Sukhothai was the prosperous capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom from 1238-1583 and a leader of innovation in economy, politics, religion, culture and language. It is a popular Thailand tourist attraction and the central zone contains the majority of the ruins and a museum. The historical ruines of Sukhothai is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I believe the majority of the site was destroyed by the Burmese army in the 1800′s. Travels With Sheila developed an interest in seeing Sukhothai years ago at the Chatachak Weekend Market in Bangkok. Making our way around the perimeter of “antique dealers”, I noticed and bought what the dealer said was an “old” Sukhothai jar for cheap…cheap. Is it really old? Don’t know. Was it really dug up and smuggled out of Sukhothai? Don’t know. I tend to think that it was created in one of the many pottery villages but liked it….bought it….
Map in hand, the tuk-tuk jolted over the road to the most important site in the Central Area, Wat Mahathat…View image, Sukhothai’s largest temple. The main temple is intact and shows the Khmer influence. There are Buddha images on the pedestal and a number of Buddhist disciples at its foot…View image…along with friezes…View image. Wat Mahathat is a very important temple, supposedly the spiritual centre of the old Sukhothai. Among the approximately 200 chedis within the temple compound, moats, lakes and bridges…View image, Wat Mahathat is spectacular with with its large seated Buddha sitting among the ruined pillars, and flanked by two standing Buddha figures..View image.
Wat Mahataht was very crowded with groups of tourists from all over the world but Sukhothai is so spread out that it never felt congested. Jumped back into our tuk-tuk and headed for Wat Sa Si…View image, a Singhalese-style chedi that is the main sanctuary on an island in a reservoir with a bell-shaped chedi…View image, assembly hall and ordination hall. The assembly hall contains a stucco Buddha image and there are nine chedis to the the south. It is reached by a bridge to the island and I recommend you take the time to walk around to see the views from all sides.
Nervous watch glances and a fast in-and-out at Wat Si Svaya…View image. Wat Si Svaya was very Angkor-Wat style with three Khmer type temples, and a huge busload of Japanese tourists during their group photo right in front it. Not a bad idea, …” is it time for my close up, Mr. DeMille?….”View image…
One last drive over to the northern section to see the huge and famous Wat Si Chum…View image…View image. You’ve probably seen this Buddha image on Thailand brochures. This very massive and beautiful seated Buddha figure (Phra Achana) peers through an opening in its enclosure and I think it was just as impressive approaching it from a distance..View image.
ex-Marine and I finished this whirlwind tour of Sukhothai and sped back to K’s Bicycle Shop where Mr. Kositanont from the Ruean Thai Hotel was waiting to take us to the bus station for the three-hour bus ride to Lampang.