Sukhothai, World Heritage city in north Thailand
Sukhothai is one of Thailand's most famous World Heritage cities. The Sukhothai Kingdom existed from 1238 until 1438 and there are many ruins in the old town and surrounding to be seen. Over the years a lot of the smaller pottery and artwork of the kingdom have been found and are to be seen in the national museums of the city and in Bangkok.
As for the ruins, there is much left, especially stupas and Buddha statues. Parts of temple walls and monasteries have been restored too.
The place to start your exploration is the Historical Park. Entry is B100 (US $3). You can go around the park on foot, bicycle and for an additional fee even by car. I would say on foot is the best way.
This way you can go into a temple complex by one gate and leave through another.
You can easily spend half a day in the park alone. The other half of the day can be spend on bicycle to explore some of the other areas close to historical park.
Probably the first ruin to visit is Wat Mahathat. This complex is located almost at the entrance of the park and contains a temple, a chedi (stupa) and an ordination hall. There are (as almost always) no roofs left but you can still see some of the ornaments and statues showing a glimpse of the grandeur of the Sukhothai civilization.
Although Wat Mahathat is the main complex in the park, there are many other temples and monasteries. One of them is Wat Si Sawai which is interesting as the prangs (towers) are still standing and have some amazing sculpturing.
Wat Sa Si has a stupa with some beautiful sculptures in the (now) garden.
Around the city there are more temples. The one that might grab your interest is Wat Phra Phai luang.
The temple is older than the city and was most likely built late in the 12th century during the reign of the great Khmer king Jayavarman VII (the king who built Angkor Thom in Cambodia).
It is also the second largest temple in the area. Only Wat Mahathat is larger.
There is quite a bit left of the city walls. For the most all that is left is just a low wall of earth. The wall goes all along the old city and although there is not much to see about the wall, on the south side, there are the remains of a watchers house.
For the detailed art work, you have to visit the excellent national museum, opposite of the entry of the historical park. On display are findings in the area showing the highly sophisticated culture of 1000 years ago. Maybe a visit to the museum is more essential than a visit to the park.
Accommodation in Sukhothai
There are two areas where you can stay: old and new Sukothai. I would recommend the old city. You will find hotels and guesthouses in all price ranges.
The Vitoon Guesthouse located opposite of the historical park. As I came from the north this was the first guesthouse I saw, checked it and stayed here 2 nights. Rooms are immaculately clean including hot water and cable TV. Western breakfast is available. If you do not have your own bicycle, next door there's a bicycle rent shop. I forgot to make a photo of the room, so check this link for photos.
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