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Sukhothai

Getting there and away

Air

Sukhothai airport is located some 30 kilometres north of new Sukhothai off route 1195, and is served only by a pricey Bangkok Airways flight. Taxis to/from the airport cost 300 baht one-way. For more information, visit www.bangkokair.com.

    Train

    The nearest train station is in Phitsanulok, some 50 kilometres east of Sukhothai. If coming by train, you'll need to catch a Sukhothai-bound bus from the bus terminal across town. Tuk tuks can take you to the bus station for 60 baht, or a shared mini bus picks up every 15 minutes in front of 7-eleven and costs 10 baht per person. To reach the minibus pick-up point, head straight out of the train station then hang a left at the roundabout and look for the 7-eleven on the left. Buses run to Sukhothai roughly every hour between 05:30 and 18:10 and cost 43 baht.

      Bus

      The main bus station is in new Sukhothai some 2.5 kilometres away from the main backpacker centre at Phra Ruang Bridge. It's a pricey 40 baht per person shared songthaew ride from the bus station, or you can hire one of Sukhothai's signature motorised trishaws for 60 baht. There is also a small bus stop in Old Sukhothai near Old City Guesthouse with less frequent services to Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

      Sample fares include:
      Phitsanulok: Buses depart roughly every 30 minutes from 07:50 to 23:00 from the main bus terminal and cost 43 baht. Five buses per day also run from Old Sukhothai to Phitsanulok, departing at 12:00, 14:00, 15:30, 17:00 and 20:00, and these cost 59 baht. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to reach Phitsanulok.

      Bangkok: 2nd class air-con buses depart roughly every 30 minutes to an hour between 07:50 and 23:00 from the main bus terminal and cost between 280 and 350 baht depending on the bus company. Two VIP air-con buses with bathrooms depart daily at 09:35 and 20:30 and cost 416 baht. Three VIP buses with bathrooms also depart from Old Sukhothai every day at 08:20, 12:30 and 21:40, costing 390 baht. The trip to Bangkok takes about seven hours and all Bangkok-bound buses also service Phitsanulok, Kampaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan and Ayutthaya before reaching Bangkok's Morchit (northern) bus terminal.

      Chiang Mai: 2nd class air-con buses depart roughly every hour between 05:30 and 17:30, and there's also a late night bus that departs at 02:30; all buses cost 239 baht. The trip to Chiang Mai takes around 5.5 hours and all Chiang Mai-bound buses also service Lampang and Lamphun. Buses also run to Chiang Mai from old Sukhothai, departing every hour between 07:30 and 13:40 and costing 239 baht.

      Mae Sot: Minibuses run to Mae Sot from the main bus terminal every day at 09:00, 13:15, 14:15 and 16:15, costing 130 baht. A VIP bus also runs at 14:00 and 16:00, costing 200 baht. The trip takes about three hours and both of these options also service Tak.

      Chiang Rai: 2nd class air-con buses depart from the main bus terminal at 06:40, 09:00 and 11:30, costing 266 baht and taking 9 hours. Chiang Rai bound buses can also drop you near Si Satchanalai historical park.

      Khon Kaen: 2nd class air-con buses depart from the main bus terminal at 08:30, 11:00, 13:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 00:45, costing 255 baht. A VIP bus also runs to Khon Kaen at 21:00 and 22:00, costing 374 baht. The trip takes about seven hours.

      There are virtually no tourist minibus services to speak of in Sukhothai, so regular bus is the only way to get in and out of the area.

        Other

        The bus stop for shared songthaew to the old city is about 300 metres down the road from the Phra Ruang Bridge towards the old city. It is easy to find. The trip is a pricey 30 baht per person. They are using the older, large-capacity and slow-moving trucks for this run. It's pretty charming really, and runs frequently at about 10- to 15-minute intervals, picking up right in front of the central historical park gates in old Sukhothai for the return trip.

        Motorbikes may be rented at most guesthouses in both new and old Sukhothai, and the going rate is 250 baht if returning the bike before 19:00 or 300 baht for a full 24 hours. The best quality motorbikes we saw were at TR Guesthouse.

        While there is a plethora of bicycles for rent near the historical park gates in old Sukhothai for 30 baht per day, Ban Thai Guesthouse in new Sukhothai charges 60 baht per day. However, many guesthouses provide bicycles to guests free of charge.

        The main forms of pay-as-you-go transportation around the area are in the form of small pink and purple songthaews, which work more like taxis and don't seem to have pre-determined routes, and motorised trishaw tuk tuks. These are basically backwards tuk tuks with a carriage mounted onto the front end of a motorcycle — maybe they figured passengers should have to deal with the full brunt of a crash rather than drivers? They're everywhere in Sukhothai and are rather imposing; sometimes the streets can feel like a scene out of Mad Max. Trishaws seem to charge a standard 60 baht to or from the bus station or 150 baht to old Sukhothai. You can also tour the entire historical park in one for 500 to 700 baht.


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