Sukhothai – the most beautiful city in Thailand
Sukhothai it’s a small town located in the southern region of north Thailand.
Inside the historical park it is possible to admire the ancient ruins of the Sukhothai reign, established by Chao Aluna Khmara around 500 a.d.
Thanks to the preservation established by Thai department of fine arts the historical park was selected in the unesco world heritage list.
The whole park can be easily accessed on foot or while riding a bike, which i think is the best way to move around between temples and ruins. In fact the temples are 21 and walking the whole time under the scorching sun isn’t exactly enjoyable. Almost every hotel or b&b has rental bikes, but in case they don’t there are many shops that do just in front of the entrance, with a really affordable price, rarely over 50 TBH a day that’s less than 2 us dollars, pretty cheap!
You don’t need to follow any particular itinerary (local map is fine), in one day it’s possible to see the whole park. I recommend to stop in Sukhothai for at least two days, the heat will be unbearable early in the afternoon, this will limit visiting the park in the morning or late afternoon, unfortunately the ruins are closed in the evening.
If you’re able to reach Sukhothai on Friday or Saturday, the atmosphere in the city will be magic! Between February and May there’s a Food Night Market open till after dark.
Admiring the sunset in front of Wat Sa Si, while eating some delicious Thai street food it’s one of the best things to do in north Thailand. I will ensure you that visiting the park in any other day won’t be as good.
Overall monuments the most interesting is Wat Si Chum, the the temple of the Bohdi tree (it’s the tree where the Buddha meditates and reaches Nirvana). In a tight and tapered building, called mandapa, lies a Buddha made of plaster and bricks, 11 meters large an 15 high. The fingers of his right hand, long and spindly are covered in golden leaves left by his devotees. The outside walls of the building are 3 meters large and contain a ladder that goes all the way up to the roof (now collapsed to ground), in ancient times walking up this ladder represented the rise to higher wisdom. There’s a legend about this statue, it is told that king Naresuan, was on the verge of guiding his soldiers to an epic battle, just in the field in front of the Buddha and the king to encourage his fellow man, ordered one of soldiers to climb the stairs unseen to held a speech on one of the balcony that lead the stairs on top of the statue, a strange acoustic of the small building lead the soldiers to think that the voice was coming directly from the Buddha as if the monument was speaking and coming to life. This gave strength to the soldiers to win the battle. Another version of the story tells the Burmese armies fled in fear upon approaching the image. From that day on the giant statue is also known as Phra Pood Dai, which means The Speaking Buddha.