Among the most impressive and grandiose historical sites in Thailand can be found in Sukhothai. So after having a luxurious night in the Le Charme Resort, we set out to explore the ancient city of the Sukhothai empire. The fastest–and most enjoyable–way to see the park is to bike. The Sukhothai Historical Park is home to the remains of several temples, the most impressive being Wat Mahathat, which stands at the center of the kingdom’s ruins. The sites exhibit rich architectural forms and styles.
Immeadiately, the first thing that I noticed was the incredible trees that line the pathways. Scraggly and beautiful, the probably centry old trees were an unexpected bonus to whole experience.
The first part of the park that we explored was the famous Wat Mahathat. One of the most noticeable architectural designs was the use of bell-shaped stupas, as seen as in the image below. Influenced by the split from the Khmer Empire of Angkorian architecture, Sukhothai is unique in design. Most of the temples outer wood structures were burned and destroyed with the fall of the Sukhothai empire around the 1400’s, but the strong stone and artistry remains.
The ruins that I personally found the most interesting was Wat Si Chum. The site is quite popular with visitors and for good reason. As you approach you can see PhraArchana (“He who is not frightened”), the largest Buddha image in Sukhothai through a small slit between two pillars. It stands at almost 11 meters high and was restored in the later half of the 20th century. You can see the large and incredibly detailed (golden fingers, decorated chest, seated position, etc) Buddha image fully.
The meaning behind the name Sukhothai now makes sense. Translating roughly to “dawn of happiness”, the park itself reminded us all of a beautiful sunrise. Even though we did not see the empire in all its glory, being able to catch this glimpse of its splendor was an incredible experience. All in all, we had a wonderful day full of breathtaking sights and a lovely bike ride through history.
~ Emily Moyer and Teagan Feeley ~