Historical Sites in Thailand

Evidence of Thailand's long history can be seen troughout the country. While some ancient cities, such as Chiang Mai, are well known, others are less visited, and in some cases, better preserved in their ancient state. Here's a small list of the most popular and interesting historical sites in Thailand.

Just 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Bangkok is the old capital of Ayutthaya. The city became Siam's capital in the mid-14th century and remained the capital until the late 18th century. About the time that Americans were tossing tea into Boston harbor, the Burmese attacked and sacked Ayutthaya.
Buddha Footprint Temple, Saraburi Province
The footprint is located on a rocky outcropping about 25 kilometers north of Saraburi town. The footprint itself is covered by an ornate, jewel-like building called a mondop. The outside walls are covered in blue and green mirrored tiles, and gold leaf. We can think of only one other place where you will see this kind of religious structure, and that is in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.
Lopburi is one of Thailand's oldest occupied cities. It first rose to become a major kingdom during the sixth century. It was then called Lavo, or sometimes Luovo. Legend has it that the daughter of one of the kings of Luovo was sent north to found the city of Lamphun.
Nakorn Si Thammarat
The province of Nakorn Si Thammarat certainly deserves more attention from tourists that it gets, especially from those interested in Thailand's rich cultural heritage. The area around Nakorn Si Thammarat town has been settled for at least 2,000 years, and it is through this ancient trading port that the form of Buddhism practiced through the country today first entered the region.
Prasat Hin Phnom Rung
The long low hill, the remains of a long-dormant volcano, rises up more than 200 meters from the broad flat plain of the Korat plateau. It's no wonder that the Khmer chose Phnom Rung ("Rung Hill") to build a temple dedicated to the supreme deity of Shiva. Prasat Hin Phnom Rung is arguably the most impressive Angkor era temple in Thailand. Nearby is the smaller but still interesting temple of Muang Tam.
Prasat Hin Phimai
The town of Phimai is a little under 50 kilometers (33 miles) from Korat. Although a small town today, in Khmer times it was an important city lying at the end of an imperial road from the capital. The temple there was built early in the 12th century. In plan, the temple is similar in size and layout to the temple of Angkor Wat. However, where the central sanctuary of Angkor is a huge man-made mountain, the much smaller main sanctuary of Phimai is laid flat on a platform only a few feet off ground level. Having scaled Angkor myself, let me assure you that Phimai is much easier to explore.
The ancient city of Sukhothai holds a special place for Thais. It's here that Thai history says the first "Thai" kingdom was established in the 13th century. The city is much older than that. It served as a northern outpost for the Khmer empire for several centuries before the Thais immigrating from Southern China exerted their independence in the face of Angkor's waning power.