Trip Start Jan 08, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, July 13, 2007

I recently drove through Sukhothai on my way North. I wanted to stop off quickly and see the temples and ruins there.
About 1000 years ago the Thai people started moving from (what is now) China into (what is now) Thailand. By 700 years ago they had established a Siamese kingdom under the leadership of the 1st Thai King, King Ramkamhaeng with the capital at Sukhothai. Ramkamhaeng was the 1st of some amazing Thai Kings. He ruled fairly using the rules Buddha had laid out for leaders. Members of his society could ring a bell to have their disputes ruled on by their king or to have their grievances heard by him. Today Sukhothai is a World Heritage area. The Sukhothai kingdom was one of the greatest periods in Thai history and it is fair to say it was a golden age in human history.
On entering the town it seems like many medium sized Thai towns. It has all the things you might need, but it didn't seem to big or too busy. The pace of life seemed to have a Thai calmness to it.
The heritage site was impressive to say the least. It is extremely well kept and feels calm and peaceful. The ruins are impressive and show that the kingdom was clearly an amazing place. It compares quite well to Angkor Wat although its much smaller. 1/2 a day would be an appropriate period of time to allocate to looking around.
I had less than that. A motorbike taxi thing apppoached and the owner asked if I wanted a tour. At first I declined but after a chat about the size of the place I decided it would be a good idea. I was also impressed by the way I was asked. There was no pressure or pushiness and after the month in Nepal I found the guy's politeness very welcome. We spent just under an hour looking at some of the main buildings that were close by. It cost....There were other tourists around but it wasn't crowded at all. Some people were looking around on bikes (perhaps a full day activity). It was really good and I want to take the family there.

Hmmm, Sukhothai isn't Chiang Mai in terms of stuff for tourists to do, but what a great place to spend some time if you are more interested in exploring Thai culture than Thai bars.
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