Photo gallery: Sukhothai, Thailand's ancient capital
For many tourists, Thailand’s ancient history involves a day trip to Ayutthaya. They see a few demolished ruins between the crowds of other tourists, and return to the hotel thankful they got that out the way and can now go into R and R mode.It’s a shame they don’t head further north to Sukhothai; it's still the best place to experience a laidback glimpse of Thailand’s pre-Bangkok days.
Sukhothai was the capital of Thailand from 1238 until 1438 and features the Sukhothai Historical Park, which was unaffected by last year's floods. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is filled with the ruins of royal palaces, Buddhist temples and historical monuments.
If you get there early enough you’ll enjoy the golden morning light and have the park to yourself, which makes for an incredible photo opportunity. The best way to tour the ruins in and outside the city walls is to rent a bicycle or a motorbike, which also gives you a chance to see the scenic countryside surrounding the old town. Bike rentals are available at the park gates.
- Buses depart from Bangkok’s Mochit Bus station daily. The trip takes roughly five-and-a-half hours.
- There are no direct trains to Sukhothai but you can travel as far as Phitsanulok and then take a local bus to Sukhothai, which is about 50 kilometers away.
- Bangkok Airways flies twice daily to Sukhothai in the morning and afternoon. The flight takes approximately one hour.
A full range of hotels, resorts and guest houses lies adjacent to the park. Public buses ferry guests between the old and new town every 20 minutes.