11 Unmissable things to do in Sukhothai, Thailand


Some of our links are affiliated, we will earn a commission when you buy a service or product. This will have no extra cost for you. For further info please refer to our Privacy Policy

Such beauty overcomes time.

Visited Ayutthaya before and loved it? Then, don’t miss its predecessor Sukhothai, the first capital of the Kingdom of Siam (ancient Thailand). Today, the area where the Sukhothai Kingdom once stood is a UNESCO World Heritage site, spanning 29,000 hectares. If you’re looking for a fascinating trip into the early history of Thailand, then put Sukhothai on your travel bucket list!

This guide to Sukhothai has three sections, first is a list of Sukhothai attractions you must visit. Then you’ll find our recommendations on where to stay in Sukhothai, followed by tips on how to travel to Sukhothai. 

Check out all the best things to do in Sukhothai down below, including all the must-visit temples. But first, if you’re interested:  

 

A brief history of Sukhothai, Thailand

Visiting the ruins in Sukhothai Historical Park is amongst the best things to do in Sukhothai, Thailand's first capital.

Let’s travel in time, shall we?

Once part of the Khmer Empire, Sukhothai broke away into its own around the 13th century. At the height of its flourishing, the kingdom eclipsed much of northern Thailand all the way to modern-day Laos. It was also where Thai culture blossomed – the first-ever Thai writing system is thought to be invented in Sukhothai. 

Of course, with the rise of ancient Kingdoms come the fall, and Sukhothai was no exception. It eventually lost its influence to the fast-growing Ayutthaya Kingdom and became abandoned around the late 15th and early 16th centuries. However, much of its cultural heritage still lives on. 

 

What to do in Sukhothai for an unforgettable trip 

Visiting the beautiful Sukhothai Historical Park is one of the unmissable things to do in Sukhothai.

A truly transcendent experience.

  • Things to do in Sukhothai Historical Park 

Housing almost 200 ancient ruins, exploring Sukhothai Historical Park is a matter of choosing the best of the best. Here are some of the most important sites and Sukhothai temples to check out: 

Note: The Sukhothai Historical Park is divided into five zones: the Central, North, South, East, and West Zones. Each zone has its entrance of 100 Baht for foreigners, or you can buy a pass to all five zones for 350 Baht. All passes are valid for only one day.

 

1st. – Wander the gorgeous grounds of Wat Mahathat 

Not to be confused with the Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya! In fact, many Thai cities have temples named Wat Mahathat. It is because ‘Mahathat’ means ‘Great relic’, and it’s used for temples that house relics of the Buddha. 

At Wat Mahathat Sukhothai, you’ll find an impressively elegant Buddha seated image and a lotus-bud shaped chedi. Around them are also four smaller stupas and four Khmer-style prangs (towers). With the green grass spreading out underneath, it’s a picturesque step back in time you can’t miss taking.

Opening hours: 6.00 am – 9.00 pm

Zone: Central 

 

2nd. – Visit Wat Sa Si temple

Northwest of Wat Mahathat is the Wat Sa Sri temple located on a small island surrounded by a lovely pond of lotus flowers called Traphang Trakuan. The temple ground is equally as beautiful as Wat Mahathat, but the highlight is the Sukhothai-style Buddha statue walking image. Notice that the Buddha’s hand is in the Vitarka Mudra, a hand gesture indicative of teaching and discussion. Here you’ll also find the impressive bell-shaped chedi signature of the Sri Lankan architecture style.  

Opening hours: 6.00 am – 9.00 pm

Zone: Central 

 

3rd. – Have a look at Wat Trapang Ngoen

Wat Trapang Ngoen temple was built in the 14th century, showing a more signature Sukhothai-style building. Different from the chedi at Wat Sa Sri, the bell-shaped chedi here is refined to be thinner and more elongated. Another highlight in Sukhothai is the seated Buddha statue image in the Bhumisparsha Mudra or ‘Earth Witness’ Mudra. The fingers of the Buddha touching the Earth is symbolic of the Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. 

Opening hours: 6.00 am – 9.00 pm

Zone: Central 

Travel in time at Wat Si Sawai temple in Sukhothai Historical Park.

Check out the contrasts!

4th. – Travel in time at Wat Si Sawai temple

Go back even earlier in time at Wat Si Sawai, when Sukhothai was still part of the Khmer Empire. The temple, built somewhere around the 12th or early 13th century, has three main Khmer-style prangs and two viharns. The structures are beautifully preserved. It’s also fascinating to compare how the styles differ from the temples built in Sukhothai later on. 

