The Bangkok Airways Co., Ltd., operates daily flights from Bangkok to Sukhothai. For more information, contact the Bangkok office Tel. 0 2265 5678, 0 2265 5555, Sukhothai office Tel. 0 5564 7224 - 5, or visit http://www.bangkokair.com.
Alternatively, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited offers Bangkok - Phitsanulok flights daily. Contact the Bangkok office Tel. 0 2356 1111, 0 2628 2000, 0 2288 7000. One further commutes by car to Sukhothai. For flight schedules, Tel. 1566, 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000, Phitsanulok office Tel. 0 5524 2971 – 2, or visit http://www.thaiairways.com.
There are no trains going directly to Sukhothai. One may travel by the daily express train or diesel railcar from the Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong) to Phitsanulok and then take a local bus to Sukhothai, about 59 kilometres away. For more information, contact the Travelling Service Unit, State Railway of Thailand, Tel. 1690, 0 2220 4334, 0 2220 4444 or visit http://www.railway.co.th.
Or you can catch the train which has Sawankalok as its destination, Sawankalok is one of the districts in Sukhothai. It is on the direct line from Haulumpong to Sukhothai.
Take the daily air-conditioned or ordinary bus from the Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road to Sukhothai. The journey takes 7 hours. For more information, contact the Transport Company Limited, Tel. 0 2537 8055 - 6, 0 2936 2852 - 66, or visit www.transport.co.th. Sukhothai Bus Terminal, Tel. 0 5561 3296.
In addition, there are private bus services; namely, Win Tour, Co., Ltd., Tel. 0 5561 1039, Bangkok office Tel. 0 2936 3753, and Phitsanulok Yan Yon Co., Ltd., Tel. 0 5525 8647, 0 5525 8941, Bangkok office Tel. 0 2936 2924 - 5.
From Bangkok: 2 routes
For relative short distance tourists can take a rickshaw (Sam Lor). Short rides within the city cost between 20 and 30 baht. Longer rides may cost as much as 50 baht.
Tuk-Tuks (three-wheeled motorized rickshaws) are also popular for short and quick journeys. Fares must be bargained in advance.
The most common means of transport is songthaew. They look like pick-up trucks but with a roof over the back. They pick up as many passengers as they can and drop them off as the drivers reach their destinations. To go by songthaew, simply tell the driver your destination. Fares range from 20-30 baht according to the distance.
Motorbikes can be hired in the city but it is advised to be extremely careful when hiring a motorbike and only use a reputable agency.
Motorbike taxis can be found all over town and they are quickest way to go, splendid for very short journeys. There are local bus services from the new city to the old.
Amphoe Mueang Sukhothai
Phra Mae Ya Shrine (ศาลพระแม่ย่า) Situated in front of the City Hall, Thanon Nikhon Kasem, by the Yom River, the shrine is highly respected by Sukhothai residents. It houses an idol of Phra Mae Ya, a stone figure with a long face, tapered chin, long halo, and dressed as an ancient queen. The idol is about 1 metre high and is supposed to have been built during King Ramkhamhaeng the Great’s reign as a dedication to his late mother Nang Sueang. In this connection, the word Phra Mae Ya or grandmother in Thai is literally a term of endearment since the local people regard King Ramkhamhaeng the Great as their father. The statue was formerly housed in a rock shelter of Phra Mae Ya Mountain. The Sukhothai residents later relocated it to the present shrine situated in front of the City Hall. The shrine is also believed to house the spirit of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great. The Phra Mae Ya Fair is held annually in late February.
To get there: A local bus service operates from the municipality to the shrine.
Sangkhalok Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์สังคโลกสุโขทัย) It is located within Mueang Ake Plaza, Thanon By-pass, just 12 kilometres off the old city. The museum displays more than 2,000 pieces of Sangkhalok ceramic wares collected from various sources both locally and internationally. It is open daily from 8.00 a.m.- 5.00 p.m. Admission fees for adults and children are 100 and 50 baht, respectively. For more information, Tel. 0 5561 4333.
To get there: Use the local bus or the tricycle services from the market to the museum.
To get there: It is accessible by taking the Phitsanulok – Sukhothai bus from the bus terminal to the Rama IX Park.
Ramkhamhaeng National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติรามคำแหง) Located on the right side of the Sukhothai Historical Park, the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum houses many artefacts found from archaeological excavations in Sukhothai, as well as, those given by the locals. The museum is divided into three premises:
Open daily from 9.30 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. The admission fee is 30 baht. Alternatively, a 30-day package for visiting all the historical parks in the province is available at 150 baht. For a group tour, contact the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum in advance at Charotwithithong Road, Tambon Mueang Kao, Amphoe Mueang, Sukhothai, 64210, Tel/Fax. 0 5569 7367, or visit http://www.thailandmuseum.com.
