- Southeast asia
A Complete Backpacking Guide to Kamphaeng Phet
Kamphaeng Phet, a historical city that rivals those of Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai, is a city in the lower northern part of Thailand. The name of the city literally translates to "The Wall of Diamond" due to the fact that the city and its formidable fortification was used as an outpost to defend invaders from the north during Sukhothai and Ayutthaya reign in the 13th - 15the Century.
Due to its long history as one of the most formidable fortified outposts in Siam history, the remnants of those days can still be seen in Kamphaeng Phet today, so much so that they have their own historical park just like Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai.
Within this backpacking guide, you will find all the information you need to travel around Kamphaeng Phet and see what this relatively unknown city has to offer. Without further ado, let's begin with the itinerary map:Table of Contents
- Kamphaeng Phet Itinerary Map
- Thailand Travel Video
- When to Visit Kamphaeng Phet
- Where to Stay in Kamphaeng Phet
- How to Get to Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand
- How to Get from Kamphaeng Phet Bus Terminal to Your Accommodation
- How to Get Around Kamphaeng Phet
- How Many Days to Spend in Kamphaeng Phet
- How Much Money Do I Need For Kamphaeng Phet
- Is it Safe in Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand?
- Internet in Kamphaeng Phet
- Travel Insurance
One-Day Backpacking Itinerary For Kamphaeng Phet
- Learn about the History of Kamphaeng Phet at The National Museum
- Check Out the City Pillar Shrine
- Walk Around Wat Phra Kaeo in the Morning
- Explore Wat Phra That
- Cycle Around Wat Phra Non in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park
- Admire the Beauty of Wat Phra Si Ariyabot
- Check Out Wat Sing
- Go Up Wat Chang Rob
- Visit Wat Avasa Yai
- Ride Around Kamphaeng Phet Old City Wall
- Eat Dinner at Kamphaeng Phet Night Plaza
- What to Eat and Drink in Kamphaeng Phet
- Further Reading for Thailand
Kamphaeng Phet Itinerary Map
Thailand Travel Video
Watch on Youtube
When to Visit Kamphaeng Phet
The best time to visit Kamphaeng Phet is from November to January where the weather is cooler and less humid due to Thai's northern climate making it much more enjoyable to cycle around Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park.
That said, Thailand in recent years has suffered a lot from air pollution due to the burning season and it is extremely prevalent during Thailand's winter period (December - January) so even though the weather is cooler, your visibility might not be the best. Be sure to buy a face mask if you decided to visit Thailand during this time.
March - April is the hottest and humid period of the year so if you can't handle heat very well, avoid visiting during this time. The air quality may be a bit better during this time but it's not guaranteed.
All the other months are considered to be a rainy season which, even though the weather is a little more manageable than the summer months, you will also be seeing a lot more rain which might prevent you from enjoying the outdoors. Air quality during this time should be better due to rain.
As you can see, the best time to visit Thailand used to be during its wintertime BUT now that the air quality is getting worst and worst, you will have to decide which is more important to you as a traveler, good weather but bad air quality or vice versa.
Where to Stay in Kamphaeng Phet
Budget - Three J Guesthouse - 10 USD/Night (Small Double Room)
Mid-Range - Three J Guesthouse - 14 USD/Night (Deluxe Double Room)
I have nothing but praises for Three J Guesthouse. The owner and his family were extremely friendly. They gave me free breakfast as well as gave me all the information I need to explore and write about Kamphaeng Phet. There is no better place to stay in Kamphaeng Phet than here.
How to Get to Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand
Getting to Bangkok, Thailand
In order to get to Kamphaeng Phet, first, you will have to get to Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. Thankfully, Bangkok is a large hub in the region and so you should have no trouble finding a flight from your home country to Suvarnabhumi International Airport or Don Muang International Airport (budget airlines only), Thailand.
