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My first visit to Thailand five years ago made a big impression on me – clearly, I’ve now been living here for the past three years. After just 12 days in the country I was hooked. While I felt like I had been able to see a number of different areas in a short amount of time, the more I looked at my guidebook and Thailand photos during my trip, the more I was amazed of what the country held. Before getting on the plane to go home two postcards caught my eye with photos I had never seen before. One was of the Buddha head wrapped in tree roots found in Ayutthaya, and the other was of a graceful carved Buddha with golden nails that seems as large as the young novice monk pictured kneeling before it. I didn’t even know where they were taken, but these images were so exotic, unlike anything I had ever seen before, and I knew I had to come back and see these places for myself.
I went to Ayutthaya last year (you can read about doing a day trip from Bangkok here) and have just now finally made it to Sukhothai, another one of Thailand’s ancient capitals, to see the temple ruins and massive Buddhas.
Considered the birthplace of Thai culture, Sukhothai, meaning ‘The Dawn of Happiness’, was a powerful kingdom in the 13th century that left behind a number of temples that we can still see the remains of today with 193 ruins spread across 70 square kilometers of land.
For me, the highlight was finally seeing the giant sitting Buddha, Phra Achana, that I had seen a photo of years ago at Wat Si Chum. Housed in a square, open air temple, the Buddha figure completely fills the space sitting with the right hand, covered in gold flake, touching the earth which is said to be Buddha’s hand gesture when he achieved enlightenment.
Have you been to Sukhothai or any of Thailand’s other ancient kingdoms? What did you think? If you’re thinking about checking out Sukhothai soon, make sure to check back here later this week for a guide to visiting the Sukhothai Historical Park.