literally means "Dawn of Happiness" with an area of 6,596 sq.kms.,
is about 427 km (267 miles) north of Bangkok and was founded in
1238. Sukhothai was the capital of Thailand for approximately 120
was the first kingdom of the Thais in this peninsula. Two
princes-Pho Khun Pha Muang of Muang Rad and Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao
of Muang Bangyang combined their forces and fought the Khmers who
commanded an extensive empire throughout this part of the world.
They drove the Khmers out of Sukhothai, a major frontier post of the
Khmer Empire, and established it as their capital in 1238. Pho Khun
Bang Klang Hao, urged by the people to be king, was enthroned with
the royal title of Pho Khun Si Indrathit.
King Si Indrathit had two sons-Pho Khun Ban Muang and Pho Khun
Ramkhamhaeng. After his death, Pho Khun Ban Muang succeeded him. His
brother, Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng, ascended
the throne in 1278 and reigned for forty years. He was Thailand's
first great king.
of Thailand's finest warriors, King Ramkhamhaeng made Sukhothai a
powerful and extensive kingdom which included many parts of what are
today neighboring countries. A number of ancient cities paid him
Ramkhamhaeng opened direct political relations with China and made
two trips to China-the first in 1282 to visit Emperor Kublai Khan
and the second in 1300 after Kublai Khan's death.
From the second visit, he brought back Chinese artisans who taught
the Thais the art of pottery. Today, the old "Sangkhalok Potteries"
are eagerly sought by collectors.
A major achievement of King Ramkhamhaeng was the revision of various
forms of Khmer alphabets into a system suitable for the writing of
Thai words. The alphabet that he invented in 1283 was essentially
the same as that in use today.
During his reign, there was prosperity and happiness. There was
water in the paddy fields and fish in the water. A stone inscription
reads in part, "This Muang Sukhothai is good. In the water there are
fish; in the field there is rice. The ruler does not levy a tax on
the people who travel along the road together, leading their oxen on
the way to trade and riding their horses on the way to sell. Whoever
wants to trade in elephants, so trades. Whoever wants to trade in
horses, so trades. Whoever wants to trade in silver and gold, so
King Ramkhamhaeng also promoted religion and culture, and through
his efforts, Buddhism progressed among the people. Inspirational
faith gave birth to classic forms of Thai religious arts. Images of
the Lord Buddha sculptured during the Sukhothai Era are cultural
treasures which impart a feeling of peace and serenity.
A total of eight kings ruled Sukhothai. The gradual decline of
Sukhothai occurred during the reigns of the last two kings. The end
of this first Thai kingdom occurred in 1365 when it became a vassal
state of Ayutthaya, a young and rising power to the south. Ayutthaya
became the capital of Thailand before Bangkok.
How to get there
Both air and non
air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok for Sukhothai daily from the
Northern Bus Terminal, Kamphaeng Phet Road. Tel. 537-8055-6
There are no trains going directly to Sukhothai. One may
travel by train to Phitsanulok and then take a local bus to
Sukhothai, some 50 km away. Contact Bangkok Railway Station Tel.
BANGKOK AIRWAYS flies one flight daily at 8.20 hrs. from
then on to Chiang Mai. For more information please contact Tel.
229-3456 - 63
Those with private cars will find it enjoyable to drive
from Bangkok by having the opportunity of really seeing rural
Thailand. They will travel through a number of provinces: Ayutthaya,
capital of Thailand before Bangkok; Saraburi with its temple of Lord
Buddha's Footprint; Lopburi with its ancient Khmer temple; Chai Nat
with its huge irrigation dam; Nakhon Sawan where major rivers
converge to form Maenam Chao Phraya; Phitsanulok with its various
attractions; Kamphaeng Phet and Tak with their striking views of
hills and rivers.
SATCHANALAI ORDINATION CELEBRATION
or "Buat Chang" is a local event held annually during 7-8 April at
Ban Hat Sieo, Amphoe Si Satchanalai. It features a spectacular
procession of ordination candidates in colorful costumes on the
backs of some 20-30 decorated elephants.
is an annual celebration of the Thai New Year, 13 April. The
festival was mentioned in the
famous stone inscription believed to be inscribed during the reign
of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of the Sukhothai Kingdom.
LOI KRATHONG AND
CANDLE FESTIVAL is held annually
on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month at Sukhothai
Historical Park. Activities during the festival include krathong
floating, a fireworks display, and local games and performances amid
the glamorous atmosphere of Sukhothai Historical Park.
Set up in Sukhothai Historical Park with
performances of various activities. The objective is to model the
Loy Krathong festival for those who missed the actual performance.
The program simulates every activity held on Loy Krathong night. The
show will last on hour by serving typical classical style dinner.
The tourists who
want to participate in the program can contact Sukhothai Tourism
Business Club at Tel. (055) 613075