Sukhothai Historical Park or Old Sukhothai City (อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์สุโขทัยหรือเมืองเก่าสุโขทัย) UNESCO world heritage site of the ancient capital of Sukhothai which was famous for it's palaces, temples and other magnificent structures.
Opposite the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, Sukhothai Historical Park is located 12 kilometres from the provincial city, on Charotwithithong Road, along the Sukhothai - Tak route (Highway No. 12). The park covers the ruins of the ancient glorious Sukhothai Kingdom. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in December 1991. During its golden age, Sukhothai was the centre for administration, religion, and economy.
Sukhothai Historical Park comprises the ruins of royal palaces, Buddhist temples, and historical monuments, where the ancient moats, walls, and city gates form a rectangle shape.
Places of interest in Sukhothai Historical Park are as follows: Inside the city wall
King Ramkhamhaeng the Great Monument (พระบรมราชานุสาวรีย์พ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช) The monument was built in 1975 and situated on Charotwithithong Road, north of Wat Mahathat. The bronze statue of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great (The statue is approximately twice the size of the king standing at 3 metres high) sits on a throne called Phra Thaen Manangkhasila. The right hand holds a scripture while the left hand is in a teaching gesture to the people. On the left side of the throne, a sword is placed upon a tray. The facial expression of the statue is like that of Buddha images of the early Sukhothai period and clearly conveys King Ramkhamhaeng the Great’s benevolence, love of justice, and decisiveness. The base relief records the activities of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great as stated in the Sukhothai inscriptions.
The Wall of the Old City (กำแพงเมืองสุโขทัย) Located in Tambon Mueang Kao, the city wall was depicted in the stone inscription as Tribun or a triple wall. The city has a rectangular plan measuring 1,300 metres wide and 1,800 metres long. It is surrounded by an earthen rampart topped with laterite as the inner wall, with a double alternate moat-and-mound outer enclosure. The moats also served as drainage to prevent flooding. In between each side stand the city gates and the forts in the centre.
Wat Mahathat (วัดมหาธาตุ) Located in the heart of the old town, Wat Mahathat was the largest and principal temple of the Sukhothai Kingdom. It is distinguished by a customary main chedi or pagoda in a Lotus-bud shape, a typical Sukhothai style. Surrounding the chedi are eight smaller pagodas on the same base, which comprise 4 laterite corn-shaped prangs at 4 cardinal points and 4 pagodas in the Lanna style at the 4 corners. According to a survey, there are up to 200 pagodas of various styles, 10 wihans or image halls, 8 mondops or square structures, 1 ubosot or ordination hall, and 4 ponds within Wat Mahathat alone. To the east of the main chedi stands a large laterite wihan formerly containing Thailand’s largest seated bronze Buddha image Phra Si Sakaya Muni. The image has been relocated to Wat Suthat in Bangkok. To the north and south feature mondops housing a standing Buddha image called Phra Attharot.
Wat Chana Songkhram (วัดชนะสงคราม) Situated to the north of Wat Mahathat and near to the town pillar shrine, Wat Chana Songkhram was formerly known as Wat Ratchaburana. Its imposing building is the main chedi in a bell shape of vast size. There is also a wihan, ordination hall, and subordinate chedis surrounding the main one.
Noen Prasat Phra Ruang or the Royal Palace (เนินปราสาทพระร่วง หรือ เขตพระราชวังในสมัยสุโขทัย) The royal palace is situated to the east, adjacent to Wat Mahathat. King Rama VI assumed that this area was the royal compound. The Fine Arts Department restored it in 1983, and the excavation revealed the ruins of the base of a royal building built on a grand scale with receding tiers in the form of overturned and upturned lotuses. The base is a tall rectangular shape measuring 27.5 x 51.5 metres with stairs in the front and at the back.
Wat Traphang Ngoen (วัดตระพังเงิน) Situated near Traphang Ngoen Pond 300 metres to the west of Wat Mahathat is Wat Traphang Ngoen with its customary main chedi in a lotus-bud shape with 4 stucco standing Buddha images in 4 niches at 4 directions. There is also a walking Buddha image, wihan in front, while to the east sees an island where an ubosot is located.
Wat Sa Si (วัดสระศรี) Situated northwest of Wat Mahathat is Wat Sa Si. A round Ceylonese-style chedi is the main sanctuary located on an island in the middle of the Traphang Trakuan Pond. In front of the chedi, stands a large wihan, which houses a stucco Buddha image in the Subduing Mara posture, while to the south lies a small chedi in the Ceylonese – Sri Vijaya style containing niches of Buddha images on 4 sides. Also, directly in front of this wihan is an ubosot on a small island. Wat Sa Si is renowned for its scenic spot.
