Thailand's North

KAMPHAENG PHET

Global Mark : 13.14

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 2 5 4 1 2 4 1 3 11.11

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
6 100% (6) 67% (4) 100% (6) 13 to 17 15.17


Description : 
A small town with a UNESCO World's Heritage Historical Park since 1991 : basically nice ruins from 14-16th centuries' temples.

Comments : This place was an outpost town for Sukhothai Kingdom so if you arrive from there, you may decide whether or not you need to see more ruins. Coming the other way from the south, it is a very pleasant introduction to the old structures, easily done as a break on the way to more famous Sukhothai.

How to visit ? 

The complex is just outside town, on the way to Sukhothai so you would best board a bus going there and ask to get off at the Park entrance (just after the turn, next to an active shrine). It should be no problem to find someone to keep your bag while you explore the area, then catch another bus to Sukhothai. If you get off at Kamphaeng Phet's bus station, you will have to charter a songthaew for the unpleasant 2km ride (B5). 

Entrance cost B40, for both Wat Phra Kaew (inside the old city wall but you can spot it from outside) and the Forest-Temple complex known as Arunyik area. At the later, you can rent a bike for B30 and do a very relaxing tour. About 60 monuments are scattered over 3.4 square km so count on about 2 hours at a leisure pace. The park is open from 8am to 6pm. You could also visit the National Museum (B30, 9 to 4pm, Wed to Sund)

What you may not like : Not being understood by the locals who are not quite used to visitors / Not finding the guesthouse you are looking for / Having to wait too long for a bus onward.

How long ? Couple of hours to visit, more to find the GH...


Where to stay ? 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

Well, there is supposed to be some guesthouses in the B150 bracket but locals do not seem to know about them and there is little English sign. One of them is supposedly called Teak Tree Guesthouse. Let me know if you find it ! All those things considered, it might be better to stay at Sukhothai...

Backpacker's Tips : Amtrak Amtrakker, Australia (April 03)  
 
Finding Teak Tree Guesthouse (150THB with fan, common shower) was an effort, even the tuk-tuk drivers at the bus station didn't know where it was located! It costs 40THB to enter main complex in centre of town, but the highlight is the many wats and temples situated in the forests to the NW of the town (also included in the admission ticket) - there are signs saying 10THB for bike but they don't seem to mind you not paying for that privilege. Hired an old bike for 30THB from TT GH. 

Backpacker's Tips : Chris Kozik, USA (Jan 01)
I helped to set up the Teak Tree GH about a year ago and it is ably run by an English-speaking nurse from the local provincial hospital. Her name is K. Daranee. I highly recommend the guesthouse (it is now the only one in KPP since the other one closed down). It's in a good location, near the old wall of the city and it's safe and clean. 130 
baht/single room; 200 baht/double room; breakfast in the morning (if wanted) 60 baht/person. There is a limited menu/price list which includes bike rental to get to the park. Check Teak Tree GH 
I'm prejudiced in favor of KPP because I lived in the town for 10 years and got to know it and some of the people pretty well, and that's always different from just touring through. But I can tell some of the things some people who've stayed at the Teak Tree GH have said about KPP. They found KPP relaxing, very different from the tourist hordes at Sukhothai, and 'unspoilt'. They liked the historical park because the park looked pretty wild and very different from the garden-like settings you see in Europe (or Sukhothai, with its well trimmed grounds). KPP is 'off the tourist track' because, for some reason, it is grouped with Tak and Pichit by the Tourism Authority, instead of with Sukhothai and Si Sachanalai.
There is a rather nice waterfall at nearby Klonglarn, which also has several hill tribe villages. This waterfall gets very crowded with Thais on holidays and weekends, but on weekdays it's nice and quiet - a little hard to get to, though (there are songthaews that ply the route about 10 times/day).

Where to eat ? Plenty of food stalls near the roundabout and the rather useless Tourist Info Centre. Also before the entrances to the park. 


Bus Schedules :

To Price Class Duration Time Nb Freq.
Sukhothai 27/38 3/2 1.5 ? a few 1 hour
Tak 25/40 3/2 1 6:30 to 18 a lot 30mn
Bangkok 105/147/190 3/2/1 5.5 7 to 15/ 22:30/23 a few 1 hour / na


The trip to Sukhothai : SS / L&R / B27 / 1.5 hrs / 3rd class
I had left my bag at the bus station (B10) so I wasted a bit of time going back there. The staff had told me buses would be at 14:00 then 17:30 but when I showed up at 16:30, one was ready to leave. An ugly fan bus which did its job in time along a scenic countryside flat road.

See also the trip from Bangkok