Sukhothai Heritage Park, Thailand.

Sukhothai Thailand - Touring the Wats and Temples at Sukhothai Heritage Park.

A bell shaped chedi at Sukhothai, Thailand.

Ways of Travelling to Sukhothai Thailand which is around 275kms north of Bangkok.

Sukhothai Airport is owned by Bangkok Airways and that airline is the only one to operate flights there - they operate a couple of flights a day linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The airline provides a shuttle bus which connects the airport with the town. The nearest railway station is at Phitsanulok which is around 58kms from New Sukhothai and once again there are bus connections available.
If travelling by bus there are long distance buses which run up and down the main road connecting Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya, Bangkok and other major towns and cities. There is a main bus station right on the edge of town and the local songthaews (these are semi-converted pickup trucks with wooden seats down the sides) will take you on - actually most hotels will pick up from the bus station often at no charge. The express buses are quite inexpensive and you can either go on the VIP version which is often used for overnight travel or use the frequent and comfortable First Class services which are ideal for day-time journeys.

Sukhothai Hotels and Restaurants. There are limited accommodation facilities near to Sukhothai Heritage Site itself and so most people stay in hotels in New Sukhothai - even so there is not a great choice of either accommodation and certainly restaurants available. There are a few supermarkets but the town itself is very quiet and we did not actually find one restaurant - you basically have to use your hotel facilities. In fact New Sukhothai did not seem to be very tourist-orientated - even the river was encased in drab concrete walls and very uninviting which is somewhat unusual for Thailand.

Sukhothai Heritage Park Area - getting there and what to see.

It is easy to use the songthaews to get to the main temple site which is around 12kms from New Sukhothai and once there the best option is to hire a bike for the day - there are two hire shops opposite the main entrance (and also a couple of cafes there). The main park area is divided into five zones however the most important temples are in the central zone which was the walled Royal City. There is an entrance fee into each zone plus a charge for the bike if you have one however some of the outlying temples can be visited at no charge.
Wat Mahathat Buddha, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Mahathat chedis at Sukhothai, Thailand. Previously part of the Khmer Empire the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom was founded in the 13th century by King Ramkambaeng - the original site contained some 400 temple complexes and covered more than 70 sq.kms. Over the years further buildings were added and eventually there were around 200 Chedi, Wihans and Monodops. The Walled Royal City was originally surrounded by moats and ramparts and contains the large central Wat Mahathat - the area still contains quite a few water features including lotus lakes and waterways - the area is very well kept with plenty of trees and grass areas. There are 3 types of chedi - multi-layered, octagonal based and bell-shaped chedi situated on a square base.
Wat Mahathat lotus bud chedi, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Mahathat octagonal chedi, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Mahathat Wihan remains, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Mahathat Phra Attharot, Sukhothai, Thailand.
The main central Chedi is in classic Sukhothai lotus-bud style and is flanked by Phra Attharot Buddha images which are housed in monodops. All that remains of the Wihan are columns which once supported the roof but there is still a large seated Buddha around. To the north of the central chedi are the remains of the Bot and a Seated Buddha.
Wat Mahathat Bot at Sukhothai in Thailand.Sukhothai Heritage Park Chedi, Sukhothai, Thailand. Sukhothai Heritage Park - a beautiful area to walk around. As you wander around the central area there are quite a few other Wats and Chedi to admire amongst the trees - some of them we have identified but others are seemingly nameless and sat there just waiting to be admired.
The three photos shown on the bottom right strip are of

Wat Tra Phrang Ngoen, Wat Tra Kuan and Wat Chana Songkhram at Sukhothai, Thailand.

- these latter chedi are small restored dumpy Sri Lankan style chedis - the smallest of the two chedi dates from the Ayutthaya period.
Chedi at Sukhothai Heritage Park, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Tra Phrang Ngoen, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Tra Khun, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Chana Songkhram, Sukhothai, Thailand.

Wat Sa Si, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Sa Si, Sukhothai Wat Si Chedi, Sukhothai, Thailand.

Wat Sa Si at Sukhothai, Thailand.

This Wat is located in the middle of the lake. It has a bell shaped chedi with tapering spire and is constructed on a square base - indicating Sri Lankan influence. The resident free-standing Buddha is in typical Sukhothai style.

Wat Si Sawai at Sukhothai Park in Thailand. Wat Si Sawai, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Si Sawai group at Sukhothai Thailand.

Wat Si Sawai at Sukhothai, Thailand.

The Wat has three 12th to 14th century Khmer style Prangs and was probably a Hindu shrine therefore pre-dating the Tai takeover of the city. The Prangs show figures of both Hindu and Buddhist mythology - the square base of the central prang supported a Khmer, Shiva and Lingram.

Wat Sorasak - Sukhothai, Thailand.

Wat Sorasak at Sukhothai, Thailand.

This Sukhothai Wat is located inside the City Wall and according to legend was built on land granted by the Sukhothai Governor to Nai Intha Sorasak. The temple was then used by Mahathen Thammatrailok who was an uncle of the Sukhothai Governor. The main bell-shaped Chedi dates from the 15th century, sits on a square base of 24 elephant stucco - a concept based on the belief that the elephant, which was regarded as a beast of burden for the emperor, was a suitable animal to uphold Buddhism throughout it's period of 5000 years.

Ta Pha Daeng Shrine, Sukhothai, Thailand. Beautifully shaped Ta Pha Daeng Shrine at Sukhothai, Thailand.

Ta Pha Daeng Shrine at Sukhothai, Thailand.

This beautifully shaped shrine in Sukhothai is close to the northern city gate and adjacent to Tra Kuan reservoir. The laterite shrine was constructed in the Khmer style on a base with lotus mouldings.

Wat Phra Phai Luang at Sukhothai, Thailand.

Wat Phra Phai Luang Wat is situated just outside the City Wall - a footbridge leads from the main road to one of the oldest temples in the Ancient City. The three Prangs were built by the Khmer and date before the Thai Kingdom was founded and show both Hindu and Buddhist figures. The wihans and chedi to the east of the Prangs were added onto the temple when it was converted to a Buddhist temple.
Wat Phra Phai Luang, Sukhothai, Thailand. Wat Phra Phai Luang - Sukhothai. Wat Phra Phai Luang - Thailand - Sukhothai. Phra Buddhasirimarawichai, Sukhothai, Thailand.
Wat Phra Phai Luang once contained a seated Buddha, a large reclining Buddha and a Monodop with four large standing Buddha's - all in different poses. On the road opposite the Wat you can also see the modern and nicely designed Phra Buddhasirimarawichai. (photo bottom right).
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