Wat Si Sawai (วัดศรีสวาย) Situated 350 metres south of Wat Mahathat is Wat Si Sawai. The highlight of this temple is the 3 Lop Buri-style stupas. These corn-shaped stupas are quite slim with certain parts of its stucco relief décor on a low base resembling the pattern on the bone china from the Yuan Dynasty. There is evidence that this temple was originally a Hindu shrine. During an excavation, a lintel showing the reclining Vishnu, as well as, fragments of images of divinities and of a Sivalinga were found. The shrine was later converted into a Buddhist temple by adding a wihan in front.
San Ta Pha Daeng (ศาลตาผาแดง) The San Ta Pha Daeng assembles a single laterite tower dating from the first half of the 12th century and belonging to the Angkor Wat style of Khmer art. During the excavation and restoration by the Fine Arts Department, fragments from images of bejewelled Brahmanical divinities were found, now displayed in the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum.
Outside the City Wall
Sites in the North Tourist Service Centre (ศูนย์บริการนักท่องเที่ยวอุทยานประวัติศาสตร์สุโขทัย) Situated in front of Wat Phra Phai Luang, this tourist centre in traditional Thai architecture of the Sukhothai style provides information for tourists visiting the Sukhothai Historical Park. A model of the old city of Sukhothai is also on exhibition here. To get the overview picture of this place, this is an ideal spot to start.
Ruins of the Old Celadon Factory (Thuriang Kilns) (แหล่งเครื่องปั้นดินเผาสุโขทัย หรือ เตาทุเรียง) The Thuriang Kilns, which may have been founded in the late 13th century, are situated near the ‘Mae Chon’ city moat near Wat Phra Phai Luang. This is a site where Sukhothai celadons were made. So far, 49 kilns have been discovered in 3 different areas: 37 lie north of the moat, 9 to the south, near the city wall, and 3 to the east. The vaulted brick kilns measure 1.5 – 2 metres wide and 4.5 metres long. The ceramic wares found here are generally large bowls and jars; they have a matt yellowish grey glaze, and a design, usually of a flower, a fish, or a whirling circle, painted in black.
Wat Phra Phai Luang (วัดพระพายหลวง) A large temple, Wat Phra Phai Luang is the second most important temple in Sukhothai – next to Wat Mahathat. Its rectangular plan is surrounded by 3-line moats, with Khu Mae Chon forming the outermost enclosure. It is believed that Wat Phra Phai Luang may have been the centre of the original city. The most prominent feature here is the 3 main laterite prangs, which are in the Bayon style of Khmer art dating back to the period of King Jayavarman VII. A mondop in front contains stucco Buddha images in 4 postures: sitting, reclining, standing, and walking.
Wat Si Chum (วัดศรีชุม) Situated 800 metres west of Wat Phra Phai Luang is Wat Si Chum. A wihan in the form of a square mondop, which is the main sanctuary, houses a large monumental stucco Buddha image in the attitude of subduing Mara called “Phra Atchana”, which is 11.3 metres in width. The roof has already disintegrated, exposing just 4 walls of stuccoed bricks. There is a narrow passageway in the south wall with steps leading up to the side of the Buddha image and onto the top part of the wall. On the wall of the passageway features 700-year-old fainted paintings while on the ceiling are more than 50 engraved slate slabs illustrating Jataka scenes. A spectacular panoramic view of the Sukhothai Ancient City is visible on the rooftop accessible by the passageway.
To boost morale of the ancient soldiers was the main reason for such mystery in Wat Si Chum. The kings of the Phra Ruang Dynasty were famous for that. One could go through the hidden passageway and address the people through a hole, making them believe the voice they were hearing was actually the Buddha's. There are no windows here. It is believed that a vaulted roof probably covered the wihan.
Sites in the West
Wat Chang Rop (วัดช้างรอบ) Situated 2.4 kilometres west of Pratu O, a city gate, the most prominent feature is the circular stupa in the Ceylonese bell shape, from whose square-base the heads of 24 elephants protrude. The ordination hall lies in front of the main stupa, both are surrounded by 5 other smaller stupas.
Wat Saphan Hin (วัดสะพานหิน) This is situated on a hill 200 metres high, where a 300-metre pathway of slate slabs leads to the sanctuary yard. A Buddha image called Phra Attharot, 12.5 metres high, in the Granting Pardons posture stands elegantly in the compound.