Opening hours: 6.00 am – 9.00 pm

Zone: Central

 

5th. – Pray at Wat Traphang Thong temple

The only active temple in Sukhothai, Wat Traphang Thong, is where the massive festival Loy Krathong is celebrated in November. The highlights here are the giant bell-shaped chedi and the statue of the Buddha footprint. Also, glimpse into the life of monks and locals who come to offer their prayers here.   

Opening hours: 6.00 am – 9.00 pm

Zone: East  

 

6th. – Have a glimpse of Sukhothai past at Wat Phra Phai Luang temple

Like Wat Si Sawai, Wat Phra Phai Luang was also built when Sukhothai was part of the Khmer Empire. Before the Sukhothai Kingdom was established, it was the central and most important temple of its time. Today, you can still see the iconic Khmer prangs and intricate carvings on the structures’ walls. You’ll feel like you’re time-traveling back to the 13th century as you stroll through! 

Opening hours: 6.00 am – 9.00 pm

Zone: North  

 

7th. – Get your Instagram shot at Wat Si Chum temple

The incredible sitting Buddha statue image here will make you take your cameras out within seconds. Gazing out from the narrow triangular slit of the walls encasing it, the Buddha image measures at over 11 meters wide and almost 15 meters high. Locals call the Buddha image “Phra Achana” and “Phra Poot Dai”. Be sure to ask them why! 

Opening hours: 6.00 am – 9.00 pm

Zone: North  

Standing Buddha at the top of the Wat Saphan Hin temple, Sukhothai Historical Park, a cool thing to see and a nice hike to do in Sukhothai.

Fabulous!

8th. – Hike up to Wat Saphan Hin temple

If you can only see one temple in the Western Zone of Sukhothai Historical Park, make it Wat Saphan Hin. The temple, rising from a small hill, has lost much of its structure, but the standing Buddha image at the top is still a glorious sight. You’ll also enjoy the easy hike up the stone path, with luscious greenery on either side. 

Opening hours: 6.00 am – 9.00 pm

Zone: West 

 

Local tip about things to do in Sukhothai: To explore the central zone of Sukhothai Historical Park, we recommend hopping on the bike to really take in the peaceful atmosphere. If you’re looking for a local guide to immerse you in the temples, then this day trip with a Sukhothai local might be what you’re looking for. Enjoy a pleasant bike ride and get to see all the highlight temples on this list, plus a fascinating workshop to create a Buddhist votive tablet. 

 

Don’t forget to buy your Travel Insurance!

We use World Nomads and SafetyWing. Just click on the name of the company and book your insurance now. If you need more information, read our Travel Insurance Guide here.

 

  • Things to do in Sukhothai besides visiting temples 

 

9th. – Visit Rakhaemhaeng National Museum 

In addition to visiting the temple in Sukhothai, it’s also worth checking out the Rakhaemhaeng National Museum. At the museum, you’ll find exhibitions of precious artifacts excavated from the Sukhothai Historical Park and Si Satchanalai Historical Park (we’ll get to it in a minute). 

The museum is also named after the revered King Ramkamhaeng, thought to be the founding father of the Thai nation and the king to introduce Buddhism into the kingdom. He’s also said to be the inventor of the Thai script. Amazing, right? 

Opening hours: 9.00 am-4.00 pm

Tickets: 150 Baht 

 

Kuaitiao Sukhothai combines rice noodles with a sweet pork broth, topped with slices of ground pork, crackling, green beans, turnips, and peanut.

Specialty noodles, yes, please!

10th. – Try Kuaitiao Sukhothai – Sukhothai’s signature noodles

Just as Ayutthaya has its signature boat noodle, Sukhothai also has its own specialty noodle. Kuaitiao Sukhothai combines rice noodles with a sweet pork broth, topped with slices of pork, crackling, green beans, turnips, and peanut. Add a pinch of lime for the delicate sour balance to the sweetness. You can eat Kuaitiao, both dry or with soup. The best places locals swear by to get them are Jayhae and Ta Pui, two of the best restaurants in Sukhothai.    

 

11th. – Adventure to Si Satchanalai 

Do you remember how the UNESCO World Heritage Site covers a whopping 29,000 hectares? The temples are not only found in Sukhothai city but the neighboring Si Satchanalai as well. At Si Satchanalai Historical Park, you’ll find beautiful temples dotted around a green open space, perfect for exploring on a bike.

And that’s our top picks for the best things to do in Sukhothai! 

Ready to go the path less traveled? If you are overwhelmed by all the fantastic things to see in Sukhothai, places to visit, and yummy noodles to try, we recommend you book a local tour. Have a look at TakeMeTour to choose a fun and authentic day tour with locals that will make your visit to Sukhothai a truly memorable one.

