One of the great things I like to do while traveling is to stop wherever I see interesting places along the road. Wat Neramit Wipatsana was one of those interesting places. The Temple is located high in the mountains in Loei Province in northern Thailand. The laterite gateway is what caught my eye while driving though the Loei Mountains.
Wat Neramit has one of the most impressive churches of any temple I have been to which is 40 meters by 80 meters and reported to be the biggest church area of any temple in Thailand. The temple is well maintained and quite beautiful with amazing gardens that surround the building of the Temple. The garden on the northern portion of the temple has several mature Sala Trees, which are important to the Buddhist tradition.
Sukhothai Historical Park is the location of an ancient city of Thailand's Sukhothai period (1235 to 1438) and part of UNESCO's World Heritage System of sites of historical and cultural significance in Thailand. The park is located approximately 430 kilometers north of Bangkok. The City of Sukhothai was Capital of the Kingdom of Sukhothai as it housed the king and the royal family. The Kingdom of Sukhothai makes up the first independent kingdoms that would later be part of Siam and after that Thailand. This period is full of art, architecture and language that would grow into what Thai culture is today.
King Ramkhamhaeng, who was the third king of the Phra Ruang Dynasty, ruled the Sukhothai Kingdom from 1279 to 1298, during its most prosperous era. King Ramkhamhaeng is credited for the creation of the Thai alphabet and the establishment of Theravada Buddhism as the state religion of the kingdom.
Sukhothai, which translates to "Dawn of Happiness", was a large city at over 70 square kilometers and over 190 ruins from the period have been identified and restored. The main part of the park is identified by a walled in area approximately 1.2 kilometers by 1.6 kilometers. The walled in portion of the park contains the more significant restored ruins of the period. The wall acted to protect the King and the important city inhabitants from the Burmese, whom they were at war with during that period. The main temples within the walled area include Wat Chana Songkhram, Wat Sa Si, Wat Trapang Ngoen, Wat Mahathat and Wat Sri Savaya.
There are bikes for rent at the entrance to the park which I recommend getting due to the size of the park. The rental fee is 30 baht and the entrance fee is 100 baht for foreigners and 20 baht for locals with an extra 10 baht fee for the bike.
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