Saritphong Dam or Thamnop Phra Ruang (เขื่อนสรีดภงค์ หรือ ทำนบพระร่วง) Situated in the old city, Saritphong Dam, now restored by the Irrigation Department, comprises earthenworks that stretched between Khao Phra Bat Yai and Khao Kio Ai Ma. There was a spillway and pipes to carry water across canals towards the city gates to be further reserved at the Traphang Ngoen and Traphang Thong Ponds. Water from these reservoirs was used in the old city and the palace of Sukhothai. The ancient word for a source of water is Sok or stream. In this connection, various water sources from Khao Prathak include Sok Phra Ruang Long Phra Khan, Sok Phra Ruang Lap Phra Khan, Sok Phama Fon Hok, and Sok Chomphu where King Rama VI once paid a royal visit.
Sites in the South
Wat Chetuphon (วัดเชตุพน) A mondop enshrines 4 Buddha images in different postures: sitting, reclining, standing, and walking. They were made of bricks, slate, and laterite. Another striking character of Wat Chetuphon is a boundary wall enclosing the mondop with 4 porches. Made of thick slate of a large size, the wall has a frame and balustrade, imitating woodwork. According to the stone inscription number 98 built in 1514, Chao Thammarangsi made a Buddha image in this temple.
Sites in the East
Wat Chang Lom (วัดช้างล้อม) The temple consists of a bell-shaped chedi of Ceylonese influence standing as the centre. The chedi is situated on a base with a platform decorated with a row of elephants seen by their front halves supporting the round chedi. In addition, there is the base of a brick wihan in the front, and ruins of a boundary wall to enclose the whole temple.
Wat Traphang Thonglang (วัดตระพังทองหลาง) It is situated along Charotwithithong Road. By proceeding from Sukhothai provincial town, this temple is visible on the left-hand side. A square mondop made of brick is the main sanctuary. The outer wall of the mondop features stucco reliefs depicting scenes from the story of Lord Buddha; namely, descending from Tavatimsa heaven, preaching to his father, relatives, as well as, his wife. These stucco figures are masterpieces of Sukhothai art.
In this connection, the whole site of Sukhothai Historical Park covers an area of approximately 70 square kilometres. Other recommended attractions tourists can enjoy are as follows:
The admission fee is 40 baht. Alternatively, a 30-day package for visiting all the historical parks in Sukhothai is available at 150 baht. Open daily from 6.00 a.m. – 9.00 p.m. (ticketing is closed at 6.00 p.m.).
Remarks: A historical site night tour is available around 7.00 – 9.00 p.m. There is an entry charge for vehicles. Within the parking lot, there are tram services and rental bicycles to explore around the area (20 baht).
For group tours, as well as requesting a guide, please contact the Tourist Service Centre, Sukhothai Historical Park, Tambon Mueang Kao, Amphoe Mueang, Sukhothai 64210, Tel. 0 5569 7527, 0 5569 7241.
To get there: From the provincial city of Sukhothai, take the local mini-bus or Song Thaeo near the police box, within Mueang Kao area. Get off at the park’s entrance. The bus leaves every 20 minutes.
Amphoe Khiri Mat
Ramkhamhaeng National Park (Khao Luang) (อุทยานแห่งชาติรามคำแหง หรือ เขาหลวง) With an area of approximately 213,215 rai covering Amphoe Mueang, Amphoe Ban Dan Lan Hoi, and Amphoe Khiri Mat, Ramkhamhaeng National Park was declared Thailand’s first historical national park on 27 October, 1980, because of its interesting nexus of preserving natural attractions and historical sites. Formerly known as Khao Luang, it was renamed Ramkhamhaeng in honour of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great during the official declaration as a national park. In addition, the former name coincides with the Khao Luang National Park of Nakhon Si Thammarat province. Another notable geographic feature of this park is the Khao Luang Range. The fauna include bantengs, barking deer, bears, wild pigs, kingfishers, and swallows. Some of the important flora within the park are teak, Malabar ironwood, Siamese sal, Shorea siamensis, herbal and medicinal plants. In addition to this, various waterfalls and historical caves are worth exploring.
Topography and climate: The majority of the park’s land is within the contours of the Khao Luang Mountain Range. This mountain range is situated on a north-south axis. Khao Luang is like a giant anthill in the middle of a rice field, for it is surrounded by low farmland. The high country of the Khao Luang Range is known for its year-round comfortable cool weather, where the average temperature is between 12 – 14 degrees Celsius. Winter and rainy seasons can be foggy. The weather in December and January is quite comfortable. In general, the best time to visit the park is during the cool season (September through February).