From the US, unfortunately, there are no longer direct flights offering from Bangkok to the US via Thai Airways due to operational cost but you can get a cheaper, possibly better service through Emirates, Qatar, or Turkish Airline from the East Coast or ANA Airlines or Korean Air from the West Coast, with only one transit.
From Europe, you can fly direct from most popular European hubs like London, Paris, or Frankfurt via Thai Airways or local carriers like British Airways, Air France, or Lufthansa. You can also go with Etihad, Qatar, or Emirates if you don't mind transiting.
From within Asia, there are several low-cost airlines offering several routes from many hub cities like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Jakarta to Bangkok that you can pick from. AirAsia and Thai Lion Air are a great low-cost option but keep in mind that with budget airlines like these, you will be landing at Don Muang Airport instead of Suvarnabhumi Airport, which might be more ideal than flying regular carrier if you wish to fly domestically after.
Getting from Bangkok to Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand
By Bus: The best way to get from Bangkok to Kamphaeng Phet is by bus that goes towards Chiang Mai. There are several buses to Chiang Mai every hour from Morchit Bus Terminal and you just have to ask at the ticket kiosk whether the bus goes through Kamphaeng Phet Bus Terminal or not.
Get on the one that goes through Kamphaeng Phet and it should take about 5 - 6 hours before you arrive. The bus should cost you around 200 - 270 THB.
To get a bus from Bangkok to Kamphaeng Phet, you can also book through here, but it comes with fewer options: Book a bus from Bangkok to Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand.
Getting from Sukhothai to Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand
If you are already traveling in Sukhothai, there are a few private buses that connect Sukhothai Bus Terminal to Kamphaeng Phet Bus Terminal. When I was there at 8:00 AM in late December, there were 2 buses at 8:50 AM and 8:45 PM.
The schedule will depend on the day so I would recommend you get to Sukhothai Bus Terminal as early as you can and get the earliest bus there is that day. The journey takes about 2 hours and costs around 60 THB per person.
How to Get from Kamphaeng Phet Bus Terminal to Your Accommodation
Once you arrive at Kamphaeng Phet Bus Terminal, look out for motor-taxi sitting under the shade right around the bus terminal exit. Ask them to take you to your accommodation. For the trip from the bus terminal to Three J Guesthouse, it cost me 60 THB so do not pay any more than that if you are planning to stay at the same place as I did, which I highly recommended.
How to Get Around Kamphaeng Phet
Bikes are the best way to get around Kamphaeng Phet. You will be able to go to all the places mentioned here all in one day with a bike. If you are staying at Three J Guesthouse, they have several bikes you can rent for 50 THB per day. You can also rent a motorbike from the guesthouse but I think it is an overkill for this itinerary.
How Many Days to Spend in Kamphaeng Phet
One full day in Kamphaeng Phet is recommended, a few more days if you have your own car and would like to see some of the waterfalls around the area but for this itinerary, 2 nights are more than enough.
Day 1: Visit Kamphaeng Phet city center in the morning starting with the National Museum and continue to explore the City Pillar, Wat Phra Kaeo, and Wat Phra That. In the afternoon, continue on to explore Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park and end your day at the Night Plaza.
How Much Money Do I Need For Kamphaeng Phet
From the itinerary above, we can roughly calculate how much money you will be spending for a one-day itinerary in Kamphaeng Phet as follows:
Accommodation: With a total of 2 nights in Kamphaeng Phet, you will be paying around 20 USD (627 THB)
Food: Food costs about 40 THB maximum so you can expect to pay around 120 THB for a day in Kamphaeng Phet.
Transportation: You will be paying 50 THB for a bike rental and that is all you need for this itinerary.
Activities: The entrance fees for both Wat Phra Kaeo/Wat Phra That is 100 THB and another 100 THB for Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park but you can buy an inclusive ticket for 150 THB which will give you access to both so for the most economical option, you can get the inclusive ticket for 150 THB.
Total Budget for 1 day in Kamphaeng Phet: 947 THB (30 USD)
Is it Safe in Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand?
