Thailand Gateway: Sukhothai Historical Park

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Sukhothai Historical Park as the UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 1991, UNESCO declared Sukhothai Historical Park as a world heritage site. The park is called “Historic Town of Sukhothai and Asscoiated Historic Towns”.  Undoubtedly, it is selected because of  its great relics remaining from Sukhothai era. The relics depicts the origin of Thai cultures, architectures, and arts.

Since 13th century, the former Sukhothai kingdom was located in northern Thailand . The kingdom consisted of three towns which are Sukhothai, Si Satchanalai, and Kamphaengphet. Back then, administrative regime of Thailand was “Father-Son”. Father refers to the king who takes care of his son referring to civilians. This is why there were a lot of ancient royal palaces. Nowadays, some of them still remains at Sukhothai Historical Park including Neon Prasat Phra Ruang (The royal palace of the Phra Ruang dynasty).

 

Mahathat Temple: the Largest and Most Important Temple in Sukhothai Era

Sukhothai Historical Park contains a lot of interesting historical places. However, the largest and the most important one is Mahathat temple. Its vastness represents prosperousness of the kingdom. Nowadays, ruins of the temple contains a lot of historical important things. For instance, artefacts such as the historical inscriptions, the Buddhist relics, and the ancient architectural art of temple.

In Sukhothai era, King Ram Khamhaeng was the former third king. He wrote inscription about his autography and the Sukhothai kingdom in steles. His inscription namely “the King Ram Khamhaeng Inscription” is very famous that nobody in Thailand don’t know about it. In fact, there are other inscriptions else. Anyhow, they were written by different important people. At Mahathat Temple, there are three inscriptions that remain to date. The three inscriptions consists of inscription of Pu Khun Jid Khun Jord, the inscription of Chedi Noi, and the inscription of Somdet Phra Maha Tain Jutha Muni.

As the largest religion of Thailand is Buddhism, there are a lot of temples. Furthermore, Buddhist usually gives important to the Buddha relics or Buddha’s ashes. They believe that praying to Buddha relics is like praying to Buddha who is the spiritual anchor to them in person.  Importantly, Mahathat temple is one of the temples in Thailand that keeps the Buddha relics.

 

The Stunning Scenery of Mahathat Temple

The Architecture in Sukhothai Era

Mahathat temple is a worth-visiting place not only because of the historical importance, but also because of the stunning scenery.

The temple was located at the heart of the kingdom. Around the temple, there were walls and ditches signifying the Sukhothai town plan. In Sukhothai era, they surrounded their town with three walls. Moreover, between each walls, there was a ditch, believed to protect the town from war.

Scenery of Wat Mahathat

As you steps inside the temple, you will see an enormous Buddha statue in the sitting position. The statue is known as Maravijaya attitude. By each sides of the statue, there are grand ruins of Viharn poles. Moreover, behind the statue, there is a lotus-bud shape Buddhist stupa, main stupa. The stupa depicts unique style of Sukhothai art.

In addition, the stupa is surrounded by four Khmer style prangs (temple tower) and four five-pinnacles-Prasart stupas in Lanna style. Besides, the stupa’s pedestal is ornamented by 168 stuccos of Buddha’s disciples. The Buddha relic as mentioned above is kept inside this stupa.

Lotus Pond in Front of the Temple
Lotus Pond in Front of Wat Mahathat

Aside from that, there are a lot of smaller ruins of Buddha statues in different positions, sizes, and styles. Besides, there are Mondops (the cruciform building with pointed roof) and Ubosots (the ordination hall). In front of Mahathat temple, there is a large pond full of lovely blooming pink lotuses. The pond looks calm and relaxing.

 

Wat Mahathat with Sunset Wat Mahathat in Night Lights

In fact, “Sukhothai” means “Happiness of Dawn”. Similarly to its name, the morning scenery of the temple is stunning enough to make people happy just by looking at it. However, it is even more remarkable when the sun sets. Furthermore, from 7.00 PM. until 9.00 PM., you can enjoy Mahathat temple and other places in beautiful night lights. Aside from that, the night weather is not hot.

Despite the collapsed of  the temple and the kingdom, the Sukhothai ways of life, arts, and cultures still present through the ruins. Besides, it is still beautiful, and is even more magnificent  over time.

 

Riding Bicycle to Enjoy World Heritage Site

As Sukhothai Historical Park is extremely large, riding bicycle becomes one of the popular activity. It is popular not only because it is tiring to walk, but also because riding bicycle allows you to slowly enjoy the view inside the park. Anyhow, don’t worry about bringing your bicycle because there is a bicycle rental service shop which costs only 20 baht per day.

In addition, there is another option for those who neither want to ride bicycle nor walk. It is shuttle bus service for a park tour. It costs 10 baht for Thais and 20 baht for foreigners.

Numerous Attractive Places in Historic Town of Sukhothai and Asscoiated Historic Towns

Even though Mahathat temple is the largest place in the park, the other places are not any less interesting as follows.

 

Neon Prasart Phra Ruang

Credit: https://thailandtourismdirectory.go.th/th/info/attraction/detail/itemid/5410

Neon Prasat Phra Ruang is the royal palace of the Phra Ruang dynasty. It is where the King Ram Khamhaeng Inscription was found.

 

Wat Si Chum

Sri Chum temple is another must visit because of the remarkable feature. It features a huge Buddha statue inside ruins of Mondop.

Wat Sri Sa Wai

Credit: https://thailandtourismdirectory.go.th/th/info/attraction/detail/itemid/5414

Si Sawai temple is very interesting because of its feature, the three Khmer-style pagoda in corn-cob shape. Besides, it is not far from Mahathat temple.

Sarit Phong Dam

Credit: https://thailandtourismdirectory.go.th/th/info/attraction/detail/itemid/3998

Sarit Phong Dam or Thamnop Phra Ruang is an important dam. In Sukhothai era, it provided water for agriculture sake and human consumption sake.

Wat Chang Lom

Credit: https://travel.trueid.net/detail/3MqDQpnxbpxk

Chang Lom temple which means “Temple surrounded by elephants” is another place you should visit. Moreover, its striking feature of 39 huge elephant sculptures around the temple is appealing.

 

The Tourist Information Centre of Sukhothai Historical Park

Credit: https://www.thai-tour.com/place/614

The Tourist Information Centre of Sukhothai Historical Park provides tourists information about the Sukhothai kingdoms. Besides, it exhibits display of ancient artefacts.

Beside places mentioned above, there are many other interesting places else that you should not miss.

Lastly, the weather in Thailand is very hot. Therefore, don’t forget to carry hat, umbrella, sun glasses, sunscreen and fan. Hope you enjoy traveling, and stay safe.

Opening hours

  • 06:00AM – 07:30PM (Sunday-Friday)
  • 06:00AM- 09:00PM  (Only Saturday)

The night light around the park

  • 07:00PM – 09:00PM

Note: Ticket counter closes at 06:00PM

*The opening hours may be changed because of the COVID-19 situation*

Entrance fee

  • Thai 10 baht
  • Foreigner 40 baht

Shuttle bus service for a park tour fee

  • Thai 10 baht
  • Foreigner 20 baht

Bicycle rental service fee: 20 baht per a day

For tourists who wants to drive cars inside the park, there will be an additional charge.

  • Four-wheel vehicle to six-wheel vehicle: 30 baht
  • The park does not allow more than six-wheel vehicle to enter.

Location

  • Sukhothai Historical Park, Mueang Kao, Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai 64210

Click Here for Google Map

 

 

References