Visit Sukhothai, Thailand. All you need to know.

by Ale Werner
Sukhothai - Thailand - Wat Traphang Ngoen

If you are going to visit Sukhothai in Thailand then you will have many doubts regarding topics such as weather, transport, accommodation, food and other important to plan your visit. This place has huge historical importance for the country, however, it is not within the tourist route … which makes it even more interesting because you can see a great piece of history without masses of tourists around you interrupting the experience. Do you want to know more? Keep reading.

A little bit of history before traveling to Sukhothai

Sukhothai was the first capital of the Kingdom of Siam, and unlike its successor (Ayutthaya), was not destroyed so the state of preservation of its temples is magnificent. It was capital as such between 1279 and 1438, year in which it was absorbed by the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Thanks to Sukhothai and his kings we appreciate what Thailand is today; During this period, the bases of the Buddhism Theravada were established, which up to now practiced 95% of the population, the Thai alphabet was written and the monarchy was strengthened with the support of the people. Since 1991, Unesco declared the park a World Heritage Site and is highly protected. To visit it, you should know that today there are two Sukhothai, the “new” and the “old”. As you will imagine in the old one is the park, which is divided into 3 zones: the central, the north and the west; the central one is the main and most beautiful one. You will also find several restaurants and hotels that are only there for the benefit of tourists. In the New Sukhothai is the current city, which is 12 km from the old site, where you will find most of the hotel offer.

Important information to plan a trip to Sukhothai in Thailand

When to visit Sukhothai

The best time to travel to Sukhothai is from November to March,  on the dry winter season. There will be less rain and the heat is not as oppressive as the rest of the year. From March to May it is also dry, but much hotter. During the rest of the year, you can also visit Sukhothai, but you risk very rainy days. The good thing is that it will be the low season and therefore the prices and the number of people visiting will be lower too.

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How to get to Sukhothai from other cities in Thailand

Here’s how to get to Sukhothai and the different transport alternatives to this historic center from other cities in Thailand.

Airplane:

The nearest airport is Phitsanulok airport. From here you can take a train, a motorcycle or a tuc tuc to the village of Sukhothai. Keep reading to better understand these alternatives.

Train:

The nearest train station to Sukhothai, Thailand, is in Phitsanulok, which you can reach from north or south. If you arrive in Phitsanulok, head to Phitsanulok’s Baw Khaw Saw terminal bus 4 kilometers east of the city center. Take a bus (they leave every hour) to Sukhothai, which in only 1 hour will leave you in New Sukhothai. We did something more extreme and we rented a motorbike for the days we were visiting the place and went there to the old capital. It was difficult to find where to rent, but there is a place that we mark on the map. We did not have any problems and the owner complied with everything agreed.

Bus:

  • From the south (Bangkok) take the bus at the station Mo Chit (which we talked about in the post from Bangkok) which in only 6 or 7 hours will leave you to 15 minutes from the New Sukhothai.
  • From the north, the buses will leave you in the same place. The road from Chiang Mai takes about 4 hours.

Arrive at Old Sukhothai from the New Sukhothai:

The most common way is to take a bus to the temples of Sukhothai. These stop very close to the bridge on the main street of the city. For 30 THB they leave you in the park from 06:30 to 17:00. They leave every 30 minutes approximately. You can get there by renting a motorcycle or tuk-tuk, for us the best way to visit Sukhothai is without a doubt leasing a scooter. You can also take one of the many tours offered in Nueva Sukhothai with transportation and guide. This is an excellent alternative if you want to know more about the history and not just look at the ruins of the ancient capital of Thailand.

What to do in Sukhothai

The main (and really only) attraction in this place is the visit to the ruins of what was the capital of Thailand around the year 1300. Several of the temples, Buddhas and structures have been reconstructed and today you can visit them without major problems. Contemplate, imagine what life would have been like more than 700 years ago and be impressed by the spectacular level of architectural development for the time.

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You can not forget to bring…

Comfortable shoes and plenty of water, you will walk a lot in the sun. The temples of Sukhothai do not have a dress code because they are historical vestiges and are not in use, so special clothes will not be necessary. A hat and sunscreen are also very important.

How to move around the ruins of Sukhothai

As we already explained, getting to Sukhothai from the New Sukhothai is very easy by bus. If you rent a motorcycle, you can also arrive that way. Just follow the main road and go straight at the fork, there is nowhere to get lost. To move inside the temples of Sukhothai, Thailand, you can:

Rent a bike:

You rent them at several places near the entrance for 30 THB. To enter the site you must pay another 10 THB. If you have a very good physical condition is an excellent alternative, but keep in mind that it can be very hot so it would be tiring. Stay hydrated if you take this option to visit Sukhothai.

Enter on a motorcycle:

You will be charged 20 THB extra for getting on a motorcycle. For us by far the best option … easy, comfortable, fast, outdoors and safe if you know well how to handle one. Thus you will also save some money on transportation to the ruins as you can rent it directly in new Sukhothai, Thailand. Sukhothai - Tailandia - Paseo en moto

Electric train:

You can go through the walled city (or central area) for THB 40. The payment is made at the entrance to the ruins, where they give you a map with the stops made by this small electric train while traveling the place. Ideal for adults or families with children.

Tuk Tuk:

If you have little time, for about 200 THB an hour you can hire a tuk-tuk that takes you from one ruin to another. The truth, it is more boring as the driver will decide where to take you at his own discretion and takes away a bit the magic of discovering Sukhothai by yourself.

Walking:

The central park is quite small so you could do it on foot in 2 to 3 hours calmly. There may be a lot of sun and heath, so a good hat and sunscreen are essential. To travel the rest of the park better another means of transport.

Where to sleep

The cheapest and best quality places are in New Sukhothai. You will easily find a double room with AC, breakfast, and pool for 25 to 30 dollars a night. The best is to stay near the bridge from where the buses leave to the old area.

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Where to eat

In New Sukhothai, there are several restaurants near the bridge. We marked on the map two places that we liked a lot, an international brewery and other bars/restaurants with good music, wave, and food. In the old area, arriving by the main street, there are several local food stalls that also offer international dishes. The typical food of the area is the “Sukhothai Noodles”.

Shopping

We did not see many sites that are worth mentioning. There are souvenir stalls on the outskirts of the central park but there was nothing that we had not seen before.

The same ones that happen in all Thailand. Read our post about the country for more information here.

Find on this map all the points of interest and sites we mention you. This way, you will have a better guide for your trip to Sukhothai in Thailand.

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