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  • Destination Thailand: Sukhothai

    Destination Thailand: Sukhothai

    Sukhothai (Thai: สุโขทัย) was the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom.

    Sukhothai is 12 km from the modern city of New Sukhothai.

    Sukhothai, which literally means "Dawn of Happiness" with an area of 6,596 sq.km., is about 427 km north of Bangkok and was founded in 1238. Sukhothai was the capital of the Thai Empire for approximately 140 years. Today 193 temples are excavated and partly reconstructed. Old Sukhothai is a very quiet town with almost no hotels but with a great way to experience life in a Thai village. It is possible to rent bicycles in order to reach the temples outside the city wall and with some luck (and some Thai language skills) one can meet some of the locals. Most tourists stay in New Sukhothai, about 12 km to the East.

    The Sukhothai Historical Park (Thai: อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์สุโขทัย) covers the ruins of Sukhothai, capital of the Sukhothai kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries,[1] in what is now the north of Thailand. It is located near the modern city of Sukhothai, capital of the province with the same name.

    The city walls form a rectangle about 2 km east-west by 1.6 km north-south. There are 193 ruins on 70 square kilometers of land. There is a gate in the centre of each wall. Inside are the remains of the royal palace and twenty-six temples, the largest being Wat Mahathat. The park is maintained by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand with help from UNESCO, which has declared it a World Heritage Site. The park sees thousands of visitors each year, who marvel at the ancient Buddha figures, palace buildings and ruined temples. The park is easily toured by bicycle or even on foot.

    The protection of the area was first announced in the Royal Gazette on June 6, 1962. In 1976 the restoration project was approved, and in July 1988 the park was officially opened. On December 12, 1991, it was declared a World Heritage Site as part of the Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns together with the associated historic parks in Kamphaeng Phet and Si Satchanalai.

    Starting with an image of the Yom River flowing through Sukothai:



    Then head over to Sukothai Historical Park:

    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
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  • #2
    The Sukhothai kingdom (Thai: ราชอาณาจักรสุโขทัย) was an early kingdom in the area around the city Sukhothai, in north central Thailand. The Kingdom existed from 1238 till 1438. The old capital, now 12 km outside of New Sukhothai in Tambon Mueang Kao, is in ruins and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage historical park.

    Liberation from Lao:

    Prior to the 13th century, Tai kingdoms had existed on the northern highlands including the Ngoen Yang (centered on Chiang Saen; predecessor of Lanna) kingdom and the Heokam (centered on Chiang Hung, modern Jinghong in China) kingdom of Tai Lue people. Sukhothai had been a trade center and part of Lavo, which was under the domination of the Khmer Empire. The migration of Tai people into upper Chao Phraya valley was somewhat gradual.

    Modern historians stated that the secession of Sukhothai from the Khmer empire began as early as 1180 during the reign of Po Khun Sri Naw Namthom who was the ruler of Sukhothai and the peripheral city of Sri Satchanalai (now a part of Sukhothai Province as Amphoe). Sukhothai had enjoyed a substantial autonomy until it was re-conquered around 1180 by the Mons of Lavo under Khomsabad Khlonlampong.

    Two brothers, Po Khun Bangklanghao and Po Khun Phameung (Po Khun was a Siamese title of high nobility) took Sukhothai from Mon hands in 1239. Bangklanghao ruled Sukhothai as Sri Inthraditaya – and began the Phra Ruang dynasty - he expanded his primordial kingdom to the bordering cities. At the end of his reign in 1257, the Sukhothai kingdom covered the entire Upper Chao Phraya valley.

    Traditional Thai historians considered the foundation of the Sukhothai kingdom as the beginning of their nation because little was known about the kingdoms prior to Sukhothai. Modern historical studies demonstrate that Thai history began before Sukhothai. Yet the foundation of Sukhothai is still a celebrated event.

    Expansions under Ramkhamheng:

    Po Khun Banmeaung and his brother Ramkhamhaeng expanded the Sukhothai kingdom at the expense of neighboring civilizations. For the first time a Tai state became a dominant power in Southeast Asia. To the south, Ramkamhaeng subjugated the kingdom of Supannabhum and Sri Thamnakorn (Tambralinga) and, through Tambralinga, adopted Theravada as state religion. Traditional history described the extension of Sukhothai in a great fashion and the accuracy of these claims is disputed. To the north Ramkamhaeng put Phrae, and Mueng Sua (Luang Prabang) under tribute.

