Relishing the Olden Vibe of the Ancient City of Sukhothai

Seven hours after leaving the city of Bangkok at the stroke of midnight, I found myself on the main highway of Old Sukhothai – under a drizzly sky. With a throbbing head and the effects of intermittent sleep, I located my hostel, which, to my surprise, is nestled within a boutique resort complex. “Our Dorm of Happiness – as we call it, is located on the second floor. Come follow me” the receptionist told me. She then directed m to my bunk bed inside one of the rooms at the old cream colored wooden house fronted by a picturesque courtyard.

A buddha statue in Sukhothai

I quickly crashed on my bed feeling the soft and comfy satin sheets and entertained the idea of having a long nap to make up for lost sleep. However, the lure of the olden city of Sukhothai summoned. Instead of surrendering into dream land, I hurriedly went down and rented a bicycle.

Sukhothai Historical Park

The ancient city of Sukhothai was the first capital of the Siam Kingdom founded by King Ramkhamhaeng during the 13th century. Much smaller than Ayutthaya – one of the succeeding Siam capital established in the 14th century, it has a more concentrated set of temples and monuments ruins now all located inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sukhothai Historical Park.

Ruins in the Ancient City of Sukhothai

The old city walls covers approximately 70 square kilometers and is where an impressive list of ancient structure ruins numbering to 193 can be found. Easily toured by foot or by riding a bicycle, I will spend a total of five days just cycling and walking around this historic park teeming with beautiful reminders of the bygone years of the Siam Kingdom.

a statue in Ancient City of Sukhothai

Dawn of Happiness

The Siam Kingdom that thrived during the foundation of Sukhothai coincided with what many historians call as the Golden Age of Thai Civilization, thus adding to the historical significance of this ancient city.

Ancient City of Sukhothai

Sukhothai literally translates to Dawn of Happiness, and it couldn’t have been more fitting describing a place conveying a laid-back vibe and bounded by abundance set of nature besieged with trees, rolling hills and meandering lakes and ponds. I find the setting mirroring many charming countryside I’ve been to before – only swarming with remarkable ancient relics.

Marky Ramone Go in Ancient City of Sukhothai

The historical park can be adequately explored in a day or two, but since I decided to extend my stay to five days, I was able to fully enjoy every bit of my exploration. 

Marky Ramone Go in Ancient City of Sukhothai

I spent my first sunset sitting on the stairs of the enormous remains of Wat Mahathat, one of Sukhothai's most stunning temples. The golden hour glistened on every piece of its towering columns as it led my gaze to its lotus bud-shaped main stupa. I recall experiencing a sense of spiritual knowledge and serenity of mind as the flaming red sky gradually faded to darkness. As my first night in Sukhothai draws to a close, I look forward to waking up to a few more sunrises in the coming days.

A Reflective Journey

There is something about visiting ancient towns that usually puts me in a reflective mood. Sukhothai had the similar impression on me the moment I stepped upon its storied grounds. A culminating moment of reflection transpired on my last day at Sukhothai. After spending the morning at Wat si Chum – a 14th century pillared outdoor hall called Mandapa, where a seated 15 meter statue of a Buddha is enclosed inside a hall ruin, I made another round to visit the other temple and palaces ruins.

One by one; Wat Saphan Hin, Wat Pa Mamuang, Wat Chana Songkhram, Wat Asokaram, Wat Phra Phai Luang and a seemingly endless other Wats, I stared at each with complete awe and gratitude. Overjoyed at having the opportunity of laying eyes on structures that has witnessed the birth of the Siam culture and the flourishing of the Buddhist faith. 

Levy Amosin in Ancient City of Sukhothai

Whether I was lost in wonder admiring all these surviving vestiges of the glorious Siam Kingdom era or blissfully immersed in quiet contemplation staring at the silver lake near Wat Traphang Ngoen monastery, I always found a spot where I enjoyed silent moments polishing my Zen state of mind throughout my five days.

Koryn Iledan in Ancient City of Sukhothai

“Old Age is no cause for regret, regret that one is old, having lived in vain” reads one of the signs I saw at one of the temples in Sukhothai. I recited these words as I went on a few more cycle laps around the historical park. In the midst of feeling the wind and smelling the trees and viewing the sky’s reflection on one of the many glass like ponds, I finally concluded my meditative journey.

Marky Ramone Go in Ancient City of Sukhothai

For I felt safe knowing that I am not living my life in vain, but rather - in a way that I would not regret anything when I reach my twilight years. Because there is a lovely way of attaining old age. All we need to do is protect what is essential and discard what we can live without. Much like how these magnificent Sukhothai remains managed to endure and be bearers of historical knowledge and spiritual enlightenment after many years.