Sukhothai things to do & historical park

Sukhothai to do at the historical park

Sukhothai was the capital of an early Thai Kingdom at around 1239. The historical park of Sukhothai is the usual Thailand travel direction to visit the place. 

Some of the religious remains are still visible and preserved plus continuously maintained to offer a great showcase of past Thailand. Sukhothai province in north-central Thailand is easily accessible from Bangkok by aircraft and from Chiang Mai by road travel with a bus via Tak the location is about 400 km north of the capital see the Sukhothai map below. 

  • Sukhothai Map

There are also other thinks to do such as the roadside blessing shown here. in terms of architecture Sukhothai and Ayutthaya have many similarities with Bagan in Myanmar and some Indian Buddhist sites.

Traveling from Bangkok to Sukhothai the bus is the best option via Tak in Bangkok you can hop on any Chiang Mai bus and change at Tak where there are plenty of smaller vans available and you are not at the mercy of the bus mafia.

  • Sukhothai nightlife. 

Nightlife is actually not existing in Sukhothai since nothing is  going on after 6 pm if you like some fun at night take a hotel in Phitsanulok and not in Sukhothai also the hotels there are much cheaper and use either the bus from Bangkok's Mor Chit Station or the aircraft to the Phitsanulok airport for hotels use the booking icon above right.

Sukhothai historical park Thailand

Since there are many high and low-end hotels around there is usually no problem to find accommodations but at long school weekends, there can be a shortage mainly because they come with the kids by busloads. But just check our hotel search box at the right side that way everyone can find the best accommodations in real time. 

Sukhothai sitting Buddha statue

The main travel destination are the ancient ruins with partially restored 13th- and 14th-century temples and monasteries with pretty Buddha monuments in between.

This was one of the main cities in the Kingdom of Siam’s with a classic art and architecture style the "Sukhothai style" another style was developed in Ayutthaya near Bangkok.

Visitors to the city are mainly tourists. The fastest trip is naturally by air with Bangkok Airways to their privately run airport hotel prices are from about Baht 2200,- to Baht 3200,-, note that Bangkok Airways almost always charge the highest prices for flights in Thailand.

Cheaper flights could be made via Phitsanulok airport by Nok Air. Both towns are very close
approaching Sukhothai from the East
and good connected. Sukhothai is almost dead in the night, Phitsanulok has a thriving nightlife which is more in the karaoke bars direction it cants match Bangkok nightlife or Phuket nightlife but it’s a reasonable somehow like Ayutthaya you won't get bored. Just take a tuk-tuk or scooter taxi and have a look pretty Thai girls are waiting in the bars and clubs of Phitsanulok.

Phitsanulok hotels are plenty

For hotels please use the booking icon above right. Especially around the bridge over the river are good and have reasonable prices, from about Baht 800,- per night upwards. As you can imagine, as elsewhere in the country there are plenty of restaurants. 

There are quite a lot of Thai restaurants and hotels worldwide which use the name Sukhothai around the globe.
sukhothai temple ruin

Buses are available from Bangkok and Chiang Mai plus Tak and other city long haul buses take passengers on the way. The bus from Bangkok’s Mo Chit bus terminal leaves (the BTS Bangkok terminal is very close) several times per day.

There is also a train option via Phitsanulok station from there a minibus or taxi will take about 30 minutes ride to Sukhothai all this is good organized and works. Rush hours are between 7am-9am and 4pm-6pm. At those times don’t get on the road in Thailand. Basic is partition your trip into a historic part tour during the day and stay in Phitsanulok since the travel and hotel option is better and lower priced than in Sukhothai.

The Sukhothai old city is one of Thailand's top highlights.

The well arranged historical park is monumental and brings insight into the past. The well-maintained remains of temples pagodas and monasteries are a showcase of the glorious past. Most of the non-sacral buildings before the 19. century are not existing anymore (it's a similar situation as in Bagan Myanmar and Ayutthaya) since they were built from wood and were wiped out by fires from time to time the masonry work of the temples, pagodas and monasteries protected them from vanishing.

