Central Thailand introduction

Bangkok is the focal point of Central Thailand and its biggest attraction. The region, however, does include several popular tourist destinations that are all easily accessible from the capital. The region stretches from North of Ayutthaya to Hua Hin in the South, and from Kanchanaburi in the west to Pattaya in the east.

From Bangkok it’s an easy ride to some great attractions in the area, such as the ruins of UNESCO World Heritage site Ayutthaya and Lop Buri to the north, or Kanchanaburi in the west with its famous Bridge over the River Kwai. Two popular beach resort areas in the region include the lively city of Pattaya on the eastern side of the Gulf, and the more refined Hua Hin to the west. The region even boasts Thailand’s first national park, Khao Yai.

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Bangkok
Thailand’s seething capital, a dizzy blend of gaudy temples and sites, naughty nightlife, great shopping and plenty of character 24 awesome hours a day. What more do you need?…more
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Ayutthaya
One hour north of Bangkok, the grand ancient capital of Ayutthaya looks magnificent even in ruins; don’t miss this historical UNESCO World Heritage site with fabulous temples…more

Hua Hin
A royal retreat that is popular with Bangkok weekenders, this nice seaside resort is the first beach as you head south. It’s still not too touristy and a convenient place to escape the city…more
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Lop Buri
Dating back 1,000 years, Lop Buri is a compact but ancient site that displays Khmer influences from the area’s earliest civilisation. History buffs will be in raptures here so take note…more
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Kanchanaburi
Site of the famous Bridge over the River Kwai and Death Railway from the Second World War, this nature area two hours west of Bangkok is popular with both backpackers and affluent tourists…more
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Khao Yai
Thailand’s oldest and most vaunted national park is an excellent display of the region’s flora and fauna, well preserved in this hilly and lush landscape with waterfalls and bat-filled caves…more

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Central Thailand guide – beaches, nightlife and stunning temples

There are all sorts of minor sites worthy of a visit in Central Thailand if you have time, such as Koh Kret island in North Bangkok, the giant Chedi (world’s largest) in Nakhon Pathom, the famous Floating Market in Damnoen Saduak and Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park in Petchburi.

Here we have a mini section on the main destinations while the rest of the single sites are covered in summary of Central Thailand’s attractions.

The seat of power in the Kingdom has remained in Central Thailand for as long as the Siam Kingdom has been in existence. This is because of the large fertile rice bowl that comprises the flat, well irrigated plains of the region north of the Gulf of Thailand. For this reason, Ayutthaya grew to become the wealthiest and most far reaching power in Southeast Asia from the 18th century.

Today Thailand is governed from Bangkok, near the mouth of the great Chao Phraya River that dominates Central Thailand. The region is home to more than eight million people and also gets the largest proportion of international visitors with its impressive attractions, lively nightlife, good value hospitality and great shopping.