Interesting attractions within Ramkhamhaeng National Park
Khao Luang Mountain Range: It is 1,200 metres above sea level. Khao Luang has steep cliffs with its highest summit in the southern part of Sukhothai. Within the high country is the savannah, as well as, the 4 main peaks, which offer beautiful views. The first is Khao Narai Peak standing at 1,160 metres above sea level. It houses the Royal Thai Air Force’s telecommunication station, which covers an area of 25 rai. Khao Narai boasts a beautifully steep cliff, an ideal recreational spot, where a panoramic view of the area is visible. Tourists can enjoy the city of Sukhothai and Phitsanulok lit up at night. Khao Phra Mae Ya Peak is 1,200 metres above sea level. It was formerly a meditation ground for Phra Mae Ya. Khao Phu Ka Peak and Khao Phra Chedi Peak stand at 1,200 and 1,185 metres above sea level, respectively. From these peaks, a bird's-eye view of Sukhothai’s ancient dam and the city itself are virtually visible.
Savannah: Located in the high country of the Khao Luang Range, this savannah covers an area of approximately 3,000 rai, and contains various grasses and herbs.
Sai Ngam: This large banyan tree or Sai, which spreads its branches into a beautiful canopy, is located along the main Khao Luang hiking trail. This is an ideal recreational spot.
Plong Nang Nak: About 320 metres from the banyan tree is located Plong Nang Nak hole, a 0.5-metre-wide and 1.5-metre-long vertical natural chimney. The depth is immeasurable. According to the Northern Chronicles about the myths of Phra Ruang, the ruler was in the Khao Luang range in order to keep the Buddhist precepts.
Herbs and Medicinal Plants: There are hundreds of herbs and medicinal plants in the national park such as prickly leaved elephants’ foot, Harpullia arborea, Brisbane lily, Schefflera leucantha, and birch.
Suan Lum or Suan Lumphini: It is a herbal garden situated at the foot of Khao Luang.
The Ramkhamhaeng National Park’s headquarters is located here on the eastern side of Khao Luang.
Pratu Prawattisat or Historical Gates: Situated to the north of Suan Lum or the Ramkhamhaeng National Park’s headquarters is Pratu Pa. To the west is Pratu Makha, which is located at Sukhothai’s outpost town, while to the east is Pratu Plueai situated at the park’s checkpoint. Last but not least is Prutu Phra Ruang on the southern end of Suan Lum. Legend has it that Phra Ruang came to fly kites through this gate.
Namtok Sai Rung: Situated to the west of the Khao Luang Range, this beautifully renowned waterfall is fed by the sources on the high country of the Khao Phra Chedi Peak and further flows into a stream called Khlong Phai Na. Then, it runs southwest and cascades from a huge high cliff. The water turns into a rainbow as the sun shines onto it, hence, the name Sai Rung in Thai. This phenomenon is visible during 11.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. The ranger station is located within the waterfall’s area, which is 50 metres from the park. It is possible to swim in each of its 4 levels. One must start trekking upstream from the ranger station at 800 metres, 900 metres, 1,160 metres, and 1,200 metres, respectively.
To get there from Sukhothai, take Highway No. 101 (Sukhothai - Khiri Mat route). When arriving in Amphoe Khiri Mat, proceed for 18 kilometres and take a right turn at the T-junction. Travel via Amphoe Ban Dan Lan Hoi for 13 kilometres and take another right turn at the T-junction. Proceed 4 kilometres further before arriving at the park. Buddha's Footprint: This slate structure with 108 auspicious carved marks, housed at the foot of the Khao Tham Phrabat, was created in the reign of Phra Maha Thammaracha Lithai. It is about 600 years old.
Prang Khao Pucha: This large brick stupa, once a religious place of worship for travellers, is situated on a small hill near the park. It is in the Baphuon style of Khmer art and is believed to have been built about 1,500 years ago.
Tham Phra Narai: Legend has it that a Radiating Avalokitesvara statue was found in this cave. The locals thought it was the God of protection Phra Narai or Vishnu. However, all that remains today is the base of the statue.
Tham Phra Mae Ya: A statue of Phra Mae Ya was formerly housed at this rock shelter. The residents later relocated it to the present shrine situated in front of the City Hall.
Thanon Phra Ruang: It is believed that this historic road was built about 700 years ago, as a strategic route connecting Kamphaeng Phet to Si Satchanalai via Sukhothai. The approximate length of this road is 123 kilometres. It may be considered Thailand’s first highway.
Admission fees for adults and children are 200 and 100 Baht, respectively. The porter fee is available at 10 baht/kilogramme. Contact the park directly.
Accommodation: The Ramkhamhaeng National Park provides accommodation of 3 houses, maximum stay of 6 -10 people each, at a rate of 500 baht/night. Rental tents with a maximum stay of 2 – 8 people are available between 50 – 200 baht/night. A camping site charges 30 baht/person/night. For more information, contact the Ramkhamhaeng National Park, P.O. Box 1, Amphoe Khiri Mat, Sukhothai 64160, Tel. 0 5561 9200 – 1, Bangkok office: Tel. 0 2562 0760, or visit http://www.dnp.go.th.