Sacred buildings in the region were usually built with bricks, that means many are still visible only the roof is gone sometimes, as you can see in the park pictures below. There are some hotels nearby to make your stay easy and comfortable. World Heritage by UNESCO came In 1991, the place was declared the 358th  after the Thai Fine Art department submitted a nomination. Known history started more or less in the 13th century when a town with this name was founded.

Stone inscriptions found at Wat Si Chum tell a Khmer leader with the name Sabat Khan Lamphong conquered the city and became the Ruler, the remains of the centuries are integrated into the historical park.

Theravada Buddhism

Theravada Buddhism was introduced and Sukhothai expanded as far as Vientiane in present-day Laos. In 1438 the King of Ayutthaya integrated the city into his Kingdom. 

Sukhothai History

Around the Century, the kingdom extended as far as Phrae-Nan and Vientiane. The King Pho Khun Si Inthrathit introduced Theravada Buddhism which was prevalent in Nakhon Si Thammarat into his kingdom. The cultural foundation of Sukhothai was laid by Khun Ramkhamhaeng who upheld Buddhism and supported the arts. He created for the first time the Thai alphabet. He gathered different principalities under his control. He was a powerful king who applied the teachings of Lord Buddha in ruling his Kingdom in peace and prosperity. The security and stability of Sukhothai were built undeniably through the charisma of Pho Khun Ramkhanhaeng. Without him, the Kingdom of Sukhothai became weaker. 

A number of principalities liberated themselves and declare their independence. According to the stone inscription, in 1347 A.D. Phra Maha Thammaracha Li Thai. Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng's grandson who ruled over Si Satchanalai led his troops marching into Sukhothai and killed the enemy. Ascending the throne he finally brought back unity in his Kingdom. 

During the reign of Phra Maha Thammaracha Li Thai. the King expanded his territory in all directions. He. at the same time fostered Buddhism. He invited to his kingdom Venerable Phra Maha Sami from Nakhon Phan. . 

The Town Wall of Sukhothai

Sukhothai had a rectangular layout and is 1,300 meters wide and 1.800 meters long. To defend Sukhothai against enemy attack. two outer earthen ramparts and an inner wall of the earthen structure covered with laterite were built with moats in between serving as channels to carry away water for flood prevention. A town gate and defensive tower were constructed in the middle of each side of the wall. Some of the remains are still in the Sukhothai Historical Park.

According to the stone inscription found at Wat Si Chum. a Khmer warrior named Sabat Khan Lamphong besieged Sukhothai after the death of Pho Khun Si Nao Nam Thom. it's the first ruler. Pho Khun Pha Muang who was a ruler of Muang Rat and a son of Pho Khun Si Nao Nam Thom joined forces with Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao, and its comrade, in driving away the enemy.

Pho Khun Pha Muang then gave his comrade the Sword of Victory and also the title of Si Inthrabodinthrathit and consecrated him as Pho Khun Si Inthrathit. a ruler and the founder of Sukhothai dynasty. More information on flights is available at 

The city grew prosperously and stretched wide during the reign of Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng, the third king and a son of Pho Khun Si Inthrathit its first ruler. Pho Khun Pha Muang who was a ruler of Muang Rat and a son of Pho Khun Si Nao Nam Thom joined forces with Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao, and its comrade, in driving away the enemy.

Pho Khun Pha Muang then gave his comrade the Sword of Victory and also the title of Si Inthrabodinthrathit and consecrated him as Pho Khun Si Inthrathit. a ruler and the founder of Sukhothai dynasty.

  • Theravada Buddhism was flourishing.

