Wiang Kum Kam
The Lost Civilization of Wiang Kum Kam
Also known as the “walled city”, this ancient archeological site is located in the north of Thailand, built during the 13th century. Wiang Kum Kam is a large visualization of what the city of Chiang Mai used to be, and though its final days were about 200 years ago, many visitors can still imagine what this historical site was like in the glory days.
History: Formerly the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, Wiang Kum Kam’s history differs from previous capital cities. Unlike many of its contemporaries, Wiang Kum Kam was not destroyed or razed to the ground to be left in ruins. It was actually completely submerged by the Ping River when it changed course, swallowing up the entire city. It was only in 1984 that the ancient city was accidentally rediscovered and partially restored.
See: This site is filled with wats (temples) that tower over passersby. And though Thailand is known for having some of the most beautiful and popular temples in the world, travelers will be surprised to find hidden gems not written about or mentioned in most travel guides.
- Wat Chang Kam (Temple of the Elephant’s Burden): Adjacent to Wat That Noi, it’s easily recognized due to the elephant figures supporting one of its structures.
- Wat E Kang (Monkey Tempe): This temple has a bell-shaped chedi and is seated on a high lotus base. It was once inhabited by monkeys, hence the name.
Get around: To better understand and explore Wiang Kum Kam’s rich history, you can choose between these three forms of transportation – bicycle (THB 50), open-air tram (THB 500), or pony carriage (THB 300 for four people); tickets can be purchased at the information center. For tourists who prefer a more peaceful and intimate viewing journey, going on foot is also an option – it will be more difficult, but you’ll get to learn about and view the site at your own pace.
How to get there
Though Wiang Kum Kam is located in the northern region of Thailand, getting there is quite comfortable. The most popular choice is to take a taxi from downtown Chiang Mai. You can also take a tuk-tuk, which will cost you around THB 100 one way. Taking a songthaew is also an option and costs around THB 150. The best time to visit is between December and January.
Address: Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Operating hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Entrance fee: Free
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