To get there: (By car) From Bangkok, take Highway No. 32, via Nakhon Sawan, and turn left onto Highway No. 1 to Kamphaeng Phet. Switch to Highway No. 101 for Amphoe Khiri Mat. About 20 kilometres before arriving in Sukhothai, at Km. 414, a mountain range is visible on the left-hand side. Take a left turn and proceed 16 kilometres further for the park’s headquarters.
Local Transportation: From Amphoe Khiri Mat, hire a local mini-bus or Song Thaeo at the Khiri Mat junction. The prices range between 350 – 400 baht.
Tips for Visiting Khao Luang National Park
Sawankhaworanayok National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติสวรรควรนายก) It is located at Tambon Mueang Sawankhalok, which is behind Wat Sawankharam (Wat Klang), approximately 38 kilometres from the provincial city of Sukhothai. Proceed left for another 1.6 kilometres. The exhibits are in a two-storey building. Upstairs houses sculptural collections from various periods, mostly those formerly collected within the compound of Wat Sawankharam and offered by Phra Sawankhaworanayok. In addition, there are Buddha images, relocated from the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, from the pre-Sukhothai to the early Ayutthaya period. Sangkhalok crockery excavated from the ancient kiln sites of Ban Ko Noi and Ban Pa Yang of Amphoe Si Satchanalai, as well as, various wares retrieved from sunken vessels in the Gulf of Thailand are displayed downstairs. Open daily except Mondays, Tuesdays, and public holidays. Operating hours are during 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Admission fee is 30 baht. For group tours and guide service, Tel. 0 5564 1571, 0 5564 3166, or visit http://www.thailandmuseum.com.
Suan Luang Phra Ruang Chaloem Phra Kiat or Phra Ruang Park (Thung Mae Rawing) (สวนหลวงพระร่วงเฉลิมพระเกียรติ (ทุ่งแม่ระวิง)) It is located at Mu. 9, Tambon Pa Kum Ko. Originally a large swamp, this park currently covers 830 rai: 645 rai of water, and 185 rai of land. An island of scenic beauty, due to its geographical form, this park marks an ideal recreational area. Various activities include crossing the old 300-metre wooden bridge and paying homage to the following idols: Phra Ruang statue at the Phra Ruang’s circle - situated at the island’s entrance, Kwan Yin statue, and Pu Kok shrine - situated near the Pa Kum Ko Sub-district Administration Organization. In addition, tourists can enjoy resting at the pavilions along the path, as well as, see the picturesque view around the island, mixed cultivation farming project, which includes paddy farming, horticulture, and poultry rearing. Furthermore, there is a farmer’s museum housing various ancient farming equipment and showcasing the traditional lifestyle of Sukhothai farmers. Tourists will also find a herbal demonstration garden, sapling nursery, and building selling products of Sukhothai.
Amphoe Thung Saliam
Luangpho Sila (หลวงพ่อศิลา) This Buddha image was formerly enshrined at Tham Chao Ram, deep in the forest close to Amphoe Ban Dan Lan Hoi. It was relocated to Wat Thung Saliam during 1929 -1932. However, on 29 October, 1977, the Buddha image was stolen and sold in an auction in the U.K. Fortunately, it was found and later brought back to Wat Thung Saliam.
Wat Phiphat Mongkhon (วัดพิพัฒน์มงคล) This is where the golden Sukhothai-style Buddha image, made of 9-kilogramme gold, or Phra Phutthasukhophothong, in the subduing Mara attitude, is enshrined.
Amphoe Ban Dan Lan Hoi
Tham Chao Ram (ถ้ำเจ้าราม) This cave, formerly called Tham Phra Ram - mentioned in the famous stone inscription of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great - is located in Tambon Wang Nam Khao. The name, somehow, later became Tham Chao Ram. Evidence shows that this cave was a recreational area of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great. It has beautiful surroundings, an ideal raid shelter, spacious, bears a hole for sunlight, and, features the stone inscription. It is also home to many bats (Suborder Microchiroptera) like the wrinkled-lipped bat (tadarida plicata). They forage at night in dense flocks.
To get there: It is accessible by car. The total distance from Amphoe Ban Dan Lan Hoi to Tham Chao Ram is 30 kilometres. The trip takes 45 minutes. Alternatively, from the provincial city of Sukhothai, proceed along the Sukhothai - Thung Saliam route. The distance is 67 kilometres. Then, proceed further onto the laterite Ro Pho Cho road of the Thung Saliam - Amphoe Ban Dan Lan Hoi route. The distance is 19 kilometres. The total distance to the Tham Chao Ram Wildlife Sanctuary is 86 kilometres. Visitors should bring a change of clothes because the cave is full of the bats’ faeces. A torch is recommended. Contact, Tel. 0 5551 1142 or 0 5568 9024.
