The history of Thailand. Stuff of mysticism, grace, charm and proud heritage. One cannot mention the country’s past without saying something about Sukhothai. Located in the lower Northern region of Thailand, the name translates as ‘Dawn of Happiness.’ A fitting name for a fitting city. And your destination for some excellent temple ruins exploration at a UNESCO Historical Park.
A fact, Sukhothai was the Kingdom of Siam’s first capital, with a reign that lasted from 1238 until 1419. After the rise of Ayutthaya, Sukhothai was pretty much abandoned. But its grandeur remained. And you can relive this with a visit here. A city where orderly canals trail below sugar palms and frangipani blossoms. A city filled with some of the country’s most spectacular ruins.
You’ll notice one thing while you’re here. The style and architecture of the buildings exude a distinctive grace about them, especially the peaceful expression of the Buddha statues. These elements of Buddhist art have become synonymous with Sukhothai. On your first afternoon, you’ll visit some of the most impressive sites, including Wat Mahathat, Wat Sra Sri, and Wat Trapang Ngoen.
Let’s step away from the ruins of Sukhothai for a little bit. Yes, this may be hard for some, but a unique experience awaits at nearby Phitsanuloke, the capital of Siam after, yes you guessed it, Sukhothai. Here, take the opportunity to try your hand at traditional rice planting and other agricultural methods before enjoying a delicious organic lunch.
Since you are here, you might as well see head to Wat Mahathat. Not to be confused with other temples of the same name in Bangkok and even in Sukhothai. The monastery in Phitsanuloke is home to one of Thailand’s most famous statues, a golden sculpture of the Buddha called the Phra Buddha Chinnarat. Why is it so revered and popular? It is because the Thais consider it the most beautiful portrait of the Buddha. Do you agree? After a fascinating tour of the Cha Tawee folk museum, you will end the day with a trishaw ride to a local market.
Your history lesson doesn’t end at Sukhothai Historical Park. Not too far from it is Si Satchanalai Historical Park, an ancient settlement with more than 130 ruined monuments. So what do you think? How does it compare to the first park you went to?
Everything you ever wanted is here in one country (except snow, perhaps, but Bangkok does has a theme park with artificial snow). See our Thailand tours for more options into this amazing country.
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