Sukhothai in a day

Sukhothai in a day

Get an early start

More on Sukhothai

It’s possible to hit all of the key sites in Sukhothai Historical Park’s central, northern and western zones -- plus a little something extra -- in a single day by bicycle. Follow our suggested route to ensure that you keep backtracking to a minimum.

Travelfish says:

Starting as early as possible on Jarod Vithithong Road to the east of the central zone, stop by Wat Traphang Thong before popping into Ramkamhaeng National Museum to learn about the history of Sukhothai and see some of its finest pieces of art. Afterwards, head over to one of the nearby bicycle rental shops and pedal over to the central zone’s main eastern gate.

Get ahead at the National Museum. : David Luekens.
Get ahead at the National Museum. Photo: David Luekens

After buying your first 100-baht ticket of the day, cruise straight west and make a quick stop at Wat Chana Songkhram before hitting the star of the central zone: Wat Mahathat. Pause as you approach and notice the grand scale of the complex from afar. Ditch your bike at the ancient gate and wander slowly among the many Buddha images and chedis -- and don’t overlook the details.

Pedal southwest from Wat Mahathat to check out Wat Si Sawai, a site that displays the strongest Khmer influence of any in Sukhothai. Strike northwest from here to stop by a moat-side pavilion placed beneath the spooky branches of rain trees. Breeze through Wat Traphang Ngoen -- and don’t miss the walking Buddha off to the side -- before turning back east to the footbridge that leads across a large pond to Wat Sa Si.

Strike a post at Wat Traphang Ngoen. Photo: David Luekens.
Strike a post at Wat Traphang Ngoen. Photo: David Luekens

Keep east from here and snag a cold drink from one of the vendors next to the King Ramkamhaeng Monument, perhaps taking a moment to pay respects to this highly revered monarch. Leave the central zone through the nearby northern gate and continue straight north past the Ta Pha Daeng Shrine and Wat Sorasak before crossing the canal. Then hang a left towards Wat Phra Phai Luang, where you’ll need to buy a ticket for the northern zone.

After gazing at the magnificent lintels adorning Wat Phra Phai Luang’s only remaining Khmer-style prang, pedal west to nearby Wat Si Chum. Take your time, as this is one of Sukhothai’s most spellbinding sites. Rather than backtracking afterwards, wander to the south side of Wat Si Chum’s massive mondop and take the lane that shoots straight south to the main road.

Stucco detail at Wat Phra Phai Luang. : David Luekens.
Stucco detail at Wat Phra Phai Luang. Photo: David Luekens

Take a right (west) and it’s a three-kilometre ride to the western zone’s ticket booth; a few eateries are found along the way and by now we reckon you’ll be ready for lunch. Hang a left (south) at the ticket booth -- time to cough up another 100 baht -- and you’ll soon find the ancient raised rock bridge that gives Wat Saphan Hin its name. Climb the breezy hill and enjoy the view.

Continue deeper into the western zone, stopping at non-touristy Wat Khao Phra Bat Noi and other serene sites spread over a wooded hillside where monks once came to meditate. Pedal south for a few more kilometres and the lane eventually cuts back east. Rice paddies stretch on either side as farmers lead their cattle over the horizon.

The approach to Wat Khao Phra Bat Noi. : David Luekens.
The approach to Wat Khao Phra Bat Noi. Photo: David Luekens

A right at the fork will take you straight to the western edge of the central zone; hang another right and after a kilometre you’ll circle back to where you started the day. If you’ve got the gumption, you could strike south for an extra 1.5 kilometres, passing a low-key village on the way to Wat Chetuphon and Wat Chedi Si Hong.

Otherwise you could head east for a kilometre to see the elephant statues at Wat Chang Lom, or simply hang around Wat Mahathat for sunset. After that, only one “must do” remains to make your day in Sukhothai complete: take a load off and dig into some Sukhothai noodles. Enjoy!

Reviewed by

David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.

Tours in Thailand


These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.


Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Sukhothai

Overview of Sukhothai Historical Park
Overview of Sukhothai Historical Park

A splendid set of ruins

Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat

Magnificent site

Wat Si Sawai
Wat Si Sawai

Ancient Hindu sanctuary

Wat Phra Phai Luang
Wat Phra Phai Luang

Delicate carvings and more

Wat Si Chum
Wat Si Chum

Check out the tapered fingers

Wat Saphan Hin
Wat Saphan Hin

Make the climb

Ramkamhaeng National Museum
Ramkamhaeng National Museum

A good collection of info and artifacts

Ramkamhaeng National Park
Ramkamhaeng National Park

Explore the Khao Luang range

Wat Sa Si
Wat Sa Si

An atmospheric site

Bicycle Tours
Bicycle Tours

Pedal into the countryside