Cycling Route along the Orchards Travel via Highway No. 101 (Sukhothai – Phrae) to Amphoe Sawankhalok. Turn right for Tambon Khlong Krachong. Proceed some 2 kilometres further for Bunchop Em-im Orchard, Tel: 08 1888 1739. Enjoy cycling around the orchard and taste a variety of fruits like pomelo, santol, sapodilla, coconut, star fruit, various kinds of bananas, as well as, the tasty and fleshy plum mango (Bouae Macrophylla) with its chicken-egged size. Then, proceed towards Tambon Ban Tuek by taking a right turn onto Highway No. 102 (Amphoe Si Satchanalai – Uttaradit) at Tambon Hat Siao. Turn left for some 30 kilometres for the Tambon Ban Tuek Community of Amphoe Si Satchanalai. This is a small and peaceful community filled with trees, paddy fields, and scenic mountain ranges, while tourists can enjoy the traditional life of fruit growers. Different types of fruits grown along the hilly terrain include longkong, langsat, mangosteen, durian, banana, pomelo, rambeh, and rambutan. Contact the Si Satchanalai District Agricultural Office, Tel. 0 5567 1036, or Village Headman, Mr. Saneh Mueangmun, Tel. 08 1395 7183.
Eco & Soft Adventure Tourism
Cycling Route: The Old Town of Sukhothai. Trips within the Sukhothai Historical Park can be made by the rental bike service available in front of the Park. Contact the Tourist Service Centre, Tel. 0 5569 7241.
As spa is very famous through out the country, even Sukhothai is not left behind. There is the well known Ananda Spa at Ananda Museum Gallery Hotel in Sukhothai.
Spas in Hotels/Resorts
Ananda Spa at Ananda Museum Gallery Hotel.
Events and Festivals
King Ramkhamhaeng the Great Memorial Fair (งานวันพ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช) It is held annually during 15 – 17 January at the King Ramkhamhaeng the Great Monument, Sukhothai Historical Park. The fair features many ceremonies to pay respect to King Ramkhamhaeng the Great. Participate in alms-giving, religious ceremony, procession, offering ceremony, as well as, enjoy the fireworks, and various kinds of entertainment, which will be held day and night. Contact Sukhothai Historical Park, Tel: 0 5569 7310.
Phra Mae Ya Homage Paying Fair and Sukhothai Red Cross Fair (งานสักการะพระแม่ย่าและงานกาชาดจังหวัดสุโขทัย) This is held at the beginning of February every year around the Sukhothai City Hall, Nirakasem Road, Tambon Thani. A procession paying homage to Phra Mae Ya, a local sports competition, an exhibition, a local handicraft demonstration, and entertainment, are held. Contact, Tel. 0 5561 0086.
Songkran and Mueang Sawankhalok Festival (งานประเพณีสงกรานต์และเทศกาลเมืองสวรรคโลก) This takes place during 11-15 April annually on the bank of the Yom River, in front of Wat Sawang Arom, by the Yom River, and at the Stadium of the Sawankhalok Municipal School. The procession of Miss Songkran, the Sawankhalok Food Festival, ceremonies of giving alms to monks, and bathing rituals for Buddha images and monks are performed in the festival.
Hae Nam Khuen Hong Festival (งานประเพณีแห่น้ำขึ้นโฮง) This is organized annually during 18 – 19 April at the plaza of Chaopho Mueang Dong Monument, Tambon Ban Tuek, Amphoe Si Satchanalai. The ceremony is held to honour “Muen Nakhon” or “Chaopho Mueang Dong”, the establisher of Dong City. He was talented and courageous, as well as, specialized in catching elephants and utilising them in war. Later, he was executed to prove his loyalty to King Tilokkarat. Then, the villagers organized a ceremony to pay homage to Chaopho Mueang Dong by preparing a more-than-50-elephant parade wonderfully decorated, passing the village to pay respect to the shrine of Chaopho Khao Mung, and onward to the plaza of Chaopho Mueang Dong Monument to pay homage to Chaopho Mueang Dong. For more information contact, the Ban Tuek Sub-district Administration Organization, Tel. 0 5567 7200.
Khao Luang Winning Day (งานวันพิชิตยอดเขาหลวง) This is a yearly event that Sukhothai province has organized for tourists and the local people to climb up to the summit of Khao Luang in the Ramkhamhaeng National Park, Amphoe Khiri Mat. The event is held around November every year. More details are available at the Ramkhamhaeng National Park, Tel. 0 5561 9200-1 or the Sukhothai Public Relations Office, Tel. 0 5561 2286.
