The archaeological site of Wiang Kum Kam is just five kilometres to the south of Chiang Mai, and yet seems like it is much further away. It has a rural feel, being surrounded by village houses and paddy fields, and a sense of history hangs in the air. The area has been settled for over a thousand years, and it was made the capital city of King Mangrai’s Lanna Kingdom around 1287. Over time, due to the river changing course, it became buried under mud, and was only rediscovered in the 1980’s. Now, the Lost City of Wiang Kum Kam is a magnificent place to visit in order to find out more about a forgotten age.
More information about Wiang Kum Kam
The Lost City of Wiang Kum Kam is located close to the Ping River, just a few kilometres to the south of Chiang Mai. The area was settled as far back as the 8th century during the time of the Haripunchai Kingdom, and around 1287, it became the capital city of the Lanna Kingdom. Flooding in the area was a problem though, and Chiang Mai replaced it as a capital in 1296.
Unlike other ancient cities which were abandoned and left to ruin through the ages for a variety of reasons, Wiang Kum Kam has a different story. The Ping River changed course, and flooded the entire area, submerging the city under water and mud. It is only due to pure chance that it was rediscovered in the 1980’s.
Since its rediscovery, archaeologists have unearthed the city foundations and a number of structures. Some of these ancient structures have been restored and others have been excavated and just left as they are. It is now a fascinating place to visit, and one can imagine just how this extensive historical site must have looked back in its heyday.
There are several impressive buildings within the Wiang Kum Kam complex. The main one, is Wat Chedi Liam, and this is widely featured on postcards and brochures. This temple features a chedi with five tiers, and each corner has a statue of a lion which faces outwards acting as a guard. It also has a pavilion which is Burmese in style, which was restored in 1908. The Wat Chedi Liam temple was never touched by the flood. Another notable structure at Wiang Kum Kam is Wat Chang Kham, which contains the spirit house of the ruler at the time, who was King Mengrai.
The historical site has over 40 excavated buildings, and there are various ways to get around, which include bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. The tour starts at the Wiang Kum Kam Information Centre, where there are many interesting artifacts dating from the period, including earthenware pottery, inscribed stone tablets and sculptures. The Cultural and Local Wisdom Learning Centre is also a good place to visit in order to get a deeper appreciation for the Lanna culture, and it features Lanna style houses, tools and other objects.
- Private transportation by comfortable air con vehicle
- Horse drawn carriage
- Registered English speaking guide
- Personal expenses
- Tips to Guides, Drivers etc..
- Meals not listed in the inclusions
- Optional activities