A weekend at Sukhothai Thailand
Introduction to Sukhothai
Sukhothai Thailand was originally called Sawankhallok but was later renamed in 1936. Sukhothai was the first truly independent state of Thailand. It is not known when it was actually founded but it was founded by the Siamese King Phokhun Si Intharathit.
The Kingdom fought off the Khmer empire, defeating them to become an independent state.
The province is famous for its historical parks and beautiful temples.
Even today it is overlooked by many tourists because it’s not as glamorous as Ayutthaya. Sukhothai Thailand lies within the valley of the Yom River.
The capital of this province is known as Thani and it is located in lower Thailand. Thani is, in fact, 427km away from Bangkok.
With its borders lie the magnificent Khao Luang Mountain Range, the four main peaks of this range are known as, Khao Phra Mae Ya, Khao Phu Kha, Khao Chedi, and Pha Narai.
Even though most people are deterred from going to Sukhothai Thailand because of its distance from Bangkok that is the main reason why you should visit.
The ancient city of Sukhothai holds some of the most beautiful and amazing archaeological sites and is even a UNESCO heritage site since 1991. This ancient and wondrous place will have you blasting back into the past with the beautiful temples and Buddha statues.
The first thing to do upon entering Sukhothai Thailand should be to visit the Museum. Situated at Pak Khwae, Mueng Sukhothai district the admission is cheap and it houses beautifully designed ceramic pottery from the 13th century.
A museum is a good place to first learn about the province history.
It is a simple small museum that preserves the artistically designed pottery from the Sukhothai era so if you are into arts and pottery then definitely visit this little museum.
Rent a Bicycle in Sukhothai
One of the best ways to get around this historical city is by bicycle. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city. Every guest house should have one which they are willing to part with for free or even a small fee if not there are loads of bicycle renting shops where you can rent bicycles and maneuver about the city.
Visiting all those historical sites should be a breeze too especially when you do not have to worry about parking and fuel. You can visit the nearby historical parks and the museum on a cheap and efficient method of transport and is definitely worth a try.
Wat Mahathat Sukhothai
Literally translating to the “temple of the great relic” Wat Mahathat is considered to be the greatest and most important of the temples in Sukhothai Thailand. Nearly every city in Thailand has a Wat Mahathat and this is where the ancient relics of Buddha were kept to be worshiped and protected.
This temple was built sometime around the late 13th century and mid-14th century. This is situated in one of the historical parks.
The temple complex includes within its center a lotus-shaped chedi, Khmer style prangs and four smaller stupas in the corners. There is an ordination hall that is situated to the north and to the east there is an assembly hall.
There are beautiful inscriptions within the temple depicting Buddha and various demons fighting each other.
Since this is one of the most important temples in the country it is advised to come either early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid all those tourists that come to see this beautiful temple.
Wat Si Chum Sukhothai
If you want to have great photos of a huge tall sitting Buddha then the temple of the Bodi tree or Wat Si Chum is the best place to visit over the weekend.
This is the second most popular attraction in Sukhothai Thailand so be aware that going early in the morning or a little later in the evening is the best place to beat the crowd. This magnificent temple was created 700 years ago and was restored in the 1950s.
There is a beautiful legend about this temple where it is said that one of the Kings who was fighting the Burmese in Siam made one of his soldiers stand behind the statute and give a speech, his soldiers who were low on morale soon become invigorated upon hearing the Buddha speak were charged and ready for battle.
The Buddha statue is 15meters high and around 11 meters wide and sits in a roofless temple.
The beautifully crafted statute makes everyone in awe of its magnificent beauty and is definitely a place to go if you want to have some amazing pictures.
Wat Chang Lom Sukhothai
Another beautiful temple in Sukhothai Thailand is the temple of Wat Chang Lom which means the “temple guarded by elephants.”
This temple is situated in the Si Satchanalai historical park and is considered to be the temple in which one of the Siamese Kings found the relics of Buddha and then reburied them here.
To commemorate the event he had the temple built here. The temple is encircled by 39 beautifully carved stone elephants that are said to guard the temple. In Buddhism, the Elephants are meant to represent mental strength.
The temple is next to a hotel so once you’ve done exploring you can easily go and take a break with some food and drink.
Wat Si Sawai Sukhothai
Located within the old city of Sukhothai Thailand and the Sukhothai Historical Park lies the beautiful Khmer temple is known as Wat Si Sawai.
This temple is considered to be one of the oldest temples created even before the Sukhothai Empire was formed.
Even though this temple was created during the time of Jayavarman VII this is not actually a Buddhist temple however it is a Hindu temple dedicated to the worship of Vishnu.
It is hypothesized that the temple was created to celebrate the Hindu New Year or the Triyampavai-Tripavai ceremony.
This temple houses three prangs which are in the Khmer corncob style traditionally seen in many Khmer architecture. There are virgins as well but they are considered to have been placed there after the temple was converted for the Buddhists.
Wat Si Sa Sukhothai
Although this is a small temple with not much to look around for in an archaeological manner the site is amazing for watching the sunset over the horizon.
One of the best spots to take pictures of the sun setting and the contrast those orange hues make while glinting off the water and the trees are an amazing experience one should definitely not miss out on while traveling to Sukhothai Thailand.
The temple is surrounded by water which makes the setting even more beautiful for those once in a lifetime pictures. The temple itself is said to host the ashes of an ancient king within its chedi. The temple also has a stupa with the round point on its top.
Also even though the temple is a beautiful place to visit and is a very romantic place to be one should never forget that it is a temple and should be respected.
Sukhothai Thailand might be a city not as famous as Bangkok or Ayutthaya but this place has a lot to offer especially if you are interested in old temples and have a deep interest in learning about the lifestyle, culture, and traditions of other civilizations.
This city is not as crowded as the rest of Thailand’s ancient cities but this is definitely a place to visit if you want to see the amazing temples and huge Buddha statues that are scattered across the National Parks in the province.
Take a ride on a bicycle and enjoy the city by exploring it. Taking the bike around will give a natural feel to the place as well and you can enjoy the city in its essence.
Take a trip to the temples and have amazing photo sessions to make all your friends jealous. Who would not want to take a picture beneath the statute at Wat Si Chum? Exploring the old city of Sukhothai is an amazing once in a lifetime experience and should not be missed.