Sukhothai, Thailand – A Treasure Hidden in the Jungle

Sukhothai – the cradle of Thai civilization and Buddhism

It had finally happened! I was able to spend two days among a large number of ancient temples with no less ancient energy. It so happens that I like the old and dilapidated temples much more than the new and glamorous gilded. Especially pleasing is the fact that there are dozens of them in the historical park Sukhothai, which means that the entire tourist flow is evenly dispersed, and to some, located remotely, and does not reach at all. And it is just such temples dispose to sit in silence and calm, talk about life and meditation.

About Sukhothai

More information to visit and maps of Sukhothai can be seen here: Historic Sukhothai Park – how to get there, where to stay

Sukhothai is the former capital of the powerful and influential Thai kingdom, which existed for about 120 years, and it was here that Thai civilization was born – the alphabet was introduced, Ceylon Buddhism spread, the school of sculpture was established. On the territory of Sukhothai there are about 200 objects of architecture, construction of which began in the 13th century.

I did not think about it at first, but then I realized, because it is the most real place of power. Some temples are 700 years old and people have been coming and anointing these stone structures for centuries. Therefore, in Sukhothai it makes sense to go not to run around all the temples in 3 hours allotted to the tour, but in order to get a little break from the vanity of the world.

I will not describe all the temples that I visited, but I will tell you only about some of the most memorable ones where I spent some time.

Historical Park Sukhothai is divided into three parts – central, northern and western, and is located 15 km from the modern city of Sukhothai. Admission is 100 baht each (there is no single ticket). There is also the southern part, but it is free and the most destroyed.

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The central part of the historical park Sukhothai

The central part is the most popular, and is a nice park area with ponds, perfect for walking or reading a book in the shade of tall trees. This is where all the tours come, so this is where most people come. The central part is surrounded by an earthen rampart and ditches with water.

The central part of the park Sukhothai The central part of the park Sukhothai Wat Sa Si with the seated Buddha Canals around the square of historic Sukhothai Park

The most interesting temple in the central part of the historical park Sukhothai – Wat Mahathat, the former temple to the palace of the King. To be honest, it can not be called a temple, because there is a whole architectural complex with dozens of buildings (towers, stupas, burial mounds) and two standing Buddhas and one seated, three in one, so to speak.

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Wat Mahathat - the largest temple in Sukhothai Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai Wat Mahathat Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai Wat Mahathat at sunset

The Khemer temple of Wat Si Sawai in south central stands out for its three corn towers, cradled by pigeons, making the ground beside them resemble the floor of a birdcage that hasn’t been cleaned for months.

Wat Si Sawai in Sukhothai Inside the chicken coop - looking up Pigeons fouled all over Wat Si Sawai.

The northern part of Sukhothai Historical Park

Wat Si Chum is the reason I came to Sukhothai in the first place. Here is the famous sitting statue of Buddha, showing with a gesture of his gilded hand – go, you demon Mara, I will not be seduced, the earth is my witness (or else the pose is called “appeasement of passions”).

Here I sat for a couple of hours, a very pleasant place. But, unfortunately, heavily visited, the flow of sightseers did not stop for a minute.

Wat Si Chum Wat Si Chum - The Big Sitting Buddha Wat Si Chum - The Big Sitting Buddha Wat Phra Phai Luang next to Wat Si Chum Wat Phra Phai Luang

Here you can also see the stone Buddha from the inside, in section, apparently not yet had time to restore, or decided to leave as is.

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Wat Phra Phai Luang - Buddha stuffing Wat Phra Phai Luang in Sukhothai

The western part of the historical park Sukhothai

There are several temples in a row here, each of them on a hill, which lead to the stone stairs. The most interesting is Wat Saphan Hin , which translates to the Temple of the Stone Bridge. And indeed, the stairs, like a bridge goes into the sky.

The feeling at the top is awesome – the wind blows, raising piles of leaves and fluttering hair, views of the valley, where the park is Sukhothai, around the mountain, and stands next to a huge Buddha with his hand raised. This gesture means “elephant stand, tame your passion,” thus stopping an insane elephant from attacking him.

There are few people here, so it’s time to think, enjoy nature and join the antiquities of Thailand.

West Sukhothai Wat Saphan Hin on the mountain Wat Saphan Hin is accessible by stone path Wat Saphan Hin in Sukhothai Wat Saphan Hin - props so the Buddha would not fall Wat Saphan Hin - views from the mountain Wat Saphan Hin Wat Chedi Ngam next to Wat Saphan Hin

The southern part of Sukhothai Historical Park

The good thing about this part is that there are even fewer people here than in the western part. Here, too, we stuck around for a few hours in the shade, courtesy of the temple. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s nice.

Wat Chetuphon in southern Sukhothai

The modern town of Sukhothai.

Burned down in the last century and rebuilt. Visually the most ordinary Thai town. There is absolutely nothing to see. A little repulsed by the fact that the poverty here for some reason would be more. At least near our hostel were such slums, which I had never seen before. Whether it was such a neighborhood, or the welfare of ordinary residents in this city is not very good.

Sukhothai City - Slums Sukhothai City - Slums Sukhothai City - Slums Sukhothai City Sukhothai City is quite ordinary.The tuk-tuks here are upside down

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