Sukhothai is the ancient capital city of the first Siam Empire. Founded and established during the 13th century by Phokhun Si Intharathit, it was the first true Siamese Kingdom after the centuries of rule by the Khmers.
The meaning of the word Sukhothai is “Dawn of Happiness” & directly relates to the “Sukhothai Period” which is widely recognised as being the primary formulative cultural period of modern day Thailand, as well as being credited with creating the Thai alphabet.
The remains of the ancient city now lies 12 kms away from the New Sukhothai within the grounds of the Sukhothai Historical Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located in the northernmost part of the central region of Thailand, Sukhothai province is roughly 400 kilometers from Bangkok. New Sukhothai is it’s “capital”, although realistically with a modest population of some 37,000 it’s little more than a town.
The ancient ruins are scattered all over the old walls of the ancient city where one can have a fill of the wonderful and awe-inspiring Thai architecture and arts. It is said that the culture and arts of the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom were the basis of all that is modern day Thailand.
Much restoration has been done in the ancient city since the middle of the 20th century, with some 193 temples having been excavated & in various states of repair. It is best to get around the five zones in the 70 square kilometer ancient city by renting a bike.
There are other places of interest in Sukhothai. Some are in ruins but most are nicely preserved and maintained. Smiling Buddhas of varied sizes and ages serve as guardians to these ancient temples. The contented and serene Buddha smile might have been the predecessor of the famous “Thailand smile” that the Thais are known for today. Could the Buddha smile be an indication that Nirvana has been achieved?.
The Wat Mahathat is the largest temple in Sukhothai. Its chedi is in the customary lotus shape and is the home of an 8-foot tall Buddha statue.
Sri Sachanalai Historical Park is a national park perfect for trekkers. The trekking routes include trips to beautiful waterfalls and untouched caves. The Tad Dao waterfall is a 30-feet waterfall that is the drop point of Tha Pae stream.
The Thara Wasan cave offers trekkers the opportunity to view centuries-old stalagmites and stalactites. The natural wonders of Sukhothai are breath-taking in their glory.
There are other places to see in Sukhothai like: Phra Mae Ya Shrine, Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, Sawankhaworanayok National Museum, Ramkhamhaeng National Park, the Khao Luang National Park and more.
Sukhothai as a place to visit will not be to everyones taste, it’s a fantastic cultural experience, if this aspect of travel excites you, but with very little in the way of Places to Stay linked to it’s almost non-existent nightlife, a lot of tourists tend to ignore it.
Getting There – is easy visitors can choose between flying, by car, train or bus – when you arrive rentingbicyles is a great way to soak up the culture.
If you have been to Sukhothai before, and have really great memories of places to stay, visit,or just fun things that happened, please share yourSukhothai Memories here.