Sukhothai, located in northern Thailand, is known as the first capital of the Kingdom of Thailand and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This historical city is home to a wealth of temples and monuments that provide a glimpse into Thailand’s rich cultural heritage. Here are some must-visit temples and monuments in Sukhothai:
- The Sukhothai Historical Park is the heart of the city’s ancient ruins and the primary attraction. It’s divided into several zones, each containing its own set of temples and monuments.
- Explore the park by renting a bicycle or taking a leisurely walk. Don’t miss the Central Zone, which features some of the most significant structures.
2. Wat Mahathat:
- Wat Mahathat is one of the most important temples in Sukhothai. It houses a large seated Buddha statue, and its central prang (tower) is an iconic symbol of the city.
- The temple’s architecture reflects the Sukhothai style with lotus-bud-shaped chedis (stupas) and intricate stucco reliefs.
3. Wat Si Sawai:
- This temple is an excellent example of Khmer architecture influenced by the neighboring Angkor Empire. It features three prangs and sandstone structures, showcasing the cultural exchange between the two regions.
4. Wat Sri Chum:
- Wat Sri Chum is famous for its massive seated Buddha image, known as “Phra Achana.” The image is enshrined within a narrow chamber, and viewing it is a powerful and spiritual experience.
5. Wat Sa Si:
- Wat Sa Si is a picturesque temple located on the bank of a pond. The reflection of the temple in the water makes for a beautiful sight, especially during sunrise and sunset.
6. Ramkhamhaeng National Museum:
- Visit the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum to gain a deeper understanding of Sukhothai’s history and culture. It houses artifacts and exhibits related to the region’s ancient past.
7. Wat Traphang Thong Lang:
- This temple is situated on an island in the middle of a pond, accessible via a picturesque bridge. The serene surroundings make it a peaceful place for contemplation.
8. Wat Saphan Hin:
- Wat Saphan Hin is located on a hilltop and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. It’s a bit of a hike to reach the temple, but the vistas and the ancient stupa make it worthwhile.
9. Wat Sorasak:
- Wat Sorasak is known for its unique lotus-bud-shaped chedi, which is surrounded by elephant sculptures.
10. Wat Chang Lom:
Wat Chang Lom is characterized by its 32 elephant sculptures that surround the main stupa. It’s a less-visited temple, allowing for a quieter exploration.
11. Wat Chedi Ngam:
Wat Chedi Ngam is famous for its towering red-brick chedi, which stands out against the lush greenery of its surroundings.
Sukhothai’s temples and monuments offer a journey back in time to the period when it served as the capital of a thriving kingdom. The tranquil and well-preserved historical park is a testament to Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and travelers seeking a deeper connection with the country’s past.