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Sukhothai Historical Park : Another UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sukhothai Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site that serves as a remarkable window into the past, showcasing the ruins of Sukhothai, which was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 13th and 14th centuries. Located in northern Thailand, this historical park is celebrated for its significance in Thai culture, history, and the development of Thai architecture, religion, and society. Here’s what makes Sukhothai Historical Park a must-visit for history enthusiasts and travelers alike:

Historical Significance

  • Foundation of Thai Culture: Sukhothai is considered the cradle of Thai civilization, where important elements of Thai culture, such as language and aesthetics, began to take their distinct forms. It was during the Sukhothai era that Theravada Buddhism became deeply integrated into Thai society.
  • Political and Spiritual Center: The city was both a political capital and a spiritual center, leading to the construction of numerous temples and monuments that reflect the harmony between the state and Buddhism.

Main Attractions

  • Wat Mahathat: The park’s largest and most impressive temple, Wat Mahathat, was the spiritual center of the kingdom. Its layout represents the Buddhist cosmology, with a main stupa (chedi) surrounded by smaller ones, symbolizing Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Buddhist-Hindu cosmology.
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  • Wat Si Chum: Known for its massive sitting Buddha statue, Phra Achana, which is enclosed within a square mondop. The statue’s serene expression is iconic, and its large size is awe-inspiring.

  • Wat Saphan Hin: This hilltop temple can be reached via a 300-meter-long slate pathway. It is known for its standing Buddha statue, offering a panoramic view of the historical park and its surroundings.
  • Royal Palace and Wat Phra Pai Luang: The Royal Palace complex, near the center of the old city, includes Wat Phra Pai Luang, one of the oldest temples in Sukhothai, predating the foundation of the Sukhothai Kingdom.
Wat Phra Pai Luang

Visiting the Park




  • Size and Layout: The historical park covers an area of about 70 square kilometers, divided into five zones. Each zone has an entrance fee, but a pass covering all zones is also available.
  • Getting Around: Due to its vastness, visitors can explore the park on foot, by bicycle, or by renting an electric cart. Bicycling is a popular option, allowing for a leisurely exploration of the extensive ruins.
  • Museum: Don’t miss the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, which provides valuable context about the Sukhothai period, displaying artifacts found in the area, including statues, ceramics, and inscriptions.

Best Time to Visit

  • The best time to visit Sukhothai Historical Park is during the cooler months from November to February. However, the Loy Krathong festival, usually in November, is a particularly magical time to visit, as the park is lit up with lanterns, and traditional performances and ceremonies take place.

Sukhothai Historical Park is not just a site of ancient ruins; it is a testament to the dawn of Thai civilization and its enduring legacy. The beauty and historical importance of the park make it an essential visit for those interested in the origins of Thai culture, art, and Buddhism.