Like most of the less-traveled places in Thailand, it is very safe in Kamphaeng Phet. You might have to negotiate a little with the motor-taxi but other than that, most people you will meet are genuine and so no need to worry too much about getting scammed like in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
That said, please do exercise precautions like you would when traveling in any foreign country. Do not leave your belongings unattended and watch out for your belongings at all times.
Internet in Kamphaeng Phet
There are 3 major carriers in Thailand, AIS, DTAC, and True, all of which offer a pretty similar range of traveler's packages as well as coverages. I personally use AIS as I have been with them since my first phone and they have a lot of Support Center around Thailand and their coverage hasn't failed me yet so if you are looking for a reliable carrier, I can recommend AIS.
There are 3 packages for tourists, 5 GB for 5 days at 160 THB, 15 GB for 8 days at 299 THB, and 30 GB for 15 days. Depending on how long your trip to Thailand will be, you can pick one of these 3 packages that fit your itinerary the most.
With these 3 packages, you can top-up more in case you need more data or calls for your trip. More often than not, 5 GB is more than enough for me to travel around Thailand for a month.
For more information about Thailand's local sim card: Thailand's Prepaid Data Sim Card.
If you are looking for travel insurance to go along with your trip to Thailand, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure.
One-Day Backpacking Itinerary For Kamphaeng Phet
Learn about the History of Kamphaeng Phet at The National Museum
There is no better way to explore a historical city like Kamphaeng Ohet than to start by learning about this history at Kamphaeng Phet National Museum. With a newly-renovated museum, air-con on full blast, and all information are well-displayed in both Thai and English, the National Museum in Kamphaeng Phet is probably one of my favorites museums out there.
The museum contains all the information you need to know about the importance of Kamphaeng Phet as a fortified outpost city, what drove the growth of the city during the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya reigns, why it is important now.
The museum also contains some of the artifacts found on sites of the many places you will be seeing today so it is good to read up on it first before you go and explore the historical park.
The museum opens from 9 AM until 4 PM 5 days a week from Wednesday to Sunday. The entrance fee for foreigners is 100 THB and for the content, you will get, I think the price is well worth it.
Check Out the City Pillar Shrine
As you ride around on your bike from the National Museum, you will be seeing a huge temple complex on your left and you may be wondering where the entrance is. It took me a while to realize that the entrance is from the City Pillar not too far from the museum.
Simply bike your way there in the morning, on a weekend if possible, and you might find several people paying respect to the pillar and offering all kinds of stuff from flowers and pig's head. It sure is a colorful event to see.
Walk Around Wat Phra Kaeo in the Morning
Once you are at the City Pillar continue to walk towards Wat Phra Kaeo and you will find a ticket booth where you can buy the inclusive ticket to get into this old temple area and the Historical Park we will be visiting shortly.
Wat Phra Kaeo is the largest temple in the central zone of Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park and you can see the scale of it right out of the gate. It was built in the 15th Century right at the center of Kamphaeng Phet and comprises of a principal chedi, a dozen of subsidiary chedis, a few assembly halls, and a number of well-preserved large Buddha images.
One of my favorite features of this temple is the assembly hall with 3 huge Ayutthayan era Buddha images, 2 are seated and one lying down. It reminded me of one of the stages in the old NES Street Fighter game but on a smaller scale.
In the morning where the light is just perfect and the weather is cool, you will have a better chance at getting the perfect photo of Wat Phra Kaeo and all its beautiful structures without having to be in the heat hence why I recommend you start off here.
Explore Wat Phra That
Within the central zone, you will also find another temple located on the eastern side of the area called Wat Phra That. Wat Phra That is another temple built in the 15th Century with the main principal chedi in the Sukhothai-style bell-shaped structure, and some of the subsidiary chedis, as well as an assembly hall, still remains.
