum covering everything from Thai art to religion and more.

  3. Sukhothai – Si Satchanalai 

    The ruins from both the Khmer and Sukhothai period found at Si Satchanalai are noteworthy. Before exploring the Si Satchanalai Historical Park, visitors should first check out the museum found at the entrance to get a better grasp as to what they will be seeing. There are a total of 204 relics to be seen at the park, which was established in 1988.

    About an hour from Si Satchanalai is the more popular ancient city of Sukhothai. The city was established in 1238 and was the country’s first Siamese Kingdom. This was known as the golden age, and some of the most classic Thai art and architecture came to be during this time under King Ramkamhaeng.

    The Sukhothai Historical Park is one of the main attractions in the city for visitors. One of the most impressive structures of them all is Wat Mahathat, which is now mostly in ruins. History buffs can also visit the Ramkamhaeng National Museum, and visitors do not need much more than a day or so to explore Sukhothai in its entirety.

  1. Chiang Rai 

Chiang Mai is one of the oldest cities in the country and was established in 1262 as the centre of the Lanna Kingdom. The mountainous province has so much more to offer visitors than just its stunning terrain. Chiang Rai is oftentimes an overlooked destination because of its more popular neighbour, Chiang Mai. But one should not miss this charming city that has plenty of temples in addition to an education centre that history buffs are sure to love. The most famous of them all is Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple.

The temple of Wat Phra Kaew gains historical importance as the place where the Emerald Buddha was found. It is also one of the main centres of Buddhist education and the Sangha’s administration in northern Thailand. Wat Phra Kaew is also famous as one of the royally endowed temples in this province. The abbot, Phra Dhammarachanuwat is the ecclesiastical head of all of North Thailand

There are a number of smaller, noteworthy architectural wonders in addition to this famous temple, including Wat Ched Yot and Wat Doi Chom Thong.

  1. Chiang Mai 

    Chiang Mai is oftentimes regarded as the northern capital of Thailand. Chiang Mai is a historical grove of temples, Lanna-style architecture, shrines, and more. One of the most historic areas of the city is the village of Wiang Kum Kam. It is home to a number of temples, and this area was actually the capital of the Lanna Kingdom until Chiang Mai replaced it. The highlight of Chiang Mai for history buffs is the hundreds of Buddhist temples found all over town.

Visitors, especially History enthusiasts, planning a trip to these sites of historical importance as a part of Luxury Travel in Thailand can rely on Travel Motivations as we would design luxury tours with our Best Luxury Concierge services. Need not worry about your Travel (Hotels, Villas, Jets, Experiences) needs would be taken good care of while you get enthralled by the rich history of the country. 


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As a Startup Specialist and the founder of Aditya Group, Thailand, Ande Aditya is often hired as a Business Advisor to assist business owners to execute their vision.

17 Industries | 22 Startups | 6 Countries | 12 Awards

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