Sukhothai, the Siamese Jewel of Thailand
Sukhothai was the first capital of the ancient kingdom of Siam, and if you are traveling through Thailand, this should be a mandatory stop in your journey. The Historical Park of Sukhothai was recognized as World Heritage Site by UNESCO with the most spectacular ruins of the ancient kingdom for more than 800 years.
The mysteries of the Sukhothai Historical Park
It is a strange feeling once entering the Sukhothai historical park: pleasant and mysterious at the same time. Once stepping through gate, Travelers seem like being transferred back to centuries ago, to the heart of the kingdom of Sukhthai, in the middle of the XIII century.
Thailand has appeared on world map as a united country since the end of the eighteenth century. It is the unification of several ancient kingdoms. Being considered the first kingdom of present-day Thailand, Sukhothai has special relevance since its first king, Ram Khamhaeng, who was considered as the greatest influence on the current Thai culture. He established Theravada Buddhism as a national religion, built the foundations of the current architecture, supported the fine arts and, above all, was the one who established the Thai alphabet that attracts so much curious attention to the traveler. A golden era of 3 centuries until in the middle of the 15th century, it was subdued the kingdom and completely dominated by the Ayutthaya kingdom in the south.
All this historical mysticism makes the arrival to the historical park as a special meaning. An extension of 70 km2 reflects the power of that kingdom that, let’s not forget, is more 700 years old. An extension cut to traffic, it is only possible to visit it on foot or by bicycle. A relaxing walk that takes us away from the chaos of big cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
Map of the Sukhothai Historical Park
The historical Sukhothai complex site is divided into several zones and gathers some of the most incredible temples in the whole country. It is important to remind you that Sukhothai played an important religious significance for Thais. As an advice, It is considered as a serious offense to climb on structures or show any kind of disrespect to Buddha figures.
What should we visit in Sukhothai?
Here are some of the most representative points of the visit to Sukhothai:
Clearly, the most spectacular point of the park. Right at the entrance to the historic park, it was the epicenter of the kingdom and clearly reflects the magnitude of the kingdom.
Wat Sa Si
Located on a small island, Wat Sa Si has style which was influenced by Sri-Lanka’s architecture.
Wat Si Chum
Located in the northern area of the complex, the Buddha sitting Phra Achana rests, an impressive 15-meter high sculpture protected by walls; which is one of the typical Sukhothai symbols, without a doubt, the most impressive point of the historical park.
One of the oldest constructions in the park. With four mysterious headless stucco figures they show Buddha in different positions.
Outside the park, the Wat Traphang is located in the middle of a moat in a beautiful place which is also featured signature temples in Sukhothai
For these reasons, soberly deserved, UNESCO listed it as a World Heritage Site in 1991.
It is more than advisable to spend the night in Sukhothai. A walk in the afternoon is most pleasant but, for lovers of photography, the best postcards are taken at sunrise. An impressive landscape that, I am sure that it will become one of the best memories of the Thailand trip.