The 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Thailand [photos]

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Thailand

Gathering historic sites and rich natural parks, Thailand is home to five World Heritage Sites classified by the UNESCO. With remains of ancient capital cities, prehistoric archaeological diggings and natural parks with lush jungles, Thailand’s World Heritage Sites are just a few highlights of the country’s touristic wealth.

Based upon the foundation of Theraveda Buddhism, the culture of Thailand regroups influences from India, China, Cambodia and the rest of Southeast Asia into a unique blend. With its traditional architecture seen through religious and administrative buildings, Thailand joins the influences from its neighbors into its hospitable tradition and tropical climate.

Within more than 1000 historical and natural sites in the world, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural OrganizationUNESCO – has recognized the importance of the Cambodian culture through the classification of five sites for their unique cultural, historical and natural value for mankind.

Here is the complete list of World Heritage Sites in Thailand together with details and beautiful pictures to keep in mind for the use of travel and tourism professionals, and the viewing pleasure of all.

The 5 World Heritage Sites listed by the UNESCO in Thailand

Historic City of Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya Historical Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Thailand

© Photo: Oliver Davis

Ayutthaya was the capital of the Kingdom of Siam from the mid 14th century until its destruction by the Burmese in the 18th century. The numerous remains of large religious and administrative buildings are as many clues to imagine how splendid the city must have been.

  • Location: Ayutthaya Province, Thailand
  • Site type: cultural
  • Size: 289 ha
  • Year of inscription: 1991

Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns

Wat Mahathat in Morning Light

© Photo: Takashi Mizoguchi

Sukhothai was the first capital of the Kingdom of Siam, in the 13th and 14th centuries. The remaining monuments present how various influences and traditions were assimilated in the “Sukhothai style” by the Siamese people to create a distinct culture.

  • Location: Sukhothai and Kamphaeng Phet Provinces, Thailand
  • Site type: cultural
  • Size: 11,852 ha
  • Year of inscription: 1991

Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries

Banteng, Bos javanicus & Sambar deer, Rusa unicolor in Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuary

© Photo: tontantravel

The Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries encompass almost all kinds of forests from Southeast Asia. With more than 600,000 ha situated on the border with Myanmar, the wildlife sanctuaries are home to a vast array of fauna, including several endangered species.

  • Location: Kanchanaburi, Tak and Uthai Thani Provinces, Thailand
  • Site type: natural
  • Size: 622,200 ha
  • Year of inscription: 1991

Ban Chiang Archaeological Site

Wat Pho Si Nai Pit

© Photo: Brian Hoffman

One of the most important prehistoric settlement, Ban Chiang gathers evidence of human evolution in Southeast Asia. With artifacts, human and building remains, it displays on of the earliest use of metals and agriculture in the region.

  • Location: Udon Thani Province, Thailand
  • Site type: cultural
  • Size: 64 ha
  • Year of inscription: 1992

Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex

Sitting Elephant in Khao Yai national park

© Photo: tontantravel

The Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex is a large, protected tropical forest located on the border with Cambodia. Especially important for the preservation of fauna,  it is key to the long-term survival of several endangered animal species.

  • Location: Saraburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Nayok, Prachinburi, Sa Kaeo and Buriram Provinces, Thailand
  • Site type: natural
  • Size: 615,000 ha
  • Year of inscription: 2005

Other Thai sites submitted to the UNESCO tentative list

The Thai authorities have also submitted another site to be considered for nomination as UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • Phimai, its Cultural Route and the Associated Temples of Phanomroong and Muangtam (2004)
  • Phuphrabat Historical Park (2004)
  • Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex (KKFC) (2011)
  • Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, Nakhon Si Thammarat (2012)
  • Monuments, Sites and Cultural Landscape of Chiang Mai, Capital of Lanna (2015)

UNESCO logoHere is the full list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Thailand. For more information about them, visit the Thailand page on the website of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO.

For more information on the other UNESCO sites in the ASEAN region, visit the World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia.

Original header image: Nayika C.for Wikimedia Commons

What do you think of these World Heritage Sites in Thailand? Which do you prefer? Do you have some tips to make a better visit? Any other site in Thailand you think should be added by UNESCO? Leave your comments below!

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