The Central Thailand region is the cultural hinterland and rice bowl of Thailand, filled with a colourful history. The flowing Chao Phraya River and its fertile plains once irrigated ancient kingdoms, and supported frontiers throughout World War II. Its rice crops still feed the nation and plains give rise to the natural beauty of several national parks. There are a huge variety of day trips you can take from Bangkok. You will never be short of things to do in central Thailand.
Tourist attractions in Bangkok in central Thailand are focused around temples, shopping and markets, street food and nightlife. Bangkok’s street life is lively with something always happening somewhere. One night in Bangkok is not enough to take in the exotic anthropology of this oriental city.
What to do in central Thailand beyond Bangkok? For an authentic Thai shopping experience, visit the famous weekend Amphawa Floating Market. About 50 km from Bangkok, this vibrant trade market operates on the Mae Khlong River canal network. Have fun bartering with local vendors directly from their long-tail wooden boats for handicrafts, fresh seafood, vegetables, and lots more.
Visitors will be amazed by the rich ancient history to be discovered in the 13th century Ayutthaya world heritage site and 11th century Lopburi with its Khmer influences, which can be easily reached from Bangkok.
Moving forward to the 20th century, travellers can retrace the steps of POWs in the infamous labour camps of WWII in Kanchanaburi with the “Bridge over the River Kwai” Death bridge, World War II museums and cemeteries.
There are several national parks with cascading waterfalls and abundant native flora and fauna. Make time to visit Sai Yok and Erawan National Parks along with Khao Laem Lake.
Nakhon Pathom is considered to be the oldest city in Thailand with the nation’s largest pagoda and stupa built in 1853 during the reign of King Rama IV. Nonthaburi is the second largest city of Thailand, on the outskirts of Bangkok and Petchaburi is another city best known for Khao Wang mountain and its access to national parks.
If beaches are what you’re looking for, the coastal towns of laidback Hua Hin or the action-packed Pattaya with its crazy nightlife are your best options.
There are also a few monuments and sites in this central region that you can see for free or at a very low cost.
Everyone begins in their adventure in Bangkok! Its sprawling metropolis with an exotic blend of traditional Thai life and ultra modernity. Famous for its temples, shopping and markets, street food and nightlife, there is plenty to see and do. It is the central point for travel into the other central Thailand provinces with train, bus, minivan and taxi options readily available.
For an authentic Thai shopping experience, incorporate the famous weekend Amphawa Floating Market into one of your day trips. About 50 km from Bangkok, this vibrant trade market operates on the Mae Khlong River canal network. Have fun bartering with local vendors directly from their long-tail wooden boats for handicrafts, fresh seafood, vegetables, and lots more.
About two hours by train from central Bangkok, you can visit the world heritage listed ancient ruins of the former capital city of Siam from 1350-1767 known as Ayutthaya. Cycle around the UNESCO historical park to fully appreciate the temples and palaces that once belonged to the largest and most prosperous empires of its time.
Sai Yok National Park is famous for its hiking treks to its caves and waterfalls and to catch a glimpse of its rare wildlife. Its main highlight is the Sai Yok Noi Waterfall, a beautiful multi-tiered fall on the Khwae Noi River near the Death Railway.
A popular day trip from Bangkok (only 3-hour drive), Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi Province, is best known for its impressive seven-tiered waterfall, tigers, wild elephants, cobras, gibbons and a wide variety of native birds.
For those interested in war history this region has much to offer such as the Death Railway and its nearby museum who tells the story of the construction and destruction of the bridge with remnants of World War II including bomb casings. There is also the Kanchanaburi War cemetery, Jeath War Museum and Hellfire Pass Memorial and museum. Most day tours will cover all these monuments.
Khao Laem Lake is located close to the Myanmar border and sports a vast area of swamps, mangroves and forest habitats along its banks. Visitors can enjoy its boat tours, canoeing and fishing within its serene atmosphere and even opt to stay overnight in a floating lake guesthouse.
Hua Hin is a relaxed beach resort town made famous for being the former Royal family seaside getaway and summer palace, offering a laidback seachange from bustling Bangkok. Only a few hours drive south, its the perfect getaway for couples and families with wide-open beaches, quaint seaside villages, night markets and a water park.
A few hours drive from Bangkok is the action-packed coastal city of Pattaya. It is best known for its lively nightlife attracting many singles looking to party at go-go bars and clubs. However, it does have several attractive beaches and the area is well developed with lots of accommodation to suit all budgets with many attractions in and around the town.
Sourced from the Tanao Si Mountains, Bo Khlueng hot stream and spring is popular with people wanting mineral skin treatments and relaxation. Located in Ratchaburi, the water which flows all year round at between 50-68 degrees Celsius. On the route to the hot stream, is the magnificent Kao Chon Waterfall with nine stunning cascades.
A historic city that is home to 11th century Khmer architecture, King Narai’s Lopburi Palace, Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat historic temple and the Monkey Festival.
Located in Nonthaburi, about 30 kms from central Bangkok, Koh Kret is a small man-made island on the Chao Phraya River. Koh Kret makes a convenient day trip out of the city for a taste of traditional Thai life. Koh Kret is famous for its pottery and boasts many shops that have been in operation for over a century. You can also try your hand on a kiln and make your own pottery. There are also some ancient temples to visit such as Wat Salakun, Wat Phat Lorn and Wat Paramaiyikawat and they feature some unique clay and glasswork.
The central region is divided into 22 provinces, which includes :
Greater Bangkok: Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram
North Central Thailand region: Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani
South Central Thailand region: Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Chainat, Lopburi, Nakhon Nayok, Saraburi, Sing Buri; Suphanburi
It is easy to take day trips around the central region and take in the major sites. Public transport includes frequent trains, buses and minivans.
Thailand has two ways of dividing its regions. The six-region system is used for geographical studies: Northern Thailand, North-eastern, Central, Western, Eastern and Southern Thailand.
The four-region system is used as an administrative system developed by the Ministry of Interior. The four regions are Northern Thailand, North-eastern Thailand, Central Thailand and Southern Thailand.
Thailand is divided into 77 provinces rather than states.
The Thailand capital Bangkok is located in central Thailand.
Northern Thailand, North-eastern Thailand, Central Thailand and Southern Thailand.
Thailand’s main features are high mountains, a central plain, and an upland plateau.
Bangkok is located in central Thailand.
Thailand has an extensive and efficient rail network connecting most parts of the country as well as an extensive bus network which is cheap and runs frequently.
In rural areas, the bus network is often supplemented by songthaews which are open-ended vans with two rows of parallel benches. Routes between towns are easily travelled by minivans which don’t tend to operate on set timetables but rather leave for their destination once the van is full of passengers.
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