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Sukhothai, Temple Ruins Of Thailand's Ancient Capital City

Updated on September 14, 2011
Suhkothai Wat Mahathat
Suhkothai Wat Mahathat

Sukhothai is considered to be the first capital city of Thailand. Sukhothai is said to have been the capital of the Thai Kingdom from 1238 - 1376. The Thai written language is thought to be established in Sukhothai by King Ramkhamhaeng. Today the ancient city of Sukhothai is a World Heritage Site, and the temples and ruins have been reconstructed to what is believed to be their original state. Reconstruction began in 1976, and the Sukhothai Historical Park was opened to the public in 1988.

The present day town of Sukhothai is a small Thai town located 12km away from the Sukhothai Historical Park. The city is thought to have moved over the years as the flow of the river changed. The Sukhothai Historical Park is a magical site full of ancient ruins (reconstructed), as well as perfectly manicured gardens and well maintained waterways. There are dozens of different temples and ruins inside and outside the park, the largest of which is The Mahathat Temple ruins in the center of the park.

Sukhothai Wat Mahathat

The ancient ruins of Sukhothai are located just 12km from the present day town of Sukhothai. The best way to get to Sukhothai is by train, arriving first in Phitsanalouk. Trains leave several times per day from Bangkok or Chiang Mai, arriving in Phitsanalouk, which is roughly halfway between the two cities. Sukhothai is just 60km from Phitsanalouk, about an hour drive by motorbike or car. There are plenty of buses and taxis providing service to Sukhothai several times per day. You can also rent a motorcycle in Phitsanalouk and drive to Sukhothai from there, this is probably the most affordable option.

The Ancient Ruins
The Sukhothai Historical Park is a photographers paradise, with several picturesque scenes to capture on film. The park is surrounded by a large square wall and a series of waterways around the perimeter of the city. The temple ruins inside the wall are often surrounded by water, with bridges providing access to the temple grounds. Because the area of the park is so large, most people will rent a bicycle in order to navigate from site to site inside the park. Motorcycles are also permitted inside the park, however no cars are allowed. The ruins appear to be quite old, even though they were reconstructed in the 1970s, however there are photos to show the original state of some of the ruins, making the reconstruction look quite accurate.

Ancient Sukhothai Ruins
Ancient Sukhothai Ruins
Wat Si Chum
Wat Si Chum


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    • profile image

      Roman 3 years ago

      Hello Christine! Our serendipitous adtuevnre ended sadly- I believe I left my jacket at your camp. Did you happen to find a camo coat?It was wonderful getting to know you, I'll be telling that story many more times. Sincerely,Brooke

    • talitz2550 profile image

      talitz2550 6 years ago from Thailand

      Fantastic Hub. I had been here 3 years ago and I loved the place. Wish I could pay Sukhothai a visit again.

      Drop by at my Rong Khun Temple Hub. You might find it interesting too :) Sawadee kah!

    • profile image

      jimmy 6 years ago

      Wow .. nice photos and great info on Sukhothai!

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Very interesting to read about Thailand's Ancient. Keep doing the good work and bring to our knowledge more info about Thailand.