You will never know until you will explore the Angkor Wat of Thailand.
It has been a long plan of mine to visit this UNESCO declared World Heritage place- Sukhotai Historical Park and glad for the long weekend (because it was the new Queen’s Birthday) I decided to give it a go.
Sukhothai Historical Park is found on the northern part of Thailand, close to Sukhothai City, capital of Sukhothai Province. This awesome landmark is one of the pride and joy of Thais being declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The amazing structures coupled with the ethnic culture of Thailand are just two of the qualifications thus, declaring this beautiful place a world gem and worthy to preserve.
Also known as the Dawn of Happiness, Sukhothai is the first Kingdom of Siam (old name of Thailand) from 13th to 14th century and ruled by the Khmer Empire. No wonder, the designs of these houses of worship reflect the images of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In 1238, Sri Indraditya displaced Khmer Rouge and founded the Kingdom of Sukhothai and became the first King.
Now, this vast historic zone offer to visitors a glimpse of the rich history of Thailand. With an area of 7,000 has. (you will walk approximately 5 kilometers ) and unlike other ruins in Thailand, the old Pagodas in Sukhothai are still a majestic of its own despite they were built thousand years ago. Most of the architectural designs are intact and you can clearly describe in awe how the former rulers came up with these magnificent motif. Such as the bricks used as walled fence around the temples, the Buddha statues remain untouched and clear to gaze from head to toe and the standing still large posts though some showing decays on the surface but will clearly remind you that once a great edifice were constructed here long time ago.
Perhaps and even if you are not a fan of learning cultures, knowing Sukhothai declared as a renowned world legacy, you will but wonder what is inside the historical park and think more why it is pronounced by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.
As soon as you enter the gate, you can quickly conclude that this holy place is not only huge to tour to learn facts of the past but you will realize there is more than sight-seeing every corner of the place. I suggest when you visit this place, wear your OOTD as the site is perfect for pictorials, either to post on your social media account or for souvenirs to keep for a lifetime.
Getting to Know the Historical Park
The well maintained green landscape, the narrow roads with lush tall trees on the side, the calm wide lake of Traphang-Trakuan where the ordination hall was built on the midst, the wooden bridge going to Wat Sra Sri and Tra Pang and best of all, the mystical yet mysterious beauty of the temples inside Wat Mahathat are just some of the jewels you will appreciate as there are more to discover inside.
Below are my photos and some facts I have researched that you may find interesting to read and decide for yourself to pay your visit as well:
Noen Prasat (Palace Hill) is the first structure you will see as soon as you get inside the park. Part of the royal palace of the Kingdom of Sukhothai and founded in 1833 by Mongkut during his pilgrimage as a monk and designed it as square with an area of 200 x 200 square meters. Mongkut or King Rama IV also discovered here the Ramkamhaeng inscription which the late King brought to Bangkok. It was believed also this old structure was the royal cremation place as bones and ashes were found indide a brick platform built beside the royal palace.
Wat Mahathat (Temple of Great Relic) – The main attraction and one of the many temples restored in 1920’s and the largest built in the historical park between 1292 and 1347. Founded by Sri Indraditya, the first King of Sukhothai in the 13th century making this temple as the most significant historic structure. Built following the concept of the ancient Hindu representing the universe called Mandala. As you enter the Temple, you will feel amaze while seeing the different and beautiful structures such as Chedi, small stupas and Khmer Rouge inspired prangs, the standing Buddha which represents its final state of joy before his death and seated Buddhas with the palm on the lap which means calling the earth to witness.
Wat Si Sawai– located on the backside of Wat Mahathat and the heat of the sun was teasing me so I opted to not to go inside. The oldest temple in Sukhothai built at the end of 12th century to the beginning of the 13th century before the Sukhothai Kingdom was founded. Constructed by the Khmer Rouge as Hindu’s sanctuary designed with three tall -tower like spire (prangs), a symbol of Hinduism. When this temple was converted into Buddhism, two monasteries were built. In 1907, an artifact of Shiva statue was found in this temple.
Wat Sra Sri and Tra Pang -Perhaps, the most unique temple inside the historical park built as the resting place of the late King Li Thai who reigned from 137 to 1374. Nestled on the center of Traphang-Trakuan Lake and near to Ramkhamhaeng Monument. On the east lies the Ordination hall built alone in a little island.
Wat Phra Phai Luang – The biggest worship place not only in the historical park but the in the whole city of Sukhothai. Built in the late 12th century during the reign of Jayavarman VII under Khmer Lavo. However, this big temple turned into a Buddhist school when Wat Mahathat was constructed. The temple plays a significant role in the translation of Khmer Art to Thai Art. In the 14th century, the prang was redesigned specifically by adding models which it became the basic art model of Thai Art.
Wat Chana Songkram– Built on the 14th century and was built with a stupa style as a perfect example of Sukhothai design and regarded as this stupa as the highest form of Thai art. Constructed between Ramkamhaeng Shrine and Wat Mahathat.On the east are ruins of the prayer hall where only very few left as remains.
Ramkamhaeng Monument– Built twice the size of a real human and made of bronze mixed with copper and was built to honor the late King being the creator of Thai Alphabet and known as the Father of Thai Language. King Ramkamhaeng the Great ruled Sukhothai Kingdom from 1278 to 1298.
Getting Around the Historical Park
ff you want to double your purpose while in the Park- sightseeing while hiking then the place is perfect for you. The roads and the walkway are well maintained plus the air is so fresh to feel. Since the area is huge and if you want to complete the tour faster than walking, you can rent a golf car of 300 Baht per hour or Bicycle at 30.00 Baht per hour. An entrance fee of 100.00 Baht (3.20 USD) is collected per person. The park is open everyday from 8 am to 5 pm. Proper dress code is advised.
Tired of Walking?
How to get here
At Mochit Bus Station, get your ticket for Bus going to Sukhothai Park. If in case you missed the last trip at 10:30 pm., you can also take the Bus going to Sukhothai City. If in case, just informed the Driver and he will drop you though you will walk going to the Historical Park. The fare is 338.00 Baht one way. The travel is approximately 6-7 hours.