One of Thailand’s proudest dynasties, the Sukhothai Kingdom, which lasted from 1238 till 1438, presents the dawn of the country’s golden age. Its capital may be in ruins now, but it showcases the aura, grace and majesty of its time. So much so that on December 12th, 1991, Sukhothai Historical Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The main attraction here is of course its temples, pagodas and ruins, located in the old city. Just 12 kilometers from New Sukhothai, a bike ride to the site is feasible. While getting to the park on two wheels, you’ll also get the chance to absorb the local environment and perhaps engage with the area’s locals.
Once in the old city, a whole world of wonder, intrigue and historical mysticism opens up to you. The list includes:
- Ramkhamhaeng National Museum – named after the great King who conjured up the Thai alphabet, a comprehensive collection of artifacts are kept here, as well as several Buddha images.
- Wat Mahathat – the oldest, largest and most important temple in the vicinity. Its structures include a monastery surrounded by 10 smaller monk living quarters, an ordination hall and 200 stupas.
- Wat Si Sawai – a former Hindu temple built with Lopburi inspired designs
- Wat Si Chum – contains the large and distinctively recognizable Buddha image in a sitting position. There is a passageway in the inner left wall that leads to a set of stairs to the roof, meant as a symbolic ascent to Buddha-hood.
- Wat Phra Phai Luang – originally a Khmer Mahayana Buddhist temple that predates the Sukhothai era and eventually converted into a Theravada Buddhist temple. Lots of its relics are housed in Ramkhamhaeng Museum because of the site’s fragile state, although some are still housed here.
A visit to the city of Sukhothai is an enchanting place and its historical park will offer you a glimpse of ancient Thai culture during the Middle Ages. It is an enchanting city where orderly canals trail below sugar palms and frangipani blossoms and of course filled with temples and monuments. For extra beauty, try viewing the place in the morning or evening, when the sun is either rising or setting, for that extra orange glow. Experience Sukhothai in Depth.
For more into Thailand, see our tours here. There’s a bit of everything, sea, sand mountains, grasslands, rice terraces, rural villages, cities, riverbanks, and many more. There is truly something for everyone here!
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