Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cycling in Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand

Kamphaeng Phet is a small town in northwestern Thailand. This little city is home to remarkable relics dating from the Sukhothai era. Located within a hundred miles of Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet was a prestigious and flourishing city in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Less impressive than those of Sukhothai, the ancient temple ruins are still worth discovering. The majority of them is scattered in a large shady park. The shade is welcome on hot, sunny days. We rented bikes to explore the place: our guesthouse offered bicycles with  cushioned back seats for our younger children. Our 8-year old used a folding adult bicycle which saddle was lowered.

Cycling is the ideal way to discover the site: ride along the deserted wide alleys, follow paths along the ruins, stop wherever and whenever you like.

Which site is better to visit with children? There are three major sites dating from the Sukhothai era, all recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Sukhothai, Sri Satchanalai, Kamphaeng Phet. Sri Satchanalai is the most difficult site to access and visit, unless you drive your own vehicle. Sukhothai is the largest and most popular place. Yet, it wasn't crowded when we visited in February. It's extremely pleasant to explore on a bicycle. Renting a bicycle is cheap and easy, children's bikes and bikes with baby seats are available everywhere. The site in Kamphaeng Phet is mid-sized, pleasant and ignored by many tourists.

Where to sleep? Three J Guesthouse offers a family room (up to 5 people) with bathroom and A/C for 800 THB per night.

Rent a bike: At Three J Guesthouse, 50 THB/day. Also available at the park's entrances, 30 THB/hour (city bikes with backseats for children).

Visit Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park: One site is located about 2 kilometers out of town in the north-western direction. From the city center, it is easy to reach by bicycle and well signposted. The other site is right in town. Entrance fee to either site: 100 THB/person, children free. Combined ticket: 150 THB/person

What else? There's a local swimming pool, great for kids, in Kamphaeng Phet. Entrance fee is 40 THB/person, adult or child. Note that the children's pool is not adjacent to the adult's pool, it's located  in the center of a park next to the Ping river.  There's also a nice, free playground in the park close to the pool.