    To the west Ramkhamhaeng helped the Mons under Wareru (who is said to have eloped with Ramkamhaeng’s daughter) to free themselves from Pagan control and established a kingdom at Martaban (they later moved to Pegu). So, Thai historians considered the Kingdom of Martaban a Sukhothai tributary. However, in practice, such Sukhothai domination may not have extended that far.

    On culture, Ramkhamhaeng requested the monks from Sri Thamnakorn to propagate the Theravada religion in Sukhothai. In 1283, the Thai script was invented by Ramkamhaeng, formulating into controversial Ramkamhaeng Stele discovered by Mongkut 600 years later. From the Stele is almost what we know about Sukhothai.

    Ramkhamhaeng’s government characterized the governance of Sukhothai kingdom – the patrocracy – in which the king is considered “father” and people “children”. He also encouraged the free trade, stating those who wish to trade elephants, trade them then. Those who wish to trade horses, trade them then.

    It was also his time that the first relation with Yuan dynasty was formulated and Sukhothai began sending trade missions to China. The well-known exported good of Sukhothai was the Sangkalok (i.e. Song dynasty pottery) – the only period that Siam produced Chinese-styled ceramics and fell out of use by the 14th century.

    Decline and Domination of Ayutthaya:


    The Sukhothai domination was, however, short. After the death of Ramkhamhaeng, the Sukhothai tributaries broke away. Ramkhamhaeng was succeeded by his son Loethai. The vassal kingdoms, first Uttaradit in the north, then soon after the Laotian kingdoms of Luang Prabang and Vientiane (Wiangchan), liberated themselves from their overlord. In 1319 the Mon state to the west broke away, and in 1321 Lanna placed Tak, one of the oldest towns under the control of Sukhothai, under its control. To the south the powerful city of Suphanburi also broke free early in the reign of Loethai. Thus the kingdom was quickly reduced to its former local importance only. Meanwhile, Ayutthaya rose in strength, and finally in 1378 King Thammaracha II had to submit to this new power.

    In 1378, the armies from Ayutthaya kingdom invaded and put Sukhothai under her tributary. Suffering the urban decline, Luethai moved the capital to Pitsanulok.

    In 1424, after the death of Sailuethai, Paya Ram and Paya Banmeung the two brothers fought for the throne. Nagarindrathirat of Ayutthaya intervened and further divided the kingdom between the two. Their sister had married to Borommaracha II of Ayutthaya and produced a son, Prince Ramesuan. When Boromban died in 1446 without any heirs, the throne passed to Ramesuan or Trailokanat. Ramesuan was also crowned as the King of Ayutthaya in 1448, thus began the personal union between the Kingdom of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya.

    The Silajaruek Sukhothai are hundreds of stone inscriptions that form a historical record of the period. Among the most important inscriptions are Silajaruek Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng (Stone Inscription of King Ramkhamhaeng), Silajaruek Wat Srichum (an account on history of the region itself and of Srilanka), and Silajaruek Wat Pamamuang (a Politico-Religious record of King Loethai).
    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
    Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
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    • #3
      Sukhothai Province:

      Sukhothai (Thai: สุโขทัย) is one of the northern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Phrae, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Tak and Lampang. Sukhothai can be translated as Dawn of Happiness.

      Sukhothai is located in the valley of the Yom River on the lower edge of the northern region, 427 kilometres north of Bangkok, and covers some 6,596 square kilometres.

      The Khao Luang Mountain Range, with its four main peaks: Khao Phu Kha, Khao Phra Mae Ya, Khao Chedi, and Pha Narai, lies within the Ramkhamhaeng National Park in the south of the province. The Si Satchanalai National Park is located in the north-west, protecting the mountainous forest areas of the province.

