One of Thailand’s premier historical parks, UNESCO-listed Sukhothai is conveniently located between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, making it a relatively easy addition to trips with tight time-frames. Here’s how to cover all the highlights of Sukhothai Historical Park’s main central, northern and western zones — plus a little something extra — in a single ... Read more about Sukhothai in a day .
From imposing chedis and shrines, to stunning Buddha images and ancient art, to tranquil laterite ruins surrounded by forest, Sukhothai is most certainly on Thailand's shortlist of must-see destinations for historically inclined travellers. Although a total of 193 ruins are found on 70 square kilometres of land, the most impressive monuments and temples are centrally located and can be ... Read more about Sukhothai Historic Park .
It's a good place to begin or end your tour of the ruins and provides a more rounded picture of what Sukhothai was really like centuries ago. The 150 baht price tag, however, is slightly over the top, so you could skip it if pinching your baht. The imposing white museum is located just east of the central park front gates. ... Read more about Ramkhamhaeng National Museum .
The complex was once walled in and surrounded by a moat, and the rambling enclosure contains almost 200 chedis, the tallest of which is a lotus-bud chedi at the temple's centre that was rebuilt by King Lo Thai in the mid-14th century to hold Buddha relics — a hair and a neckbone fragment — that he picked up in Sri Lanka. The complex shows a range of Lanna, Sri Lankan and Khmer ... Read more about Wat Mahathat .
The impressive mondop houses a massive Buddha almost touching the ground in the subduing Mara pose with a mesmerising set of tapered fingers, each of which are as tall as a full grown person. The image is 11 metres across at the waist and the walls of the mondop are three metres thick. As you approach the temple from outside, notice the open-air window at the top of the structure that allows ... Read more about Wat Si Chum .
Architecturally it resembles other regional Khmer monuments such as those at Phimai in northeast Thailand and Angkor in Cambodia. During the Sukhothai era the temple was adapted into a Buddhist monument and the stone pillars out front would have supported the ceiling of a main wihaan Dhamma hall. Aesthetically much different than most other Sukhothai shrines, Wat Si Sawai offers a bit of ... Read more about Wat Si Sawai .
Although there's not a whole lot to see, a well preserved Buddha image is found at the back of what would have been an enclosed temple, and there's a small but magnificent walking Buddha off to one side. Trapang Ngoen means silver lake, a reference to the large pond with an island reachable by foot bridge in front of the monument. ... Read more about Wat Trapang Ngoen .
Apart from the large Sri Lankan-style mounded chedi and walking Buddha in Sukhothai style, there's not a whole lot to see here, but it's popular with children who like to feed the fish in the ponds. ... Read more about Wat Sa Si .
It's believed to be one of the oldest complexes in the park, although many additions were added long after the Khmers had moved on. Originally a Hindu shrine, this wat was second in importance to Wat Mahathat after it became a Buddhist temple during the Sukhothai era. Of the three original Khmer-style prangs, only one remains and it's decorated with relief-stucco carvings from the Buddha's ... Read more about Wat Phra Phai Luang .
Two kilometres to the west of the main park in the western zone, Wat Saphan Hin translates to temple of the stone bridge, and was named after the raised stone walkway that rises from the ground to meet the large standing Buddha image perched on a hill some 300 metres high. When walking up the stone bridge, surrounded by forest, it's easy to imagine ancient pilgrims doing the same thing in the ... Read more about Wat Saphan Hin .
Cycling Sukhothai offers some interesting half-day tours that lead cyclists through the countryside outside of Sukhothai, with stops at lesser known Buddhist temples and long rides along roads rimmed in paddy. They offer a countryside morning tour, a sunset tour and a historical park tour, and all look to be worth a try if you're looking to get a more up close and personal introduction to ... Read more about Bicycle Tours .