Nearly 200 different ruins are strewn across the 27-square-mile (70-square-kilometer) Sukhothai Historical Park, including towering Buddhas, ornate palaces, and crumbling temples. The UNESCO World Heritage Site—one of Thailand’s most impressive—hints at what the country’s first capital might have looked like in its golden age.
The ruins within Sukhothai Historical Park are divided among five zones, each with its own collection of monuments showcasing the Sukhothai style of architecture. One of the most popular ways to tour the area is by bike. Travelers who join a cycling tour will typically spend the day peddling from site to site, passing rice paddies and traditional local markets along the way. The historical park also features on multi-day tours of Northern Thailand, along with Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Lampang.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sukhothai Historical Park is a must for history buffs, architecture lovers, and spiritual travelers.
- To explore the less crowded sites, head to the ruins farther from the entrance.
- Three of the five zones charge separate admission.
- Remember to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat, as not all sites are shaded.
How to Get There
Sukhothai Historical Park is accessible via public bus from the city of Phitsanulok, which takes about 75 minutes, or via tuk-tuk from New Sukhothai. Since the area is quite expansive, many people opt to visit with a guide.
When to Get There
Sukhothai Historical Park is almost entirely outdoors, so it’s a good idea to visit during the cool, dry months between November and February. If you visit between July and October, be prepared for rain. Afternoon temperatures can be uncomfortably high from March to June.
Ramkhamhaeng National Museum
This small museum, situated directly across from the park’s Central Zone entrance, displays a fine collection of artifacts from the Sukhothai era, including many bronze Buddha sculptures and a replica of the Ramkhamhaeng inscription, believed to be the earliest example of Thai script. It’s a good place to begin your explorations of the region.