Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet & Tak

The modern-day province of Sukhothai was named after the Sukhothai Kingdom that once existed in the area, which in turn borrowed its name from the Sanskrit terms sukha ('happiness') + udaya ('rise, emergence'), meaning 'dawn of happiness'. Sukhothai province is most famous for its historical city of Sukhothai, the first capital of Siam, founded by King Ramkhamhaeng. The province's temples and monuments have been restored well and Sukhothai Historical Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The earliest historical records indicate that at a time prior to or during the 11th century, the present-day city of Phitsanulok was a strategic Khmer outpost known as Song Khwae. The economy of Phitsanulok Province is driven by agriculture, mineral resources, industry and tourism. Rice production is the central component of the agricultural sector. The province's rich black soil, intricate canal systems and abundant rainfall provide an ideal environment for growing rice.

River flats make up much of the east of Kamphaeng Phet province, while the west is mountainous and covered with forests. One of the provinces best-known products is bananas, especially the kluai khai, a small, round, sweet banana. Banana festivals are held every year to thank the spirits for the harvest. Kamphaeng Phet city is home to a historical park with ruins dating back to the 14th- to 16th-century, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site "Historic Town of Sukhothai & Associated Historic Towns".

Tak was once an ancient kingdom, with its peak around the 1st century. By the 5th century, the kingdom was in decline and the capital was moved south to Lavo in present day Lopburi province. Today, agriculture is a major part of the Tak economy and the province produces rice, corn, vegetables, fruits, beef, and other foods. Tourism, especially ecotourism, in the southern part is seasonal with popular destinations such as waterfalls, hiking and white water rafting in its various forest reserves. Tak is also known for its Loi Krathong festival, held on the Ping River on Loi Krathong night on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, thus the exact date of the festival changes every year. In the Western calendar this usually falls in the month of November. Loi means to 'float', while a krathong is a small container made of leaves which can be floated on water, holding small goods such as a traditional Thai dish or coins. Thais launch their krathong on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as they do so.

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