Now that you know what to do in Sukhothai let’s move to practical travel tips. The next topics are about where to stay in Sukhothai and how to get there. We did big research to find the best hotels in Sukhothai for any traveler and also how to book your transportation tickets and get around. 

 

Where to stay in Sukhothai, Thailand

 

A nice bed in one of the best hotels in Sukhothai.

Let’s find you a sweet bed to recharge after so much awesomeness in Sukhothai!

Got inspired to plan a fantastic time at Thailand’s first capital? Then you need the very best accommodation in Sukhothai to complete the experience. But searching for that perfect hotel can be a pain, right? Don’t worry, below we bring a selection of places to stay in Sukhothai for all budgets, so you can focus your energy on enjoying this lovely trip.

 

Sriwilai Sukhothai Hotel 

Located quite close to the Sukhothai Historical Park (that you can reach with one of the free hotel bicycles), Sriwilai Sukhothai is one of the best hotels in Sukhothai in many aspects. From the decoration of their rooms with handmade crafts to the private balconies overlooking the rice fields, the serene infinity pool, and the charismatic staff. One thing is for sure: Sriwilai Sukhothai knows how to provide a unique local experience with excellence!  

 

Sawasdee Sukhothai Resort

A great resort in Sukhothai near the old town (that houses most of the historical sites). Sawasdee Sukhothai is a family-friendly property that offers rooms with a pool view and even has a playground! Every detail is set for a comfortable stay in a gorgeous and warm environment at a reasonable price. For your convenience, you may want to ask about their airport shuttle service.

 

Thai Thai Sukhothai Guesthouse

Less than a mile away from the Sukhothai Historical Park, the Thai Thai Sukhothai Guesthouse is beautifully furnished with traditional designs. The authentic look and feel make it one of the best budget hotels in Sukhothai. The rooms are charming and cozy, there’s a refreshing pool, and breakfast is lovely! The staff is accommodating and will do everything to improve the guests’ experience. Thai Thai Sukhothai is perfect for travelers that want to save without giving up comfort.

If you want to keep looking for hotels and hostels in Sukhothai, we recommend you search and book a room using Booking.com or Agoda.

Did you know you can rent a house or an apartment in Sukhothai via Airbnb? Curious? Sign up here and get a discount on your first booking! 

 

How to get to Sukhothai, Thailand

In the heart of Thailand, Sukhothai sits between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and it is easily accessible whether you’re coming from the South or North. Follow our tips, and you won’t find any problems traveling to Sukhothai.

There are many flight options from Bangkok to Sukhothai or Chiang Mai to Sukhothai. Sukhothai Airport receives daily domestic flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Some companies (in this case leaving from the Don Muang Airport) offer a “fly and ride” ticket to and from Phitsanulok Airport, which includes a minibus ride to reach New Sukhothai town. 

Check the best prices and flight schedules on Skyscanner and Kiwi.com!

Bear in mind, there is no train to Sukhothai as the city doesn’t have a train station. Although you can take a train to Phitsanulok station and then get an hour-long bus to Sukhothai. Or you can simply take a bus (let’s say, from Chiang Mai, Bangkok or Ayutthaya) straight to Sukhothai’s bus terminal. 

In case you didn’t arrange a pick-up service with your hotel in Sukhothai, at the bus terminal, you’ll find tuk-tuks and taxis to take you to either New or Old Sukhothai towns.

To get around Sukhothai, besides walking and renting bikes (which is the best way to explore the historical park if you don’t mind the heat), there are public songthaews that run between the old and new town, and you can flag them anywhere. You’ll also find tuk-tuks all over the city – most drivers will speak English, just remember to negotiate the fare in advance!

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article. If you have any questions or any topics you’d like us to cover next, be sure to comment them down below! Happy travels!

 

Love this guide to Sukhothai, Thailand? Then pin it for later!!

The ultimate guide to Sukhothai, Thailand. Here you’ll find a list of the best things to do in Sukhothai, temples to visit, how to explore Sukhothai Historical Park, and how to choose the best local tours. Plus, recommendations about where to stay in Sukhothai, hotels and hostels, and precious tips to travel to Sukhothai and get around. #sukhothaithailand #sukhothaihistoricalpark #sukhothaihotel #watmahathatsukhothai

 

11 Unmissable things to do in Sukhothai, Thailand

Author: 

Sorita Heng is a writer at TakeMeTour who loves to travel whenever she gets the chance. Other things she loves doing in her free time include reading, finding her new favorite tea, and the occasional walk at the park.

Check their Instagram and Facebook.

11 Unmissable things to do in Sukhothai, Thailand





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *