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Pattaya City Thailand, RAMKHAMHAENG NATIONAL PARK AND SUKHOTHAI HISTORICAL PARK

RAMKHAMHAENG NATIONAL PARK AND SUKHOTHAI HISTORICAL PARK

NATURE AND CULTURE AT THE CRADLE OF THAI CIVILIZATION

Two of the many Buddha images at Wat Mahathat
Two of the many Buddha images at Wat Mahathat.

 

reconstructed 
				kiln that once made Sangkhalok earthenware
On display at the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, a reconstructed kiln that once made Sangkhalok earthenware.

continued:
 
There are four summits to the mountain, linked by easy footpaths, each providing a different view over the surrounding countryside. Near the north-eastern summit, Pha Na Rai, a massive overhanging boulder provides dramatic photo opportunities. This viewpoint is so popular, especially on public holidays, that hikers sometimes have to queue to have their picture taken.
 
For the less adventurous, two circular nature trails 1. 2 and 2. 0 kilometres long, with informative notice boards, branch off the summit trail near the entrance. There's a small garden featuring medicinal plants, reminding walkers that, to Sukhothai's original inhabitants, Khao Luang was their local pharmacy. The lowland trails pass through some of the best forest left in the national park and visitors are far more likely to spot wildlife there than along the path to the summit. Resident birds along these trails include Blue Pitta, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Orange-breasted Trogon, Great Slaty Woodpecker and Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher. Altogether, 86 bird species have been recorded in the park.

At first, the trail winds through a superb example of mixed evergreen-deciduous forest, where massive Dipterocarpus costatus trees soar up to 35 meters tall. There are also huge fig trees (Ficus altissima) and a profusion of palms. Rattans and other lianas drape themselves across the forest canopy. As the trails emerge into drier areas, the forest type changes abruptly to deciduous dipterocarp forest with Dipterocarpus obtusifolius trees and various species of Shorea dominating. This forest is home to Common Barking Deer, Siamese Hares and a wide range of squirrels and other rodents.
Centuries of hunting have wiped out most large mammals from the park, but Common Wild Pigs, Sambar Deer, Malayan Pangolin, Burmese Ferret-badger and Asian Wild Dog are still occasionally reported.

What is today Ramkhamhaeng National Park clearly played a crucial role in sustaining the Sukhothai Kingdom, providing those early citizens with essential natural resources such as water, medicines, bush-meat and timber, as well as a refuge in times of war. The lesson to be learnt from the Sukhothai experience is that this ancient city depended for its prosperity as much on a healthy environment as on strong armies and political power-play; a lesson that would be well heeded by modern cities today, including Chiang Mai.


 



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Pattaya City Thailand, RAMKHAMHAENG NATIONAL PARK AND SUKHOTHAI HISTORICAL PARK

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