The Dawn of Happiness: Sukhothai, Thailand

Sukhothai, or “The Dawn of Happiness” sits approximately 430 kilometres north of Bangkok. Constructed in the mid 13th century, the Kingdom of Sukhothai was the capital of what was then known as Siam (now Thailand) and remained so for 200 years.

Sukhothai was believed to be a happy, prosperous kingdom whose subjects were treated equitably and fairly. This was thanks to the efforts of King Ramkhamhaeng, who reigned from 1275 to 1317.

During his time as King, Ramkhamhaeng inscribed a description of the shiny, happy Kingdom onto a stone slab (or stele). By doing so, he not only left behind a recorded history of the place but effectively created the Thai script, a system of writing he adapted from the written Khmer (Cambodian) language to suit the tones and sounds of Thai speech.

King Ramkhamhaeng’s creation of the Thai language along with his predecessors commitment to sculpture and pottery lead to Sukhothai being regarded as the birthplace of Thai civilisation and culture.

This ancient culture also developed a sophisticated system of canals, dams and reservoirs that irrigated crops whilst also preventing flooding during the wet season.

The ruins of the Kingdom of Sukhothai still stand today in Sukhothai Historical Park. An almost 70 square kilometre moated complex that you can explore by bike or motorcycle.

Within the park are areas like Wat Si Chum, that features a nearly 16 metre high carving of Buddha…

and Wat Phra Phai Luang with it’s more Khmer-style prangs or spires…

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like Indiana Jones minus the bugs and bone-crushing runaway boulders, Sukhothai could be your kind of place.

Be warned though, temperatures here are in the high 30s (celcius) nearly every day and the humidity is draining, so it’s a good idea to give yourself a couple of days to take it all in.

Resources and Further Reading:

https://www.ancient.eu/Sukhothai/

https://www.orientalarchitecture.com/sid/1071/thailand/sukhothai/wat-si-chum

https://www.britannica.com/place/Sukhothai-kingdom

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