Awe-inspiring ruins of monuments built during the 13th to 17th centuries litter the ancient town of Kamphaeng Phet and surrounding area. Many have been preserved in a park that is little visited and makes for an amazing outing on foot, by bike, or on skates.
There are impressive archaeological sites in nearby Kamphaeng Phet, an ancient fortified city along the Ping River, just 30 miles away from our base camp. The city gets its name "Wall of Diamonds" from the protective ramparts which encircled this important garrison town.
In addition to a sprawling temple complex located in a tranquil, forested setting, (UNESCO World Heritage Site Historical Park), there are many other ruins scattered throughout the area that beg exploration.
Most of the monuments are heavily weathered and have lost their original snail-snot cement stucco coating, but you can still find some of the fine details preserved in remnants if you look well.
Here you won't encounter any chained off areas or guards with whistles. Within reason and with proper respect, you can climb around anywhere. Kids and kids at heart are in heaven here!
There's a comprehensive national museum with many excellent displays and dioramas to help bring the diverse history and culture of Kamphaeng Phet to life in one place. You'll see everything from prehistoric glass beads and votive tablets to traditional costumes and banana festival floats.
Next to the museum is a magnificent replica of a traditional teak stilt house, built without a single nail. It surpasses even the famous Jim Thompson house in Bangkok with its craftsmanship and design.
You may even want to enter the old "haunted house" teak mansion where King Rama V stayed during his trips to Kamphaeng Phet!
Some useful words and phrases:
"kam peng" = "wall"
"pet" = "diamond"
"wat chang" = elephant temple
"rop" = "around, surrounding"
"gao mak" = "very old"
"yai mak" = "very big"
"id deng" = "red brick"
"khun bandai" = "climb stairs"
"hin view" = "see the view"
"bai du, ba" = let's go look