Literally meaning "dawn of happiness", Sukothai was Thailand's first capital and the location of the first large scale Thai Kingdom which emerged sometime in the 12th century. About 20 minutes outside of town lies the old city of Sukothai which is a temple compound of about 90 historical sites spanning a region of about 5 square km's. The modern Sukothai is a small town with little to offer except a nice morning market and some places to stay.
Things to do and see:
~Sukothai Historical Park:
As one of Thailand's world heritage sites, the striking ruins of old Sukothai encompass a vast area and are numerous. The central part of the ancient city contains most of the sites as well as a few ponds which at one time served as moats. Housed within old city walls, the central part of old Sukothai contains many beautiful old Wats (temples) as well as the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum but there are also many worthwhile neighboring sites outside the city walls. The park hours are from 6am to 6pm. The park is divided into five zones: central, northern, southern, eastern and western each charging a 20 Baht admission fee.
~Si Satchanalai-Chaliang Historical Park:
Located about 50km north of Sukothai, this park contains temples in the same style of the Sukothai Historical Park but with some larger sites. Also a world heritage site, the park contains temples from the 13th and 15th century but contains archeological evidence dating back to the 11th century. The central ruins span an area of about 720 hectares and are surrounded by ponds. The park is open from 8am to 6pm and admission is 30 Baht per vehicle.
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