Cеntrаl Thаіlаnd, also knоwn аѕ the Cеntrаl Plains, іѕ thе central rеgіоn оf Thаіlаnd, аn endless рlаіn dоmіnаtеd by the gіаnt urbаn аgglоmеrаtіоn оf Bаngkоk.
Where to Visit
Phitsanulok is an important, historic city in lower northern Thailand and is the capital of Phitsanulok Province, which stretches all the way to the Laotian border. Phitsanulok is one of the oldest cities in Thailand, founded over 600 years ago. It is probably best known as the birthplace of King Naresuan, who freed the country from Burmese domination in the late 16th century, and that of his brother and successor King Ekathosarot (Sanphet III). As the crossroad between the northern and central regions of the country, it has long been important both for political and strategic reasons, and was fought over many times in centuries past. Phitsanulok was the capital of Thailand for 25 years during the reign of King Boromma Trailokanat of Ayutthaya. On the banks of the Nan River, the city was originally a small Khmer outpost known as Song Kwae, before the Khwae Noi River changed its course in the 11th century CE. Phitsanulok was also a provincial center of the Angkorian Empire during the Angkorian period. Phitsanulok is home to Naresuan University and Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University, as well as to a major Royal Thai Army base.
Ancient History in Central Thailand
Ayutthaya is the former capital of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province in Thailand. Located in the valley of the Chao Phraya River in central Thailand. Ayutthaya was founded in 1351 by King U Thong, who went there to escape a smallpox outbreak in Lop Buri and proclaimed it the capital of his kingdom, often referred to as the Ayutthaya kingdom or Siam. Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It is estimated that Ayutthaya by the year 1600 CE had a population of about 300,000, with the population perhaps reaching 1,000,000 around 1700 CE, making it one of the world’s largest cities at that time, when it was sometimes known as the “ Venice of the East”.
In 1767, the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of the kingdom. The ruins of the old city are preserved in the Ayutthaya historical park, which is recognised internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins, characterised by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of the city’s past splendour. Modern Ayutthaya was refounded a few kilometres to the east.
Getting to Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is an island at the confluence of three rivers: the Chao Phraya River, the Lopburi River and the Pa Sak River. As the train station is at the east side off the island, most visitors will need to cross the river by ferry boat. Navigating your way around the island is not particularly hard: U Thong Rd is a ring road that circumscribes the island completely. Most temple ruins can be found at the northwest of the island, while accommodation and night life is clustered around the northeast. As non-Siamese peoples were not allowed to live inside the city walls, things foreign are found off the island. This is a very popular tourist destination in central Thailand.
Amphawa Floating Market
Further south in the central Thailand region is Amphawa, home of the well known floating market. In the Ayutthaya Period, Amphawa was called Khwaeng Bang Chang, a small community that flourished in agriculture and trade. Sources have confirmed the existence of a market here since the reign of King Prasat Thong in the mid-seventeenth century. In 1766, King Rama II was born in Amphawa, his mother’s hometown, as his father was ruling the town of Ratchaburi. At his probable birthplace is now the King Rama II Memorial Park.
The Amphawa floating market is very natural and there are many old wooden houses. Tourists will see the lifestyle of the locals and you will see the beauty of fireflies at night under the Lampoon trees. This makes people feel that they are going back to the old times. In the Amphawa floating market, there are many shops such as souvenir stores, restaurants, ice-cream shops, and others. Most souvenir stores usually sell clothes. Tourists can buy many souvenirs in the Amphawa floating market.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
A floating market located in the Damnoen Saduak District, located about 100 kilometres (62 mi) southwest of Bangkok. It is established primarily as a tourist attraction and relies on this industry which includes both domestic and foreign tourists. It is often considered the most famous floating market.
The floating market is crowded with tourists and is considered a tourist trap. As such, the wares tend to be overpriced. Bargaining is a common practice, although usually the prices of souvenirs and food are generally fixed within a few Thai baht. Canoe cooks can be found preparing and selling boat noodles. The floating market also has been noted to lack cultural authenticity, although it remains a popular destination for both foreign and domestic tourists. One of central Thailand’s most visited locations.
Kanchanaburi – River Kwai Valley
Gоіng wеѕt from Bangkok, thе tеrrаіn bесоmеѕ more hilly аѕ you gеt into thе River Kwаі Vаllеуѕ. Kаnсhаnаburі іѕ another рорulаr ѕtор оn the tоurіѕt trаіl fоr the Brіdgе оvеr the Rіvеr Kwаі and іtѕ World Wаr II Muѕеumѕ. If уоu hаvе a fеw days to ѕреnd іn thіѕ аrеа, ѕоmе оf thе іntеrеѕtіng аttrасtіоnѕ іnсludе thе Erаwаn Falls and Hellfire Pаѕѕ. Most visitors will join the train at the Kanchanaburi station just near the bridge, and do the trip through the valley and back again. And, yes, in the photo below you can see people on the train tracks and bridge. This is permitted in Thailand, although considered a dangerous activity if a train comes along! Luckily the trains are slow and the station is to the right of the bridge and it does stop there. This is definitely worth spending time during your trip to central Thailand.
The Historical Story
In 1942 Kanchanaburi was under Japanese control. It was here that Asian forced labourers and Allied POWs, building the infamous Burma Railway, constructed a bridge; an event immortalised in the films The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Return from the River Kwai (1989) and The Railway Man (2013). Almost half of the prisoners working on the project died from disease, maltreatment, or accidents.
At Kanchanaburi, there is a memorial and two museums to commemorate the dead. In March 2003, the Thailand–Burma Railway Centre opened and the JEATH (Japanese-English-American-Australian-Thai-Holland) War Museum dedicated to the bridge and the Death Railway. The city is also home to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. The Chong Kai Allies Cemetery is near Kanchanaburi, about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Wat Tham Phu Wa.
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