OVER seven hours bus ride away from Bangkok will take you to the old city of Sukhothai— one of Thailand’s most impressive World Heritage Sites
Located in lower northern Thailand amid lawns, lakes, and trees, the most famous ruins of the ancient city of Sukhothai is one of the must-never-miss sites in Thailand. The ancient city of Sukhothai which means “the dawn of happiness” is a history buff and a photographer’s dream.
When we got off the bus at the Sukhothai terminal, my buddy and host Rolly and I rode a songthaew, a long wooden jeepney that transported us to the Old City about 12 kilometers away. We picked one of the hotels right across the street from the Sukhothai Historical Park and hurried to catch our first real glimpse of temple ruins.
I discovered there are just too many temples and ruins to visit you can’t walk all the way. We rented a motorbike for 200 baht good for 24 hours, but there are lots of bicycles for less than 100 baht.
When we reached the nearest temples or what was left of them, my jaw just dropped. With a backdrop of the setting sun, the sight of the old bricks and stones and Buddhas which used to be the Thai capital during the 13th century was just surreal.
Historical records show that the Old Sukhothai was the first capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom from 1238 to 1438. Since the 1960s restoration work has been done to preserve the ruins, but I learned later that if you follow the unmarked tracks, it will lead you to more temple ruins in their untouched state.
Come in the early morning hours or late in the afternoon when the sun is setting.
It was kind of spooky going around the ruins especially when darkness fell, with the orange glow casting shadows. You get this uneasy feeling that someone is watching you from behind the pillars and stones but I guess it is part of the mystery and attraction that lures thousands of visitors from all parts of the world every day.
Accommodation in Sukhothai is not a problem. Hotels and guest houses abound and at whatever budget suits you.
Sukhothai is a place where life starts very early in the morning with vendors selling food in carts and tables on the sidewalks, and where you see hundreds of monks in orange ply the streets in the early morning hours.
Getting to Sukhothai from Bangkok or other parts of Thailand is half the fun and you get to explore the Thailand countryside. The long bus rides are worth it but you can check out other options like trains and airplanes.