Sukhothai is a city in the north of Thailand halfway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The new city is located 12km from the ancient ruins of what was once the capital of the Kingdom of Sukhothai.
This was the first great Siamese kingdom that around the year 1200 managed to stand out and separate itself from the Khmer empire. This kingdom lasted for about 200 years, when it was absorbed and brought to ruin by the Ayutthaya.
Nowadays you can visit the ancient ruins, which are a strong tourist attraction, almost like a smaller Thai Angkorwat.
I’ve came here by bus from Chiang Mai. The journey takes about 6 hours, so i suggest you to take the night bus and arrive here in the early morning. The bus will drop you off in the old town, but if you want there is a free transit provided to get to the new city. We have stopped right in front of a Guest House called “Old city GH” and trust me, for position and price is the best you can get, so run inside to get a room because they run out quickly. The cheapest room is 200 Baht, and if you can find someone to share the room with, you can get also a bigger room with bathroom attached. I made a mistake and, being the first guest house that I’ve found, i kept it as an option and I’ve walked all around the area trying to find alternatives. Well, there are not… or better, are so few that are normally fully booked. I came back here after 30 minutes and the guest house was full!
The only solution possible was: go to the new city. In new Sukhothai you can find more and cheaper accommodations. I’ve found one called “Green GH” for 130 Baht per night, with wifi (not really fast actually). The main problem of this place is the location. It’s 12km far from the ruins, and that’s, i guess, the reason why you come here. Therefore you are saving money for sleeping but you need to rent a scooter where the prices that you can find are quite high compared to other cities (200 Baht until 10pm). Also this new city is not so attractive and doesn’t really deserve your time to be visited, so if you can try to get a place near the ruins that you can visit around by bicycle (the rent is much cheaper).
The Park dedicated to the ancient ruins is divided in 3 sections: central, north and west. Every section has an entrance ticket for 100 Baht (plus 20 baht for the scooter), and the biggest and most interesting one is the central. Visit all the park will take you about 6 hours… up to your speed, of course. The distances are not long, and you can easily do it by bicycle.
After 6pm, you need to buy a different ticket because the ruins are lighted up for the night… good excuse to ask more money. I found it pretty ridiculous but, me and my nice Chinese friend (just met here), we found a way to go inside without paying. Ok, is not really nice but I’m not an angel and once a while i can do this kind of things.. Basically you just need to drive all the way on the opposite side of the main entrance of the central park. The other entrances are not guarded and there are no lights, so you won’t be noticed in the dark. The ruins when lighted up are nice, but i thought was more impressive actually… the most of them are still hidden into the pitch dark. Worth a visit… if free LOL.
Sukhothai is definitely a place that worth a visit, rich of culture and nowadays is not an easy thing to find around Thailand.