Central Thailand is the historical and cultural heart of the country, and where most of its population speak in the original Thai tongue. The vast fertile central plains are effectively the 'rice bowl' of Thailand, and political control of the central region has always meant control of the country. As a result, the central area has been the primary focus of many wars with Thailand's two neighbours - Burma and Cambodia - during the Kingdom's long history. As much of the central region it is devoted to agriculture, it might appear to have little to offer the casual tourist. However, it also contains some of the most famous and historically interesting towns and provinces in Thailand. High on this list are Thailand's two former ancient capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, which are both World Heritage sites, and you should take at least a day, ideally more, to explore these fascinating ruins. Then there's scenic Kanchanaburi, with its infamous bridge and death railway. This province in the west of the central region has many National Parks of outstanding beauty, said by some to be the most scenic in Thailand. This includes the Erawan National Park with its famous waterfalls, and Huai Mae Khamin Waterfalls in a park that stretches to the mountainous border with Myanmar. There are also camping sites scattered around these parks and many outdoor activities available in the province for the more active types. For the monkey lovers Lopburi is not to be missed, with its famous colony of macaques occupying the town. They are certainly not shy to come and say hello! Close to Bangkok is Nakhon Pathom, Thailand's 'first city' and the birth of Buddhism - which boasts the ancient Phra Pathom Chedi, the tallest stupa in the world.