There are plenty of cultural and historical places in Thailand. Today I will introduce you the one that you should not miss if you visit Thailand next time.
Sukhothai Historical Park is the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Thailand. It covers the ruins of Sukhothai, capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was once one of the first capital city of Thailand 700 years ago which was a center of the government, religion and economy. ‘Sukhothai’ means ‘the dawn of happiness’. It’s also known as Old Sukhothai City or “Muang Kao” in Thai. Some ancient sites in Sukothai Historical Park are still in good condition and others are in complete ruins.
Sukhothai Historical Park covers 70sqkm with 193 historical ruins including a royal palace, Buddhist temples, and historical places. It was also a golden period for art and architecture. There are city wall, moat and a gate in the center of each wall a rectangle. The park opens every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Last ticket sale: 6 p.m.) At night, around 7 – 9 p.m., there will be a light-up show.
As mentioned earlier, there are interesting places inside the park. I will introduce you some of them.
Wat Maha That
Wat Maha That is located at the center of the historical park. It is one of most important Buddhist temples and oldest in Thailand. It is expected to be built in between 1292 and 1347. Wat Mahathat means “temple of the great relic.” Inside the temple, there is the grand pagoda which has the shape of a lotus bud. It characterizes the Sukhothai architectural arts. It is believed to contain relics of Buddha. Don’t be confused when you are searching for Wat Maha That on the Internet. You should add “Sukothai” in your search term too because there are a lot of Wat Maha That in Thailand.
Ramkhamhaeng National Museum
If you love to visit natural museum and learn about history, you should visit Ramkhamhaeng National Museum. There are various collections of artifacts such as Buddha art objects, images, ceramics and Hindu god sculptures. There were found in Sukhothai and nearby cities such as Kampaengpetch, Petchaboon, and Srisatchanalai. Local peoples also donate the historical objects to this museum.
Sukhothai Royal Palace
The remain of the Sukhotha kingdom royal palace is called Palace Hill or Noen Prasat Phra Ruang in Thai. It’s located at the east side of Wat Maha That. The famous four-sided stone inscription of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great is the highlight for this place which was found by King Mongkut (Rama IV). He also discovered “Manangasila Throne” – part of the stone throne which is now at Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.
There are more interesting places in this park to explore. You should find out more information about it when planning your trip, so you won’t miss the places you want to visit! I would like to suggest you to get around Sukhothai by using bike. If you want to cover all Sukhothai Historical Park, you better rent a motorbike instead. Taking songtaew (a mini-bus) or tuk-tuk is also other options. The best time to explore the park in the early morning since the weather will be very hot during the day.
By Natcha Poompradit, ASEAN Correspondent from Thailand