      Sukhothai, meaning the Dawn of Happiness, was a town founded in the 13th century on the fringe of the Khmer empire. The exact year is unknown but according to the Fine Arts Office it was between 1238 and 1257. Founded by Phokhun Si Intharathit, it was the first truly independent Thai (Siamese) Kingdom after defeating the Khmers. Sukhothai enjoyed a golden age under their third king, King Ramkhamhaeng, who was credited with creating the Khmer-derived Thai alphabet which is essentially the same as that in use today. He also laid the foundation for politics, the monarchy and religion, as well as expanding its boundary of influence. Sukhothai was later ruled by many kings. The province is most famous for the historic city of Sukhothai, the capital of the Sukhothai kingdom. It is located about 12 km from the modern New Sukhothai city. Not far from Sukhothai are the Si Satchanalai historical park and the Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park, both were cities within the former Sukhothai kingdom and of the same time period.

      The province was at first known as Sawankhalok, it was renamed to Sukhothai in 1939.
      With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

      Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
      Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
      Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
      Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

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      • #4
        Some images from an early visit to the Historical Park at Sukhothai:



        With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

        Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
        Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
        Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
        Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

        Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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        • #5




          With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

          Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
          Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
          Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
          Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

          Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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          • #6
            The Yom River (Thai: ยม) is the main tributary of the Nan River (which itself is a tributary of the Chao Phraya River). The Yom originates in Pong district, Phayao Province. Outing Phayao, it flows through Phrae and Sukhothai as the main water resource of the both provinces before it tributes the Nan River at Chum Saeng district, Nakhon Sawan Province.

            The Yom river and its tributaries drain a total area of 23,616 km² of land (called the Yom Basin) in the provinces of Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Phichit, Phrae and Lampang. The Yom Basin is part of the Greater Nan Basin and the Chao Phraya Watershed.

            People live and are ensured life by the sides of the river:



            ... but sometimes, when the river overflows, it might cause havoc as well:



            With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

            Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
            Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
            Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
            Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

            Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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            • #7
              Back in the Historical Park, I find peace and tranquility under the protective Lord Buddha at Wat Sri Chum:









              How powerful is this?

              With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

              Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
              Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
              Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
              Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

              Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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              • #8
                Lord Buddha at Wat Sri Chum:

                With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                • #9
                  In 2003 I spent Loy Krathong in Sukhothai, at the historical park, and during the celebrations, I caught these images:



                  Entertainment:

                  With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                  Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                  Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                  Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                  Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                  Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                  • #10
                    Loy Krathong 2003 at Sukhothai Historical Park:



                    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                    Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                    Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                    • #11
                      People, light, darkness, smells and sounds: all the ingredients of an exiting journey:





                      With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                      Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                      Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                      Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                      Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                      Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                      • #12
                        With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                        Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                        Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                        Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                        Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                        Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                        • #13
                          A few of the fire works shots:







                          With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                          Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                          Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                          Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                          Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                          Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                          • #14
                            A dedication to Jan-Olav

                            The last day of January 2010. Writing to Jan-Olav (who had been feeling there was little appreciation of his Thailand travel threads), I told him “pakarang, you should never underestimate the effect and influence your words and images may have, even if you don’t always get an immediate response.”

                            And then I added:
                            I deeply appreciated that you had shared those images and memories, though I couldn’t always quite understand or express the effect they had on me. Then last Sunday I must have reached some sort of subconscious tipping point, for, apparently out of nowhere, I suddenly thought to myself “I want . . . have . . . to visit Thailand”.

                            That was how I came to visit Thailand for the first time, a mere few weeks later!

                            During those few weeks pakarang posted more about places on my itinerary to further excite me….
                            The images that more than anything else profoundly influenced me are here in this thread…those of Wat Sri Chum in post #7.

                            The package tour on which I had been able to make a late booking, took me to the Historical Park at Sukhothai, understandably spending the limited time available at the largest temple remains of Wat Mahathat. I returned from Thailand already eager to return, and did indeed do so, in November 2011 in the unexpected context of participating in a scientific conference. Determinedly – and despite the uncertainties of travel in the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods – I extended my stay, and travelling independently was able to reach Sukhothai, staying several days within walking distance of the historical park.



                            And so, on the morning of the 23rd November 2011, I stood at Wat Sri Chum where pakarang had years earlier found peace and tranquillity under the protective gaze of Lord Buddha.

                            It means so much to me, much more than I can put into words, that I am now over the next days adding my own images to this thread, to take their place with those that took me there.
                            Last edited by Seagull; June 3rd, 2012, 07:59.

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                            • #15
                              Wat Sri Chum

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