Sukhothai – A Historical City of Thailand
General Information of Sukhothai
Sukhothai is one of those provinces that tell an amazing story about the history of Thailand in one specific period of time. Although it is a small city in the lower northern region of Thailand, it has so much to tell and so many things to explore within its attractions around the province.
The province is famous for being the old capital city of Thailand before Bangkok and even before Ayutthaya. Another thing is that there are still many ruins of the ancient city of Sukhothai left that you can easily see today. These ruins are well-preserved for many generations as well. If you are the one who love to track down history through traveling, Sukhothai is highly recommended for you to come!
How to travel to Sukhothai
Getting here is as easy as banana peeling. The first option is to travel by plane from Bangkok either at the Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Muang Airport. It would take roughly one hour and 15 minutes to get here.
If you want to enjoy your travel a bit more, getting here by train is not a bad choice at all. You could take the express train from either Bangkok or Chiang Mai to Phitsanulok first (there is no train station at Sukhothai) and then take a bus here from there. The train will take approximately seven hours of your time which is enough time for you to enjoy the train itself. The last but not least is taking the bus from Bangkok. It would also take you six to seven hours, including some stops along the way.
Things to do in Sukhothai
If you are talking about the famous places in Sukhothai, then you must be talking about the places that contain history or tell a story of Thai history for the most parts. While there are many ruins scatter around the province, the majority of those ruins are located in two historical parks. The first historical that should be mentioned is Sukhothai Historical Park which has received an award from UNESCO in 1991 for being the World Heritage Sites. The buildings that you are going to see here were built around the year 1257 and 1,357. You may be wondering; how many sites are there in this park alone? To answer that question, there are more than 70 ancient sites for you to explore!
Wat Si Chum
Wat Si Chum in which the highlight of this place is the amazing Buddha statue with more than 15 meters of height inside the sanctuary. There is also a legend about the talking monk, if you want to know the context of this, you need to take a visit here for yourself or you can ask the local guide.
Wat Maha That
Next, Wat Maha That is the biggest temple in the province and it is located in the center of the city as well. There is a lotus-shaped chedi or pagoda showcasing at this temple, including Royal Sanctuary and more than 200 different pagodas. You can also watch the beautiful sunrise and sunset here! Wat Si Chum and Wat Maha That is the two temples that you should not miss to visit.
Si Satchanalai Historical Park
Another famous historical park is Si Satchanalai Historical Park which has also received an award from UNESCO as the World Heritage Sites. This place contains more than 215 ancient artefacts and structures. These structures mostly represent Thai ancient architecture and art of the first era when Thailand is being built from the ground up.
Si Rattana Mahathat Temple
The place that you should come and visit once in your life. It contains one of the most beautiful Buddha statues in Thailand and it looks like it is almost alive! Most Thai people sees it as a masterpiece to cherish for generations.
Chang Lom Temple
Chang Lom Temple is shaped like a pagoda with an upside-down bell. The unique thing is its base and four corners which has 39 realistic size statues of elephants that are truly awe-inspiring.
If you are already enough with the historical parks, why not go to somewhere more exotic which are recommended by the locals here?
Loy Krathong Phao Tien Len Fai
While these places below may not be famous tourist attractions, but they are important and worth a visit nonetheless. The famous tradition here at Sukhothai is Loy Krathong Phao Tien Len Fai in November which is the largest festival of Sukhothai.
There are many activities you can do in this festival such as Loy Krathong, old market shopping, watch authentic Thai shows and performances, and breathtaking lighting shows which represent the prosperity of Sukhothai in the past (around 700 years ago).
This is a mountain with a height of 1,200 meters above sea level. You can walk up the hiking path to see as much as four peaks on the top of the mountain. The sceneries from these four peaks are exceptionally beautiful that you must see it with your own eyes. It is recommended to come here in the rainy season to fully experience the abundant nature and the sea of mist in the morning. You could also set up a tent here if you would like to spend more time with the nature.
Thung Talay Luang
If you are a romantic person, then you should not miss this next place. Heart-shaped Island at Thung Talay Luang is one of the Royal Projects of King Rama IX that is built to fix the problem concerning floods and drought of Sukhothai. So, it is not just for show at all. You can easily get on the island if you would like to as well. If you are on a plane, you can clearly see the shape from up there.
For souvenirs, you can bring back some ancient gold or Thong Boran in many different forms like necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings. These accessories are the replication of the old accessories that you can find back in the Sukhothai era which are truly unique and different like no others.
You could buy some potteries made out of clay or Pha Sin Teen Jok which is a fabric with variety of colors and designs. This is also an original since the Sukhothai era and it is distinctly different from other things you can find in the world.
Living in Sukhothai
The motto of Sukhothai is “Source of National Heritage, The Thai Alphabets, The Best Loy Krathong Celebrations, Firm Foundation of Buddhism, The Fine Teen Jok Cloth, Ancient Chinaware, Holy Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng’s Mother, and Dawn of Happiness”.
To get around,
The number one choice is songthaew or minibuses, but you could also use tuktuks as long as you bargain for an appropriate price beforehand.
There are budget hotels and mid-range hotels at both the Old City and the New City of the province you can choose to stay. Both areas would cost roughly the same rate from as cheap as 500 baht per night to 1,500 baht per night which also depends on your option of rooms. Have fun exploring the city!
Google Map of Sukhothai:
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