Sukhothai Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Sukhothai
The ancient capital of Sukhothai, the historical and cultural center of the Sukhothai period (mid 13th c. to mid 15th c.), is situated in the north of the central plain (over 400 km (248 mi.) north of Bangkok); this wide region, bordered by hills, is drained by the Menam Yom. The well-developed historic site is situated 12 km (71/2 mi.) from the modern town of Sukhothai and is most conveniently reached by bus, taxi or rented car.By car: From Bangkok highways 1/32/117 to Phitsanulok, then Highway 12 (430 km (267 mi.)).By bus: from Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal (440 km (273 mi.)), Sawankhalok, Phitsanulok.By rail: nearest station Sawankhalok (38 km (24 mi.)).By air: nearest airport Phitsanulok (58 km (36 mi.)).For 140 years Sukhothai was the capital of an important empire. According to legend the town was founded around 500 AD, one of its rulers is supposed to have been King Chao Aluna Khmara (also called Phra Ruang, "son of the twilight"), the result of a liaison between a human and a mythical Naya princess. Phra Ruang therefore took the name of the dynasty of the eight kings, which ruled the great empire. The first regent of this dynasty was Si Indratitja (c. 1235-79), who was able to shake off Khmer rule in 1238.His empire essentially only consisted of the two towns Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai. If Si Indratitja was instrumental in the founding of an independent Thai culture then his grandson Ramkhamhaeng (1279-99) was much more so. His empire stretched as far as Vientiane in the north-east, Pegu in the west in present day Myanmar and to Nakhon Si Thammarat in the south (almost two-thirds of the existing country today). Events of this lively period (including the first diplomatic contact between a Thai ruler and neighboring China) did not remain hidden from the world; an inscription in stone composed by Ramkhamhaeng, probably a form of inaugural speech, is preserved in the National Museum in Bangkok. The king invented the Thai alphabet and initiated porcelain and faience production based on a Chinese model.Under Ramkhamhaeng's successor Loei Thai (1299-1347) most of the newly acquired territory was lost and his son Liu Thai (1347-68), who took the name Mahadharmaraya, did not succeed in restoring the former glory of the empire. The Ayutthaya king Boromaraja I conquered Sukhothai in 1378, in 1438 it finally became part of the Ayutthaya empire.When the Burmese flattened Ayutthaya in 1767 the inhabitants of Sukhothai also left their town. However, just eleven years later Rama I, the first king of the Chakri dynasty which ruled Bangkok, founded the new town of Sukhothai on the left bank of the Menam Yom. It was largely destroyed by fire in 1968, all the houses in the town center were rebuilt.In new Sukhothai the buildings of the Wat Khuha Sawan on the western edge of the town originating from 1870 are especially noteworthy. In the bot are the colossal figure of a seated Buddha and several smaller ones in Sukhothai style, U-Thong and Ayutthaya style. The large Buddha in front of the bot is a recent addition.
Map of Sukhothai Attractions