For both Wat Phra Kaeo and Wat Phra That, you will likely need about an hour just to walk around the temple complex and take some photos so make sure not to rush through it. Both temples are open from 9 AM to 4 PM with a break in the afternoon sometimes from 12:00 AM - 2 PM. This may change though as I was told it was not always like this.
Cycle Around Wat Phra Non in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park
After spending some time in the central zone of Kamphaeng Phet, it is time to go explore the real deal, the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park northern zone which is about 15 minutes bike ride away from the central zone.
One of the first temples you will encounter in the park is Wat Phra Non which translates to The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The temple was built around the 15th - 16th century which puts it in the Ayutthaya era. It is comprised of the principal chedi, an assembly hall, an ubosot, and a mondop.
The principal chedi is built in a beautiful Sri Lankan Singalese style evidenced by its large bell shape. Some parts of the temple are still intact to this day like the enormous columns that once supported the wooden roof and the walls of the mondop. To this day, I am still wondering where the reclining buddha image went...
Admire the Beauty of Wat Phra Si Ariyabot
Just north of Wat Phra Non, you will find another temple called Wat Phra Si Ariyabot which translates to the Temple of the Four Postures of Buddha. It is a large temple complex with several Buddha images in 4 postures, walking, standing, sitting and reclining.
The largest Buddha image is the one with the standing posture which is still in quite good of a condition. It seems like it has seen better days though as some parts of the Buddha image were missing when I was there.
Check Out Wat Sing
Not too far from the standing Buddha image, you will also find a Sukhothai-style assembly hall with another Buddha image seated. This is Wat Sing or the Temple of the Lions which is believed to be built around the same time as Wat Phra Si Ariyabot from the 15th - 16th Century.
The temple derives its name of the lion statues that used to be in front of the temple, which is nowhere to be found now. All you see is the seated Buddha image and the base of what looks like another assembly hall.
Go Up Wat Chang Rob
One of my favorite temples from the northern zone of Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park is Wat Chang Rob, which translates to the Temple Surrounded by Elephants and as you guessed it, it is because the temple is in fact surrounded by elephant statues at its base.
The most prominent feature of the temple is the statues of elephants that seem to be carrying the entire temple on its back at the base of the chedi. While most of the statues are badly damaged, there are a few lefts that you can see the fine decorations on them.
You can climb up the steep steps to the top of the base of what is left of Wat Chang Rob. A chedi used to stand at the top of the temple but it has since collapsed and what is left is the statues that surrounded in.
Visit Wat Avasa Yai
This is the last temple worthy of your visit within the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park. It is located at the northern end of the park right at the other park entrance.
Wat Avasa Yai is a large 15th/16th-century temple that comprises of a wall of its own, the principal chedi, several subsidiary chedis, the assembly hall, a large pool dug out from the laterite soil, and some wells.
I've seen quite a few old ruins from Sukhothai to Kamphaeng Phet and yet it is not often I see a functional structure that still remains to this day like the large pool that was dug in this temple. It gives us a glimpse of what life was like for the monks who used to live in this temple.
Ride Around Kamphaeng Phet Old City Wall
After you have explored all the old ruins of Kamphaeng Phet, it is time to head back to the city center but I would recommend you ride back along the old city walls that surrounded Kamphaeng Phet so you can see for yourself whether the city is worthy of its name, the Walls of Diamond.
Along the wall, there are several fortressesthat you can go through to see the mighty motes that help prevent many invasions throughout the city existent. Be sure to drop by Fortress-Wat Chang Gate and walk out to see why it is so hard for outsiders to get in.
Eat Dinner at Kamphaeng Phet Night Plaza
After a day of exploring the outdoors of Kamphaeng Phet, it is time to receive your rewards in the form of delicious street food for dinner. Kamphaeng Phet Night Plaza is the prime area for you to buy some delicious street food to eat back at your accommodation.
You can bike to the Night Plaza at around 6 PM and you will find a bustling mixed of fresh food and street food market you can indulge yourself in. Be sure to try things like fried dumplings, Phat Thai, Hoi Tod (fried mussels), etc.