Amphoe Mueang Sukhothai
Amphoe Si Samrong
Amphoe Mueang Sukhothai
(Thai, Chinese, and European cuisine), service hours: 8.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m.
Sukhothai has its very own speciality noodle dish called simply Sukhothai Noodles. They area blend of rice noodles (khanom jeen) mixed with crispy pork, garlic, green beans, coriander, chili and peanuts in a broth flavored with dark soy sauce.
Khanom Kliao (ขนมเกลียว) Famous snacks of Sukhothai made from wheat flour and egg, seasoned with salt and pepper, and made it into a twist shaped-dough. Fry until crispy and further glacé. It has a sweet taste and is available everywhere. Alternatively, make an order at Khru Aeo shop, Si Inthrathit Road, Tel: 0 5561 2037, or Sukhontha shop, Charotwithithong Road, Tel: 0 5561 2112.
Sangkhalok ceramics (เครื่องสังคโลก) These replicas are as beautiful as the originals.
Thung Luang terra cottas (เครื่องปั้นดินเผา) of Khiri Mat district come in unique patterns. The products include flower pots, vases, basin, water jar, lamps, with perforated decorations of animal fiqures like frogs, bullfrogs, and dogs.
Butter-baked Banana (กล้วยอบเนย) A famous snack of Amphoe Khiri Mat, it resembles another local sweet called Khanom Rang Nok made from sweet potato. This butter-baked banana snack is made from slicing raw banana horizontally, left to dry for half a day, seasoned with salt, deep fried, adding sugar, and giving it a good stir. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and add butter. This product is available everywhere.
Local Snacks: Khanom Phing, Thong Muan, Thong Phap, Thong Tan (ขนมผิง ทองม้วน ทองพับ และทองตัน) Famous crispy snacks of various shapes: square, round tube, and thick roll. They are available at Talat Ban Kong, Amphoe Kong Krailat or at various souvenir shops in Sukhothai.
Fried peanuts (ถั่วทอด) of Si Samrong district, also called “200-year fried peanuts” are a tribute to a technique which has been inherited for many generations. The recipe is a mixture of rice flour, wheat flour, eggs, coconut milk, salt, pepper, chopped wild yam, which are then deep fried. They are available at the Lon Sin shop, Sirisamalang Road, Amphoe Si Samrong, Tel: 0 5568 1443, as well as, other shops in this district.
Ancient gold reproductions (ทองโบราณ) of Si Satchanalai district are entirely hand-made by skilled workers. These replicas of the Sukhothai style products include necklaces, wristlets, bangles, earrings, rings, etc. They are available at all gold shops in Amphoe Si Satchanalai.
Ancient silver reproductions (เงินโบราณ) These replicas are entirely hand-made with distinctive skill. They are available at all silver shops in Amphoe Si Satchanalai.
Hat Siao fabric (ผ้าหาดเสี้ยว) comes with 9 beautiful patterns woven with the use of a supplementary weft technique, done by the descendants of Thai Phuan, who migrated from the north of Vientiane, Lao P.D.R.
Marble Products (ผลิตภัณฑ์หินอ่อน) The marble products from Amphoe Thung Saliam - Thoen include tables, chairs, flower pots, and alarm clocks.
Fighting cocks (ไก่ชน) This is located at the Chai Phichit cock-fighting ring, 99 Mu. 7, Tambon Mueang Kao, Amphoe Mueang. Enjoy the cock-fighting demonstration and learn about the animal’s lifestyle, Tel: 0 5563 3344, 08 6539 1875, 08 9204 1264.
0 5561 0188, 08 1604 4749 (made to order wooden furniture such as antique cupboards, beds, tables, and chairs).
Sukhothai doesn’t really have much of a name for nightlife. Probably the best place to go in the new town is the Chopper bar which has decent rooftop restaurant, live folk music and a Thai and Western menu. Around town, there are a few Thai-style karaoke with pretty hostesses.
Health and Medical Centers
Major hospitals in Sukhothai are:
2/1 Bankluay Muang Sukhothai 64000 Tel: (055) 611701,611702,611782,610903
Klongtan, Srisamrong Sukhothai 64120 Tel: 055-682030-43
Local television, satellite TV channels are available. English language newspapers and magazines are available in some bookstores.
Landline telephone, satellite phone and all mobile phone systems are available at Sukhothai downtown and village areas. Internet can be had in hotels, resorts and internet cafés. There are Post Offices in every district.
Examples of Tour Programmes
--globe-trotter 13:43, 5 February 2010 (EST)