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Historical Parks, Ancient Temples, Famous and Unusual Temples in Thailand
At present there are 10 Historical Parks in Thailand, four of these are registered as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. here we have listed the ones our members have visited, just click a photo or text link to goto the members trip.
If you don't know the difference between a Chedi, Ubosoth, Vihara, Prang, Mondop and Prasat, check out our Glossary of Thai Temple Terms.
|Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park |
Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park
Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park is an archeological site in Kamphaeng Phet Province. Along with Sukhothai Historical Park and Si Satchanalai historical park, it is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Major features in the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park include archaeological remains of ancient sites such as Mueang Chakangrao, Mueang Nakhon Chum and Mueang Trai Trueng some 18 km from the town to the southwest. Chakangrao, the ancient Kamphaeng Phet town, had the same town planning concept as the old Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai, with separate zones for religious sites both within and outside of town limits.
More trips: Short stay in Kamphaeng Phet, Kamphaeng Phet day tour
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|Sukhothai Historical Park |
Sukhothai Historical Park
The Sukhothai Historical Park covers the ruins of Sukhothai, capital of the Sukhothai kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries, in what is now the north of Thailand. It is located near the modern city of Sukhothai, capital of Sukhothai Province. The city walls form a rectangle about 2 km east-west by 1.6 km north-south. There are 193 ruins on 70 square kilometers of land. There is a gate in the centre of each wall. Inside are the remains of the royal palace and twenty-six temples, the largest being Wat Mahathat. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is easily toured by bicycle or even on foot.
More trips: A Journey to Sukhothai, Another Visit To Sukhothai, Sukhothai Historical Park Videos
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|Phi Mai Historical Park |
Phi Mai Historical Park
Phi Mai Historical Park is located in Phimai which is in Korat Province. The park protects one of the most important Khmer temples of Thailand. The temple marks one end of the Ancient Khmer Highway from Angkor. As the enclosed area of 1020x580m is comparable with that of Angkor Wat, Phimai was an important city in the Khmer empire. Most buildings are from the late 11th to the late 12th century, built in Angkor Wat style. However, even though the Khmer at that time were Hindu, the temple was built as a Buddhist temple, as Buddhism in the Khorat area dated back to the 7th century. Inscriptions name the site Vimayapura, which developed into the Thai name Phimai.
More trips: Wayne Kerr's Isaan Sojourn. Another Visit to Phi Mai.
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|Si Satchanalai |
Si Satchanalai is located in Sukhothai province inside the Si Satchanalai National Park. The old city of Si Satchanalai is considered the sister city of historic Sukhothai, and existed contemporary with Sukhothai. Direct family members of the Kings of Sukhothai usually ruled nearby Si Satchanalai. During the reign of King Li Thai (1347-1368) many temples were built and restored including; Wat Chang Lom, at the centre of historic Si Satchanalai. Wat Chedi Jet Thaew, located opposite Wat Chang Lom and Wat Nang Phaya located to the southeast of Si Satchanalai.
More trips:Si Satchanalai-Chaliang Historical Park.
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|Wat Mahathat |
Wat Mahathat is situated in Ayutthaya Province and is one of the Temples listed under Ayutthaya Historical Park, here you can view a map of Ayutthaya Historical Park. Wat Mahathat is perhaps the most striking of all of the temples in Ayutthaya and is located the very heart of the city. Wat Mahathat was built during the reign of King Boromaraja I in 1370-88. Wat Mahathat is typical of the Ayutthaya ruins; large crumbling stupas surrounded by low laterite walls and rows of headless Buddhas. The temple's prang is 46 m high. Scattered around the temple are some important remains of variously shaped prangs and chedis, in particular an octagonal chedi with a truncated spire in the Ceylonese style. Nearby, the head of a still much-revered statue of the Buddha lies on the ground. In 1956 a secret chamber was uncovered in the ruins. Among the treasures found inside were gold jewelry, and gold casket containing a relic of the Buddha.
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|Wat Chaiwatthanaram |
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is situated in Ayutthaya Province. The temple was constructed in 1630 by the king Prasat Thong as the first temple of his reign, as a memorial of his mother's resident in that area. The temple's name literally means the Temple of long reign and glorious era. It has a central 35 meter high prang in Khmer style with four smaller prangs. The whole construction stands on a rectangular platform. About halfway up there are hidden entrances, to which steep stairs lead. The central platform is surrounded by eight chedi-shaped chapels which are connected by a rectangular cross-shaped passage. The eight chedi-like chapels are formed in a unique way. They had paintings on the interior walls, the exterior ones decorated by 12 reliefs depicting scenes from the life of Buddha. Just fragments of the paintings and the reliefs survived.
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|Phanom Rung Historical Park |
Phanom Rung Historical Park
Phanom Rung, its full name, Prasat Hin Phanom Rung (Phanom Rung Stone Castle), is a Khmer temple complex set on the rim of an extinct volcano at 1,320 feet above sea level, in Buriram Province Thailand. It was built in sandstone and laterite in the 10th to 13th centuries. It was a Hindu shrine dedicated to Shiva, symbolising Mount Kailash, his heavenly dwelling. After the three-leveled lower stairway, visitors reach the first cruciform platform with a first peek at the main temple. On the right is Phlab Phla or the White Elephant House. A walkway leads to the first of three naga bridges. The five-headed snakes face all four directions and are from the 12th century. The naga bridge leads to the upper stairway, which is divided into five sets. A couple more steps lead to the second naga bridge. This final terrace leads to the outer gallery. This last gallery leads to the third and last naga bridge which leads to the main sanctuary and it's principal tower.
