Many travellers in Thailand will arrive in Bangkok and be greeted with an assault on the senses, for many this will be welcome but for others, this could be a bit of a shock to the system. Bangkok does have a lot going on and so you may choose to stay there for just a couple of nights before heading north to Chiang Mai. However, on the way, you may want to stop off in Sukhothai.
Sukhothai, or ‘Dawn of Happiness’, was founded in the 13th Century and was the first independent Thai Kingdom. Over time it became abandoned and overgrown until it was beautifully restored earning UNESCO World Heritage status in 1991. Being such a key part of the country’s past and an ideal stopping point on the way to Chiang Mai, it’s difficult to refuse a quick peek at what this place has to offer.
We would recommend a visit to the Sukhothai Historical Park to tour the extensive ruins of the Royal Palaces, Buddhist temples, city gates and walls to name but a few. As the site is extensive, you will probably want to hire a bike to ensure you get to see everything and this can be done close to the entrance for about £1 for the day. This site is 12km from the centre and so make this a day trip.
After a long day of sight-seeing, there’s still more to do and so no time to rest! Head out to the night market, a bustling market where you can pick up beautiful silks, crafts and delicious food all in one place.
If you have a second day, there’s lots to explore inside and outside of the city walls including Wat Si Chum and Wat Phra Phai Luang to the North and outside of the city walls. Again, hire a bike to tour around these wonderful historical statues and explore Sukhothai.
Sukhothai is about a 7 hour coach journey from Bangkok or an hour’s flight (the airport is 40km away). You can also get the train from Bangkok to Phitsanulok and then a bus to Sukhothai (about 50km away).