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Sukhothai "the dawn of happiness" was the first independent Thai kingdom.  Founded in 1238 by two Thai chieftains.   They ushered in times of peace and prosperity and this is considered the golden age of Thai history.  By the late 14th century Sukhothai was in decline and  eventually, due to the rise of religion over military power was superseded by  Ayuthaya

The greatest of the 20 wats in Sukhothai, founded by the first king of the Sukhothai dynasty and remodelled some hundred years later 

Around the base of the main tower is an unusual stucco frieze of walking monks

Riding around this capital of ancient Siam we rounded a corner and came face to face with the Thai army

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