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|Si Thep Historical Park |
Si Thep Historical Park
Si Thep Historical Park is situated in the Phetchabun Province. Si Thep is an ancient town where many architectural structures still remain to indicate its past prosperity during the 11th – 18th Buddhist century. It was once the centre of contact between the Dvarravati Kingdom in the central plain basin and the Khmer Kingdom in the Northeast. A twin city, there were over one hundred ancient sites all built with bricks and laterite, most of them have since crumbled. There are also remains of several ponds spread out all over the area. Ancient relics recovered are parts of architectural nature such as elaborate lintels, plastered designs and sema stone. Human skeletons still are adorned with ornamental pieces.
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|Muang Sing Historical Park |
Muang Sing Historical Park
The Muang Sing Historical Park is in Kanchanaburi Province, the remains of two Khmer temples date back to the 13th and 14th century. It was declared a historical park in 1987.
Built in the Bayon style, the temple relates to the Khmer kingdom in the reign of King Jayavarman VII (1180 to 1219). A stone inscription of Prince Vira Kumara praising his father, 23 cities are named. One of these cities was named Srichaiya Singhapura, which some scholars identify with Mueang Sing.
The name Mueang Sing first showed in the chronicles of the reign of King Rama I (1782-1809), when it was a fortified town protecting the town Kanchanaburi. In the reform of provincial administration at the end of the 19th century its status was reduced from Mueang to Tambon (commune).
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|Wat Arun |
Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple in the Bangkok Yai district of Bangkok on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The full name of the temple is Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan. The outstanding feature of Wat Arun is its central prang. Named "Temple of the Dawn" because the first light of morning reflects off the surface of the temple with a pearly iridescence. Steep steps lead up to two terraces. The corners are surrounded by 4 smaller satellite prangs. The prangs are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain. The central prang is topped with a seven-pronged trident. At riverside are 6 green granite Chinese style pavilions each with landing bridge.
More trips: A visit to some Thai temples.
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|The Grand Palace |
The Grand Palace
Located in Bangkok the Grand Palace is a complex of buildings. It served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th century onwards. The present King of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, resides at the Chitralada Palace. Construction of the Palace began in 1782, during the reign of King Rama I, when he moved the capital across the river from Thonburi to Bangkok. Several structures have been added since. The Palace grounds currently contain the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Chakri Mahaprasad Hall and Dusit Phra. The Palace is still very much in use. Royal ceremonies celebrated here are coronations; royal funerals, marriages and state banquets.
More trips: Bangkok Grand Palace Videos.
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|Wat Rong Khun |
Wat Rong Khun
Wat Rong Khun The White Temple is in Chiang Rai Province. Construction of the temple was started in 1997. Wat Rong Khun is different from any other temple in Thailand, as its ubosot is designed in white color with some use of white glass. The white color stands for Lord Buddha’s purity; the white glass stands for Lord Buddha’s wisdom that "shines brightly all over the Earth and the Universe. The bridge leading to the temple represents the crossing over from the cycle of rebirth to the Abode of Buddha. The sea of hands rising up towards the bridge to the temple are very striking. Visitors see a bizarre assortment of images from Hollywood films. Predator, Spiderman, etc.
More trips: The White Temple.
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|Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew |
Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew
Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, also known as Wat Lan Kuad or ‘the Temple of a Million Bottles is located in Sisaket Province. Not an ancient temple but well worth a visit. Buddhist monks began collecting bottles in 1984 and they collected so many that they decided to use them as a building material. They have now created a complex of around 20 buildings using the beer bottles, comprising the main temple over a lake, crematorium, prayer rooms, a hall, water tower, tourist bathrooms and several small bungalows raised off the ground which serve as monks quarters. A concrete core is used to strengthen the building and the green bottles are Heineken and the brown ones are the Thai beer Chang. The mosaics of Buddha are created with recycled beer bottle caps. Altogether there are about 1.5 million recycled bottles in the temple, and with the abundant supply of empty beer bottles in Thailand, the monks are intending to reuse even more.
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|Preah Vihear Temple |
Preah Vihear Temple
Preah Vihear Temple is a Hindu temple built during the reign of Khmer Empire, situated atop a 525-metre cliff in the Dângręk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia just across the border from Sisaket Province, Thailand through which the temple is most easily accessible. Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-centuries-long Khmer Empire. Construction of the first temple on the site began in the 9th century. Most of the temple was constructed during the reigns of the Khmer kings Suryavarman I and II. The temple complex runs 800 m along a north-south axis facing the plains to the north, from which it is now cut off by the international border. It consists of a causeway and steps rising up the hill towards the sanctuary. The ongoing conflict between Cambodia and Thailand over ownership of the site has led to periodic outbreaks of violence.
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