Sukhothai is located 427 kilometres north of Bangkok and 298 kilometres south of Chiang Mai and covers approximately 6596 square metres. Sukhothai literally translates as the "Dawn of Happiness" and was founded in the 13 th century as the first truly independent Thai kingdom. Under the rule of King Ramkhamhaeng Sukhothai enjoyed a golden age and is the area where the Thai alphabet was first created.
Sukhothai's temples and monuments have been lovingly restored in Sukhothai Historical Park , a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must visit for all tourists.
History of Sukhothai
In this peninsula Sukhothai was the first kingdom of the Thais. The two princes Pho Khun Bang Klang and Pho Khun Pha Mueang joined their forces to drive the Khmers out of Sukhothai which was then a major frontier post for the powerful Khmer empire. Once Sukhothai was established as a capital in 1238, the Thai people urged Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao to become king and he was enthroned with the royal title of Pho Khun Si Indrathit.
King Si Indrathit fathered two sons, Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng and Pho Khun Ban Mueang. After King Si Indrathit's death, his successor to the throne was Pho Khun Ban Mueang, and in 1278 his brother Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng ascended to the throne and reigned for 40 years as Thailand 's first great king.
King Ramkhamhaeng was one of Thailand 's finest warriors and made Sukhothai a powerful kingdom that's territory extended into many parts of what are today neighboring countries of Thailand . During his reign King Ramkhamhaeng made two trips to China and opened direct political relations with the country.
The King's first visit was in 1282 to visit Emperor Kublai Khan, the second in 1300 after Kublai Khan's death. On return from the second China visit the King brought back Chinese artisans who taught the Thais the art of pottery; the old Sangkhalok Potteries are much sought after by collectors today.
King Ramhamkaeng promoted religion and culture in Sukhothai and Buddhism progressed amongst the Thai people. Religion brought Thai Religious arts given birth by inspirational faith; images of Lord Buddha created in the Sukhothai era are amongst Thailand 's cultural treasures.
The Thai alphabet was created in Sukhothai in 1283, a major achievement of King Ramhamkaeng involving revision of various forms of Khmer alphabets into a system suitable for the writing of Thai words. During his reign, the Sukhothai Kingdom experienced prosperity and happiness.
Part of a stone inscription from this time reads "This Mueang 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 trades."
Sukhothai was ruled by eight kings and started its gradual decline during the reigns of the last two Kings. In 1365 Sukhothai became a vassal state for Ayutthaya , a rising power in the south which in turn became the capital of Thailand .