Sukhothai (Thai: สุโขทัย, pronounced [sù.kʰǒː.tʰāj]) is one of the upper central or lower northern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Phrae, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Tak, and Lampang. Sukhothai can be translated as 'dawn of happiness'.
Map of Thailand highlighting Sukhothai Province
|• Governor||Piti Kaeosalapsi (since November 2014)|
|• Total||6,596.1 km2 (2,546.8 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 31st|
|• Rank||Ranked 41st|
|• Density||91/km2 (240/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||Ranked 49th|
|Time zone||UTC+7 (ICT)|
|ISO 3166 code||TH-64|
The modern-day province of Sukhothai was named after the Sukhothai Kingdom that once existed in the area, which in turn borrowed its name from the Sanskrit terms sukha (सुख 'happiness') + udaya (उदय 'rise', 'emergence'), meaning 'dawn of happiness'.
Sukhothai is in the valley of the Yom River in the lower north of Thailand. The provincial capital, Sukhothai Thani is 427 kilometres (265 mi) north of Bangkok and 300 kilometres (190 mi) south of Chiang Mai. The province covers some 6,596 square kilometres (2,547 sq mi).
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. Si Satchanalai National Park is in the northwest, protecting the mountainous forest areas of the Phi Pan Nam Range at the northern end of the province.
Sukhothai 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 circle of influence. Sukhothai was later ruled by many kings. The province is most known for the historic city of Sukhothai, the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom. It is 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 in the former Sukhothai kingdom and at the same time period.
The province was at first known as Sawankhalok; it was renamed to Sukhothai in 1939.
The inhabitants of Sukhothai still speak the Sukhothai dialect of Thai among themselves. A language which has been spoken since the formation of the Sukhothai Kingdom, some 700 years ago. The Sukhothai Dialect is distinct from Central Thai in both tone and vocabulary and is thought to be similar to Proto-Tai in tone structure, an ancestor to the modern Thai language. The inhabitants of Si Satchanalai and Thung Saliam Districts in the northern part of the province mainly speak Kham Muang (also known as Northern Thai or Lanna). Central Thai is understood by nearly everyone as it is used for both education and business.
The provincial slogan is "Source of national heritage and pride, birth place of the Thai alphabet, fireworks of the Loy Krathong festival, preservation of Buddhism, the fine Teen Jok cloth, ancient golden chinaware, holy image of Ramkhamhaeng the Great's mother, the dawn of happiness".
There are five highways traversing Sukhothai:
- Highway 12 connects the eastern districts starting at Ban Dan Lan Hoi and passing Muang and Kong Krailat districts to Phitsanulok province.
- Highway 101, starting at Si Satchanalai District, connects the northern districts to the southern districts and passing Sawankhalok, Si Samrong, Muang and Khiri Mat Districts to Kamphaeng Phet Province.
- Highway 102 connects Si Satchanalai District to Uttaradit Province.
- Highway 1180 connects Sawankhalok District to Si Nakhon District and Uttaradit Province.
- Highway 1048 connects Sawankhalok District to Thung Saliam District and Lampang Province.
The Rail system in Sukhothai is part of the Sawankhalok Line, a branch line which splits from the Chiang Mai Main Line at Ban Dara Junction, Uttaradit and ends at Sawankhalok Station, 30 kilometers from Sukhothai town.
Songthaew Songthaews are the most popular form of public transport in the new city and the rural areas. Larger sized Songthaews travel to and from the old and new cities.
Air-conditioned buses run regularly from Sukhothai Bus Terminal to Bangkok and Chiang Mai, stopping at other major towns on the way. Non air-conditioned buses are for inter-provincial travel to the other districts.
Tuk-tuks and motorbike-taxis are popular for short journeys within the new town.
Sukhothai province is most known for its historical city of Sukhothai, the first capital of Siam, founded by King Ramkhamhaeng. The province's temples and monuments have been well restored and Sukhothai Historical Park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other interesting places include Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, Ramkhamhaeng National Park, Si Satchanalai Historical Park, Khao Luang National Park and The Royal Palace and Wat Mahathat.
- http://tourisminvest.tat.or.th/en/component/content/article?id=62[permanent dead link]
- "Ramkhamhaeng national park, Sukhothai province, Thailand". www.trekthailand.net. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
- "Sukhothai". Tourthai.net. 2006. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- "พระราชกฤษฎีกาเปลี่ยนนามจังหวัดและอำเภอบางแห่ง พุทธศักราช ๒๔๘๒" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai). 56 (0 ก): 351–353. April 17, 1939.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sukhothai.|
- Sukhothai travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Website of the Province
- Province page from the Tourist Authority of Thailand
- Sukhothai provincial map, coat of arms and postal stamp