With deep faith in Buddhism, he himself entered the monkshood in 1362 A.D. Phra Maha Thammaracha Li Thai was a king of great competence. He composed a religious writing known as Trai Phum Phra Ruang. By his command. a bronze im­age of Buddha was made to be enshrined at Wat Mahathat This Buddha image was later called "Luang Pho To" by Sukhothai people during the early Rattanakosin period and was removed. by the command of King Rama I. to be installed in the Royal Chapel of Wat Suthat Thepwararam in Bangkok. The name. Phra Si Sakaya Muni. was finally given to this Buddha image by King Rama II. Fifty years after the death of Phra Maha Thammaracha Li Thai around 1370 - 1371 A.D.: later kings who were the descendants of Phra Maha Thammaracha Li Thai reigned over Sukhothai under the influence of the Suphannaphum dynasty of Ayutthaya.

Through intermarriage between members of the two dynasties. penetration into aristocratic system and exertion of forces: the Ayutthaya kings made every effort to gradually dominate over Sukhothai and they finally did it. In 1438 A.D. this king sent his son whose mother was an old Sukhothai princess to rule over the northern region at Phitsanulok as Maha Uparat (vice­roy). Sukhothai then became part of the northern region which was annexed to the Ayutthaya Kingdom.

  • Bus travel from Bangkok to Sukhothai.

archaeological park in Sukhothai
From Bangkok to Sukhothai by bus great views and panoramas of central Thailand can be enjoyed. The trip goes via Nakhon Sawan and Phitsanulok. Actually, this could be integrated into a greater tour of the country center since also Tak and Mae Sot at the Thailand-Myanmar border is not far.
If one does this road journey it is almost a must to extend it from Mae Sot down to Umphang where great river rafting trips in lush mountain jungle can be experienced. Karen villages and the biggest waterfall in Thailand and probably whole Asia is to be discovered. It's a great outdoor trip. 

archaeological park in Sukhothai (1)
At Sukhothai and Phitsanulok are enough good hotels to have a pleasant stay. Phitsanulok has an even interesting nightlife with a few nightclubs, Thai style cafe and the usual massage parlors. To explore Sukhothai province and get an idea of history and the old kingdom browse our website and have a look for the videos.

Wat Mahathat at Sukhothai

Situated in the heart of the town this significant temple is believed to be the place where Lord Buddha's Relics has been enshrined. Its main chedi in lotus bud shape characterizes the typical style of Sukhothai art pre­sumably, the main stupa was originally constructed in Prasat shape like the style of those surrounding on its four sides. Located between the north and south of the principal chedi. a standing Buddha image of 9 meters in height is believed to be Phra Attharot as mentioned in Stone Inscription I. There is a group of stupas situated to the south of the main chedi.

At its center stands the one with five spires. second to the main chedi in size. According to the inscription on golden palm leaf, it is believed that the relics of Phra Maha Thammaracha Li Thai has been placed in this stupa. Several great Buddha Statues are at different places in the park.

Palace at Sukhothai

It was formerly believed that the Palace of Sukhothai had been located on the brick base known as Noen Prasat in front of Wat Mahathat. But the excavation of this ancient monument undertaken twice by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand could not give any evidence to verify the said supposition. Moreover. an old map in the reign of King Rama V of the Rattanakosin period indicates that. Noen Prasat is remains of the building pertaining to Wat Mahathat. Based on the stone inscription found at Wat Sorasak and a study conducted in comparison with the layout of a Khmer palace in Angkor Thom, the palace of Sukhothai is likely to be located to the north of Ta Pha Daeng shrine and to the west of Wat Sorasak.

Ta Pha Daeng Shrine Sukhothai

Situated within the town wall adjacent to the northern town gate, this shrine was built in Khmer style during Angkor Wat period (1107 - 1157 A.D.). Several god and goddess images carved from stone were found in situ. These stone images are now displayed at the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum in Changwat Sukhothai. This ancient monument serves as evidence for the embrace of Khmer culture during the early Sukhothai period. Actually Sukhothai also has other problems.

