The ruins of the original Sukhothai, which served as the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom when it was established in 1238, can be found in the Sukhothai Historical Park.
A park-like setting with lakes, ponds, and trees is kept in excellent condition, and it is here that dozens of well-preserved and restored monuments dating back to the 13th through 15th centuries can be found. The park receives much fewer visitors than other historical sites in the country, such as Ayutthaya and Angkor.
The first independent Thai Kingdom
Sukhothai was the first independent Thai Kingdom, and it was here that Thai art and architecture evolved into what is now known as the Sukhothai style, which was heavily influenced by Khmer and Singhalese styles. The lotus bud chedi and statues of a walking Buddha with clothing draped around the body are typical of the Sukhothai style.
Several inscribed stone steles, such as the famous Ramkhamhaeng stele, discovered during excavations in Sukhothai and its vassal towns, contain a wealth of information about the empire and its Kings. The stele is on display at Bangkok’s National Museum.
The historic district
The old city is surrounded by a moat and city walls that span approximately 2 kilometers in length and 1.6 kilometers in width. Entry gates in the center of each side of the surrounding wall provided access to the city. The Royal Palace and several important temples were located within the 3 km2 area. Several more temples in various states of preservation are scattered across several locations outside the walled area.
Royal Palace & temples of the Sukhothai Historical Park
The rulers of the Sukhothai empire built dozens of impressive temples and a Royal Palace over two centuries of existence. The Palace was in the walled central zone, next to Wat Mahathat. Nothing of it remains, as it was most likely constructed of perishable materials such as wood.
National Museum of Ramkhamhaeng
The Ramkhamhaeng National Museum teaches visitors about the Sukhothai empire’s history. The museum is divided into two buildings and an outdoor area.
Artifacts discovered during excavations and restoration work in Sukhothai and one of its vassal cities, Kamphaeng Phet, are on display. Ancient weapons, ceramics, Buddha images, sculptures, and a replica of the Ramkhamhaeng stele are among the items on display. The outdoor section features a reproduction of a ceramic kiln.
The museum is located near the east gate in the city’s central zone. It is open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. The cost of admission is 150 Thai Baht per person. It is not permitted to take photographs inside the museum.
How to get to Sukhothai Historical Park
Sukhothai Historical Park is about 430 kilometers north of Bangkok in Sukhothai province. Check out the “How to Get to Sukhothai” section for information on how to get to modern Sukhothai.
The park is in the Muang Kao district, which is about 10 km west of modern-day Sukhothai. The most comfortable mode of transportation is a private car with a driver. Make a reservation through a hotel or a travel agent. The songthaew ride, a converted pick-up truck with benches in the back, costs around 40 Baht one way. The songthaew will usually wait until there are enough passengers; the journey takes approximately 25 minutes. A return trip by tuk-tuk, including some waiting time, will cost around 700 Thai Baht, while a one-way trip will cost about 200 Baht.