Found in the 13th century Sukhothai was the first truly independent Thai Kingdom. It enjoyed a golden age under King Ramkhamhaeng. The superb temples and monuments of this great city have been lovingly restored and are now known as Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for all travellers. The Kingdom reigned until 1365 when, after the sovereignty of 8 kings, it became a vassal state to the Kingdom of Ayuthaya further south. The religious art and architecture are renowned as being the most classic in Thai culture and are still an inspiration to this day. Sukhothai has its own small airport or can be reached by road en route to Chiang Mai. The many lotus ponds and statues set in the serene parklands make a very relaxing atmosphere. A great way to explore the area is by bicycle.