Sukhothai, the capital of the first Thai kingdom, flourished between the mid-13th and 14th centuries during Thailand's 'golden age'. Today, it is a small, modern city divided into two main areas, 'New' and 'Old' Sukhothai.
'New' Sukhothai is where you will find accommodation, restaurants and shops. The ancient ruins are, unsurprisingly, located in 'Old' Sukhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sukhothai Historical Park comprises over 190 impressive stupas, wats and temples scattered around villages, paddy fields and ponds. The most visited are Wat Mahathat and Wat Si Chum. It is worth noting that the ruins in the central zone have been heavily restored, but there are many tracks to more untouched areas, giving you a feeling of stepping back in time.
North of Sukhothai is the Sri Satchanalai Historical Park sitting on the banks of the Yom River. Sri Satchanalai city was the second largest after Sukhothai in its heyday. Fewer travellers venture to these parts, so you'll have the opportunity to discover palaces, temples and homes with fewer tourists. In the area, you can also stop by the tourism-based 'Ban Na Thon Chan Community', where most of the villagers are descendants of the ancient Lanna kingdom and have a strong desire to conserve their local heritage. Take a walk through the village and observe handmade cloth making with unique fermented mud processes and watch the elders make wooden toys.
If you're considering incorporating a visit to Sukhothai in your Thailand holiday, talk to our experts and discuss whether it would be right for you.