Love history? Then check out these Thai destinations

Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Ayutthaya

Thailand is mainly known nowadays for its lush beaches and tropical settings, but beyond the tranquil façade is a wealth of history to be discovered, whether it be in the biggest cities or the most remote settlements. Here are just a few of the best places to visit if you’re a history buff looking to learn more.

 

Ayutthaya

It was once the biggest city in the entire world, with over one million people calling it home. But the Burmese invasion of 1767 left Ayutthaya burnt to the ground, with many of the residents perishing. Now, though, beautiful ruins survived through the many years since, with white stone still towering high and intricate details carved into the buildings.

Ruins in Ayutthaya

The temples are still grand and impressive despite their unfortunate history, even being recommended as some of the best in the country – This UNESCO heritage site is home to hundreds of ancient statues and ruins. It’s a fascinating setting, hidden an hour and a half away from the capital city of Bangkok, Ayutthaya is well worth the trip if you want to see first-hand what an ancient Thai city looked like.

 

Chiang Mai

Green Glass Buddha Statue, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple

You might know Chiang Mai for once being the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. This kingdom covered most of Northern Thailand at one point, but the Burmese invaded in 1557 and claimed Chiang Mai as their own. It took over 300 years for Siam (what Thailand was previously known as) to reclaim the city, and it now acts as the country’s northern capital.

You’ll find an abundance of temples here today, all uniquely beautiful in their own right. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a particular highlight, its golden architecture shining bright in the mountains. For a total alternative to the bustle and energy of Bangkok, come to Chiang Mai for a laidback and traditional experience.

Udon Thani

Ban Chiang pottery, Udon ThaniAmong Thailand’s best known prehistoric sites, Udon Thani is one of the best destinations in the whole country if you’re looking for historical value. It is said that the village of Ban Chiang was home to the first Bronze Age civilisation. You’ll find it in the east of the district, where you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of this ancient settlement.

But its more recent history is just as fascinating – travel to the Phu Phra Bat National Park in the northwest and see the Buddha sculptures carved into the rock of the mountains. Udon Thani is fascinating as it’s one of the very few places in the world where you can see a visible transition from early man all the way through to the bronze and iron age, with remains all extremely well preserved.

 

Sukhothai

Sukhothai is one of the most important locations in Thailand, known for being the home of the first independent Thai kingdom. Reaching its peak prosperity and power in the 13th century, the city became the birthplace of the majority of Thai art, architecture and language. It goes without saying, then, that the historical value of Sukhothai is unparalleled to any other location in the country, with the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum housing preserved ancient relics found in the area from that time period.

Wat Mahathat, Sukhothai

On location in Sukhothai National Park, there are a number of temples to explore. Some of them have now collapsed, but at the epicentre stands Wat Mahathat, the most iconic in the area, known for its lotus bud-style design and the Buddha statue that is housed within its grounds.

 

Kanchanaburi

From a historical perspective, Kanchanaburi is a heavy experience. Tainted by the effects of World War 2, you’ll find that a lot of the landmarks and attractions in the town are centred around that time period, the most infamous being the Bridge on the River Kwai. Formally known as the “Death Railway Bridge”, there was a popular 1956 film based on its back-story. That isn’t the only reason to visit Kanchanaburi, though –the many different war memorials and cemeteries are open for you to pay your respects and understand just how huge the impact of the Second World War was on both the town itself and the country as a whole.

Bridge over the River Kwai

Image Attributions:

Image 1 (top picture): By Nayika C. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image 2: By Norbert Nagel, Mörfelden-Walldorf, Germany (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image 3: By Alex Kovacheva (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image 4: By WORAVUDH (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image 5: By Paolo Slama (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image 6: By Aleksasfi (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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The Accessible Thailand Team

We are a group of well-traveled individuals, both disabled and able-bodied . We have all worked in the disabled travel industry and we understand the accessibility issues that disabled people can face when coming to Thailand. We are interested in actively promoting disabled access with local businesses particularly, and with raising public awareness of disabled issues generally throughout Thailand.

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