Friday, December 11, 2009

discovering Thailand.... part 6 Sukhothai - "The Dawn of Happiness "

Today we are off on an early start and our destination is SUKHOTHAI - the old capital of the Thai Kingdom. The word Sukhothai literally means " the dawn of happiness ". Sukhothai  was designated to be a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1991. We ( again ) hired a private van with a driver cum tour guide to take us there. The trip itself is a total of 8 hours. It would be wise to stay overnight in Sukhothai to enjoy the scenery and be able to visit more temples.

Throughout the ancient ruins of Sukhothai are hundreds of Buddha images, some small , some giant but each of them has that famous serene smile. These images are what make this ancient city so fascinating today. It is also the Buddhas that keep Sukhothai alive --- each of the temples is still a shrine where people come to pray, making them a part of modern day life rather than simply a museum for the ancient civilization of the 13th century.


The first national park we went to  was the Si Satchanalai Historical Park which is a riverside town believed to be an important outpost of the kingdom before it was moved to Sukhothai. In this historical park, numerous temple ruins and bell-shaped Buddhist shrines nestle under shady trees.

Wat Chang Lom - this temple has seven rows of lotus-bud shaped chedi, decorated in various Asian architectural styles to house the ashes of the ruling Si Satchanalai dynasty.

Wat Nang Phaya - meaning " Temple of the Queen " was the one late structures to take root in Si Satchanalai. A solitary  chapel wall stands , famous for its surviving stucco floral relief decoration, which imitates the Ayutthayan artistic style.

The park covers the whole area of an old city including the ruins of the royal palaces, Buddhist temples with gorgeous Buddha stautes on the pedestals, the city gates, moats, ponds and canals. Touring the park can be done on foot or by bicycle.

The site is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.  The admission to these parks are 100 Baht each section. The  cost of the hiring a private van is 6000 Baht.

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