Central Thailand stretches north from Bangkok, wide and flat, great Chao Phraya Flood Plain. For long stretches rice fields as far as the eye can see. There is, of course, much more than that when you start to look. Rivers, towns and some of the most important historical sites in the country. These include the two former royal capital cities of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. In ruins today but essential elements in Thailand’s historical and cultural heritage and fascinating places to visit.
The west of the country with its magnificent forests, mountains, floating markets and of course the famous bridge on the Kwai in Kanchanaburi are part of this fascinating region.
The Thai capital Bangkok is the heart of central Thailand. The lively city presents itself in a surprisingly harmonious mish-mash of tradition, history and modernity. Buddhist temples stand next door to exclusive malls, exotic markets are punctuated by karaoke bars and you will be greeted with friendly smiles everywhere. Bangkok itself offers more than 400 wats and other historical sites and is often used as a starting point for tours around Thailand.
Ayutthaya was once the most important city not only in Siam but in all of Southeast Asia at their weddings. Founded in the mid-14th century, Ayutthaya was considered the center of the kingdom for the next several centuries. But the shine was supposed to fade and with the invasion of the Burmese in 1767 the city was almost completely destroyed. Today you can visit the ruins of nearly 200 temples in the Ayutthaya Historical Park, which is located on an island at the confluence of the Chao Phraya, Mae Nam Pa Sak and Mae Nam Lop Buri rivers.
Kanchanaburi is a province and city west of the central region of Thailand. Kanchanaburi gained worldwide fame with the film "The Bridge on the River Kwai", and because a bridge still spans the river carrying what was once the infamous Death Railway. Other memorials to Kanchanaburi’s part in the Second World War are also well worth visiting, but the province offers much more than just history. Kanchanaburi has numerous national parks, including a large part of the Eastern Forest Complex, the largest tract of protected forest in mainland Southeast Asia. There are also over 20 waterfalls in the province, including the famous Erawan Falls. All these things make Kanchanaburi an province that should not be missed off from your itinerary.
Bang Pa-In is a tranquil town about 50 kilometers north of Bangkok, on the way to Ayutthaya. It is famous as the site of the former Summer Palace, a fascinating collection of buildings and pavilions laid out in beautiful and spacious grounds. It is located on an island in the middle of the Chao Phraya, River and still used occasionally for state receptions. The palace and grounds can be visited.
Damnoen Saduak, in the province of Ratchaburi is actually quite a small and insignificant town in central Thailand. However, due to its special location in an area crisscrossed by many canals, a large floating market grew up and this has one of the most popular tourist attractions in the on the outskirts of Bangkok. The market takes place every day.
Hua Hin is a popular seaside resort southwest of the capital Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. It is also the summer residence of the royal family, who traditionally spent March and April here. This, together with being only a couple of hours from Bangkok, led Hua Hin to become a popular holiday destination, especially for families, and this popularity remains.