Sukhothai

Sukhothai

An ancient Thai capital

Rising in the mid-13th century, Sukhothai laid down much of the cultural and political groundwork for the kingdom that eventually became known as Thailand. Towering monuments with exquisite details and well-documented records now make the ancient Thai capital a premier heritage destination. Even if the history doesn’t interest you, Sukhothai’s ruins do not fail to impress.

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Featuring 193 ancient sites spread out amid trees, ponds, paddies and villages in several different zones, Sukhothai Historical Park opened in 1988 and received UNESCO world heritage status three years later. Many travellers hit only the big-name attractions, including Wat Mahathat and Wat Si Chum, but we suggest wandering through some of the more remote ruins as well.

Twilight at Wat Sa Si. : David Luekens.
Twilight at Wat Sa Si. Photo: David Luekens

While a couple of days in Sukhothai will be enough for most, you might also take side trips to less-touristy ruins found at the former satellite cities of Si Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet, both of which share the same UNESCO status as Sukhothai. Throw in Sai Rung Waterfall and perhaps some mountaintop camping in Ramkamhaeng National Park and you could easily lose a week in the area.

Located 12 kilometres east of the historical park along the Yom River, Muang Mai, or “New Sukhothai,” is the small capital city of modern Sukhothai province. Excellent-value accommodation is found in Muang Mai and Muang Gao, the much smaller “Old City” stretching east from the historical park. Both areas host a well dug-in ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,000 words.)

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