As part of an official trip for the Networking of ASEAN Cultural Heritage (NACH), I had the pleasure of visiting Sukhothai, the old historic kingdom of Thailand, sometime in end January this year. Existing from 1238 to 1438, Sukhothai is the first kingdom of Siam, and its old capital is now a historic park which has been gazetted by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It has a number of fine monuments which showcase the beginnings of Thai architecture and can be considered one of the cradles of Thai civilisation.
Ruled by King Ramkhamhaeng the Great, who created the Thai alphabet, Sukhothai once stretched all the way from Martaban in Myanmar to Luang Prabang (Laos) and down south to the Malay Peninsula. Its influence was larger than that of modern Thailand, and the kingdom appeared to have absorbed the styles of Khmer, Thai and Sri Lankan cultures as seen in its temples and pagodas.