Sukhothai, which poetically and suitably translates as ‘The dawn of happiness’, was the first great Siamese Kingdom and a crucial stop for any discovery tour of Thai history. Little remains of the once great Kingdom, which existed from the 13th to the 15th Century, save the spectacular old capital which sits just 12km from the new city. The ruined city is often associated with King Ramkhamhaeng, one of Thailand’s most revered monarchs and generally considered the founding father of Thai culture. The old city of Sukhothai has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.
The Sukhothai ruins are unquestionably breathtaking, and they are considered particularly significant as the site illustrates the birthplace of Thai architecture and also displays subtle primary influences from other great ancient Asian civilizations. Visitors today can marvel at glorious grand Buddha statues and magnificently carved elephants that emerge from beneath a towering stupor. Fabulous wall paintings and other decorative features can also be found within the various monasteries and religious compounds.
The best time to go: November to February, the weather is quite cool, cool breezes.