Attraction in Thailand : Sukhothai

Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai
Khamphaeng Phet
Mea Hong Son
Nakorn Sawan

In 1238, Sukhothai ('Dawn of Happiness') became the first truly independent Thai kingdom. Historical artifacts have demonstrated that Thai culture, most particularly the Thai alphabet and Thai language, originated in Sukhothai. Sukhothai province covers some 6,596 square kilometers. The provincial capital is some 427 kilometers north of Bangkok. The province's major attraction is the ancient city of Sukhothai, which largely forms the Sukhothai Historical Park, which is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site.

Attractions - in the city

Sukhothai Historical Park

Ruined temples, palaces and irrigation systems help evoke much of the former capital's splendor. The ancient city walls measure 2,000 meters by 1,600 meters.

Major Historical Park structures include:

The Royal Palace & Wat Mahathat

The moated 160,000 square meter royal palace area contains Wat Mahathat, Sukhothai's largest and most important temple. Massive stone Buddha images preside over a complex of columns, lotus bud towers and picturesque pagodas reflected in lotus ponds.

Wat Si Sawai

Located some 300 meters to the southwest of Wat Mahathat, Wat Si Sawai was originally a Hindu shrine and contains 3 Lop Buri-style stupas.

Wat Sa Si

The major features are a Sri Lankan-style chedi and large seated stone Buddha image. The temple is built on an island surrounded by an ornamental pond.

King Ramkhamhaeng the Great Statue

This bronze statue commemorates the Sukhothai monarch whose major enduring accomplishment was the creation of the Thai alphabet in 1283.

Ramkhamhaeng National Museum

The museum contains artifacts unearthed in Sukhothai and nearby provinces, and is open daily, except Mondays, Tuesdays and government holidays, from 9.00 AM until 12.00 noon, and 1.00 to 4.00 PM.

Beyond the City Walls

Wat Phra Pai Luang

Located 300 meters north of Sanluang Gate, this second most important Sukhothai temple was formerly a Khmer Hindu shrine before being converted into a moat Buddhist temple.

Wat Si Chum

Located some 1,500 meters north of Wat Mahathat, this temple houses a massive seated stone Buddha image that measures more than eleven meters from knee to knee.

Wat Saphan Hin

This temple enjoys a forest setting on a 200-metre high hill affording a panoramic view of Sukhothai Historical Park. The complex is dominated by a 12.50-meter tall standing Buddha image.

Wat Chetuphon

This temple formerly contained particularly fine examples of Buddha images in sitting, standing, walking and reclining postures.

Wat Chang Lom

This most important of Sukhothai's eastern structures comprises a Sri Lankan-style chedi supported by 36 elephantine buttresses.

Attractions - out of the city

Si Satchanalai Historical Park

Some 50 kilometers north of Sukhothai, Si Satchanalai was the seat of Sukhothai's viceroys, and was always regarded as Sukhothai's twin city.

Major ruins within the award-winning 800-acre complex include:

Wat Chang Lom

Elephantine buttresses support the complex's Sri Lankan-style chedi.

Wat Nang Phaya

This 'Temple of the Queen' boasts exceptionally fine 16th-century stucco decorations in excellent condition.

Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo

Just south of Wat Chang Lom, this temple contains seven rows of stupas, some with lotus bud-shaped spires. Some stupas probably contain the ashes of Sukhothai viceroys.

Ko Noi Thuriang Kilns

Approximately 500 kilns occupy an area perhaps one kilometer square. The kilns were the major center of Sukhothai's famous 14th and 15th-century Sangkhalok pottery, which was exported to Indonesia and the Philippines.

Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat

This picturesque temple is located outside Si Satchanalai's city wall, some 3 kilometers to the south, and contains a laterite stupa with a square base measuring some 22 meters on each side.

National Parks
Ramkhamhaeng National Park (Khao Luang)

Park headquarters are 16 kilometers from the Amphoe Khiri Mat town hall. The park's major peak is 1,200 meters above sea level. Popular with campers and sightseers, the award-winning park boasts sprawling plains, high cliffs, waterfalls, caves and colorful wildlife.

Si Satchanalai National Park (Pa Kha)

Park headquarters are some 47 kilometers from the Amphoe Si Satchanalai town hall, at Ban Pa Ka. The park contains picturesque scenery, caves, teeming wildlife and waterfalls near the park headquarters.

Special Events & Festivals

Special Buddhist Ordination Ceremonies

Each April 7 & 8, the people of Ban Hat Siao in Amphoe Si Satchanalai conduct mass Buddhist ordination ceremonies in which ordination candidates are borne to temples on colorfully caparisoned elephants.

Loi Krathong (Festival of Lights)

Thailand's loveliest festival is celebrated nationwide on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, normally mid-November. The festival is particularly picturesque amid the ruins of Sukhothai's Historical Park, where the event becomes a 3-day affair of parades, beauty pageants, homage paying and folk entertainment. Loi Krathong is believed to have originated in the royal court of Sukhothai some 700 years ago. Beneath the full moon, people from all walks of life float away onto the water small banana -leaf boats bearing a flower, lighted incense, a lighted candle and a small coin to honor, it is believed, the water spirits, and to float away the previous year's misfortunes.