The walled city of Sukhothai, meaning ‘rising of happiness’, was once Thailand’s capital city. Abandoned by the 16th century, today it’s a maze of breathtaking ruins that’s a must-see on any visit to northern Thailand. Lying 58 km north of Phitsanulok, the ruins now form Sukhothai Historical Park, one of the country’s most visited ancient sites.
The historical park covers 455 square kilometres, with 21 historical sites, four ponds and 70 additional sites located outside the city’s old walls. Divided into five separate zones, the best way to make sure you see all Sukhothai has to offer is to hire a motorbike or bike. Despite its popularity, it’s normally possible to explore by yourself as the site is so vast.
Head straight for the Central Zone if you’re looking for the most impressive ruins. Come on a Saturday night and you’ll find the whole zone illuminated until around 9pm, perfect for some holiday photos. Explore the Western Zone by bike and you’ll find the remains of Wat Saphan Hin temple with its 12.5-metre-high Buddha. From here you’ll also enjoy stunning views of the entire ruins.
Visit in the Ramkhamhaeng National Park to trek up the 4 km trail to the summit of Khao Luang. Inclines here can reach up to 70 degrees and you’ll need to bring plenty of food and water for the journey, which takes around four hours through dense jungle. Stop off at the ‘Bat Cave’ and then enjoy the beautiful sunset from the top. If that seems a bit energetic, you could always pack a picnic and relax at Sai Rung Waterfall instead.
We love the fact that a trip to Sukhothai allows you to get off the beaten track and do some solo exploring. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in ancient history and natural wonders, this is the ideal place. Many people come here for a break from Thailand’s busy cities and bustling ancient monuments and it’s easy to see why.
Plan your trip to Sukhothai today.