We found out about Wiang Kum Kam by accident. Mike was playing around on Google maps and accidentally clicked on a marker for it. Wiang Kum Kam was an entire city that was build over 700 years ago. The city was abandoned due to frequent flooding. A new city was built in what is now Chiang Mai and Wiang Kum Kam was lost and forgotten once it was buried with the mud from the river. The city was rediscovered in 1984 and ongoing restoration has been happening since this time.
Our plan to not rent a motorbike in Chiang Mai and instead rely solely on public transportation has been let go. We really love the freedom having our own wheels gives us and it allowed us to get down to this abandoned city. Mike, my very own expert navigator, carefully transported us through the busy highways, and tiny back lanes on our motorbike and we only got a little bit lost in the maze like streets surrounding the area. Not bad!
We wandered around the main compound, checking out the old ruins and the beautiful new wats. There is no entrance fee which was very nice!
Lan was enthralled with two craftsman who were building a new statue out of bricks and concrete. Long after the rest of us lost interest he was adamant that he wanted to stay and watch. One of the craftsman gave him a piece of the clay that was used in the miniature replica of the statue they were using for scale. Later we were able to find some modelling clay for him and he now has a sparked interest in working with clay. Unschooling at work!
There were horse drawn tours available to explore the other near by ruins. If you had your own bike and did not have kids I would skip the horse drawn tours. You can find all of the ruins by driving around the twisting lanes yourself. But of course if you do have kids the horse drawn tour will be begged for! The cost was 200 baht (about $6). The guide did not speak English but we were given a brochure with a decent attempt at translating the Thai descriptions.
The ruins were nothing too special. We have certainly seen much, much more impressive ruins. But the horse drawn tour was quaint and the kids had a blast. All in all it was a great way to spend a morning!