Evidence found in this Sukothai chedi points to the fact that new chedis were rebuilt in different periods of time to replace the To the east of these prasats of Khmer style has situated a chedi in a pyramid shape with a superimposed receding porch on every side. This chedi was built in the same style as a chedi of Wat Ku Kut in Changwat Lamphun.There are many other monuments around Sukhothai. The best way to explore the beautiful location is to hire a bicycle at the park’s entrance. It is also possible to drive into the park by car for an extra fee. It makes sense to use this means of transport since the area is large and it's quite hot over the whole year.
sukhothai scenes
Old Sukhothai is a must see destination in Thailand from Bangkok to Sukhothai

Wat Si Sawai at Sukhothai

Important ancient monuments in this temple include three Khmer-style cone shaped stupas situated to the south of Wat Mahathat. Fragments of images of Hindu gods found in situ and a Siva image enshrined in the porch of the second stupa in the middle indicate that these an­cient monuments were associated with Hinduism and Saivaism. This Hindu sanctuary was afterward transformed into a temple by adding a wihan to its front.
Monuments outside the Town Wall of Old Sukhothai


In the west of Sukhothai there is a row of hills known as the Prathak hill range stretching out as far as the eye can see and forming a beautiful background. This range of hills abundant in the vegetation of all kinds including herbs also serves as a receptacle for rainwater. Out of local wisdom of the Sukhothai period, this ancient earthwork of large size was constructed between two hills. namely Khao Kiew Ai Ma and Khao Phra Bat Yai in order to carry water into canals for irrigation and water supply in Sukhothai. This earthen dike is believed to be mentioned in Stone Inscription I as Saritphong. According to the said stone inscription. water from Saritphong was brought along a southwestern canal named Sao Ho into the town. At present. in cooperation with the Fine Arts Department. Saritphong has been developed by the Royal Irrigation Department to retain water up to 400.000 cubic meters.

Wat Saphan Hin

This Old Sukhothai temple is well known for a huge standing Buddha, the stone inscription tells. "In the heart of the forest Aranvik. there is a beautiful large wihan a Buddha image called Attharot in standing posture...". Wat Saphan Hin is supposed to be the temple where Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng went on a white elephant named Ruchakhiri to worship a Buddha image every Buddhist Sabbath day. An ascent of 300 meters long from the foot of the mound to the temple was built and paved with stone from which the name of the temple derived

Wat Pa Mamuang

Situated in the west of Sukhothai, this temple was mentioned in several stone inscriptions of the Sukhothai period. Stone Inscription VI found at this temple refers to the importance of the temple as a place where Phra Maha Thammaracha was ordained as a priest in 1362 A.D. At present, buildings in the temple include the ordination hall and chedis. The temple is not far away from Thewalai Mahakaset where bronze images of Hindu gods like Vishnu. Siva and Brahma in Sukhothai style were found.

Wat Tra Phang Thong Lang

This ancient monument at Sukhothai is known for stuccoes relief decorated on three sides of the wall of its mondop. 

These reliefs. made by local craftsmen of Sukhothai under the influence of Ceylonese style during the period of Polonnaruwa. depict the story of Lord Buddha. The northern side deals with an episode of Lord Princess Pimpa. his wife, the southern side depicts Lord Buddha descending from heaven after preaching his mother and the western side deals with Lord Buddha preaching his father and the Sakayawong clan.

sukhothai historical park Buddha temple

Wat Phra Phai Luang
Located adjacent to the outer rampart wall of Sukhothai, this ancient temple bears evidence of the evolution of art and architecture during the Sukhothai period. Important ancient monuments in this temple include 3 prasat style buildings. Two of them are still in existence. Stuccoes reliefs found in situ are similar to those decorated on the southern porch at the main stupa of Wat Mahathat in Lop Buri. All these serve as evidence for the diffusion of Khmer influence through Lop Buri.

Beautiful Jade Buddha pendants and wall art to buy are here they are very decorative.

Sukhothai Historical Park

Overall there are plenty of things to do in Sukhothai and Phitsanulok which is just a short distance away but for staying and hotels for sure the better choice.