What to Eat and Drink in Kamphaeng Phet
Have a Coffee at Coffee Today
One of the best cafes in the city is Coffee Today, located right by the City's Clock Tower. It is a modern cafe that serves Thai drinks like Thai Milk Tea as well as pastries and Thai traditional dessert, sourced from the local community.
Buying from them is a great way to support the local community while you get to try all the delicious Thai desserts with a distinct taste that you won't find anywhere else. Plus, the cafe is air-conditioned and you will definitely appreciate it after riding a bike all day in the sun.
Eat Roast Duck Rice at M Roast Duck Restaurant
When I was walking around the city center, I stumbled upon a local restaurant that looks and smells really good so like a curious travel blogger, I went in and tried some of their dishes and my god, was it worth the risk.
M Roast Duck serves delicious roast duck on rice dishes in a delicious sweet sauce that will make you drool once you see it. I was there only around 2 PM and they have told me that they are already about to run out of roast ducks. That is how good this place is and if you are looking for a place to have lunch, be sure to check them out.
And there you have it, a complete backpacking guide to Kamphaeng Phet. Are you looking to go off the beaten path in Thailand? If so, look no further than Kamphaeng Phet. If you have any questions regarding this itinerary, do let me know in the comments below.
Further Reading for Thailand
Looking for more information for your trip to Thailand? Here is a collection of articles about Thailand that you might find useful:
- Looking for a complete travel guide to Southeast Asia? You should check out our 3 Months Backpacking Itinerary for Southeast Asia.
- More often than not, your journey in Thailand will begin in Bangkok. Here is a 12-Hours Guide to Spending Time in Bangkok.
- Not sure where to begin your journey in Northern Thailand? How about an old capital with a Complete Backpacking Guide to Phitsanulok?
- Did you know that the cradle of Thailand began in the ancient city of Sukhothai north of Bangkok in the 13th Century? If you are interested in the history of Thailand, here is The Ultimate Backpacking Guide to Sukhothai.
- Sukhothai has a twin city that had prospered together since the first founding of the Siam Kingdom. The ancient city is called Si Satchanalai, 60 km north of Sukhothai and there are many less-traveled ancient ruins there waiting for you to explore. Here is A Complete Backpacking Guide to Si Satchanalai.
- Lampang is low-key, one of the most laid back places in the north with a northern-vibe similar to Chiang Mai but much quieter and more authentic. If you are looking to go off the beaten path in Thailand, check out The Ultimate Backpacking Guide to Lampang.
- Spending a few days relaxing in Lampang? Here are 9 Best Cafes and Restaurants to Try in Lampang.
- There is no need for an introduction to the renowned old capital city of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai. Here is a One-Day Backpacking Itinerary and Things to Do in Chiang Mai.
- Have a day to spare in Chiang Mai? How about going on a day-trip to Lamphun? Here are 7 Best Things to Do in Lamphun.
- Looking to change things up a little? How about we head down to the south of Thailand and explore one of my favorite places in Thailand? Here is How to Travel to Khao Sok National Park, Backpacking-style.
- One of the best places to go snorkeling in Thailand is Koh Lipe, an island in the far south of Thailand. Here is The Ultimate Snorkeling Guide to Koh Lipe.
- Photos worth a thousand words, but what is worth more than photos? A video. Here are travel videos I made for Thailand: Timeless Thailand, a journey into the North of Thailand, Long Tail Thailand, explore the beautiful south of Thailand, and taking it slow with Slowed Down Bangkok travel video.
- Wondering where to go after Thailand? How about you continue on to Malaysia, Myanmar, or Indonesia?
- For all articles about Thailand, visit Thailand Travel Guide page.
- Looking to travel to Southeast Asia? Check out all my articles about Southeast Asia here: Southeast Asia Travel Guide page.
- You can see all my Asia related articles here: Asia Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides like this, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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