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.

RELATED: Visit the most amazing temple in Central Thailand

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”.

central Thailand

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 BangkokIt 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.

The famous Bridge over the River Kwai

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.



The Best River Cruise in Bangkok

Looking for a river cruise in Bangkok? We love the Chao Praya River and cruising while dining on fabulous Thai food is just heaven.

Siam Paragon Bangkok

The glamorous Siam Paragon Bangkok shopping mall in the heart of the tourist area in Pathumwan area. Skytrain station connects. Big brand shopping.

Terminal 21 Bangkok

Terminal 21 Bangkok is a shopping mall themed around airports and cities. Mainly fashion and accessories with great eating options on 2 floors.

MBK Bangkok

MBK Bangkok is an 8 storey mall in the heart of tourist town. The skytrain is at National Stadium station so you can walk right in. Close to Siam Square.

Platinum Fashion Mall Bangkok

Platinum Fashion Mall Bangkok is a crazy and chaotic place to shop for clothes and accessories in the heart of Bangkok. Wear comfortable shoes!

Asiatique Bangkok

Asiatique Bangkok is a riverfront entertainment precinct with restaurants, markets, bars and shows. Huge ferris wheel for views over Bangkok city.


CentralWorld Bangkok is a huge shopping mall in the heart of the fashion district. Full of shops, restaurants and family entertainment.

Secret Tips for Chatuchak Markets

Chatuchak Markets are famous in Bangkok. We have secret tips that will make your experience even better! Shop til you drop in Bangkok.

The Grand Palace

The Grand Palace Bangkok is a majestic landmark on the banks of the Chao Praya River. It was built as residence for the King of Thailand.

Chinatown Bangkok

Chinatown Bangkok is a maze of shops, restaurants and small businesses. It’s hot and crazy but you won’t want to miss out on visiting.

Where To Stay In Bangkok – First Timers Guide

Every first timer wants to know where to stay in Bangkok. We narrow it down to 3 areas where you can relax as we have all your bases covered.

Traveling to Thailand – 5 Things to Know Before You leave

Are you traveling to Thailand? There’s a few cultural differences you need to be aware of. Before you leave, find out how Thais live and respect each other.

10 Silly Mistakes to Avoid When Visiting Thailand

Traveling to Thailand for the first time is not always easy for tourists. We look at the mistakes to avoid when visiting Thailand for a great trip.

Ancient City – A Place to Visit in Bangkok

Ancient City is not a very well known attraction in Bangkok. You don’t see much written about it. A lot of people confuse it with Ayutthaya – which is the “real” Ancient City. This one is a park full of replicas.

All About Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong in Thailand is a festival of floating wishes, dreams & prayers down the waterways. Coincides with Yi Peng – sky lantern festival in Chiang Mai.

10 Places You Must Visit in Thailand

We review the 10 places you must visit in Thailand. From pretty white beaches to mountains with massive Buddhas, we will help you plan a trip to Thailand.

The No-Nonsense Guide to Packing for Thailand

Packing for Thailand can be confusing. Our packing list tells you exactly what you need to take for a great trip. Don’t forget those important items.

Wow! You found us! Welcome.

We'd love to help you:

l Plan the best trip you've ever taken

l Find out about places to visit in Thailand

l Discover the amazing food in Thailand

l Explore travel options and itineraries

Join our email list today!

You have successfully subscribed to Vibrant Life Thailand!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This Page