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Sukhothai Bucket List: Top 16 Best Things to Do in Sukhothai

Once a highly prosperous capital city of the country, today Sukhothai welcomes visitors to get
up close to the glory of the bygone era – packed with traces of ancient history, as well as verdant
scenery. In one fell swoop, Sukhothai features plentiful charming spots to experience and
unwind. And here is the recommended checklist that is tested and tried.
● SUKHOTHAI HISTORICAL PARK

The remaining structure depicts the glory of the Sukhothai era and how Buddhism flourished during the period. Inside the majestic 70 sq km area of Sukhothai Historical Park sit the significant vestiges, which are recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Noen Prasat is the remains of the former royal palace, and small-sized Wat Sa Si appeals to visitors with its graceful and unique beauty. The washed-out remains of Wat Mahatat still look grandiose and serene.

● KING RAMKHAMHAENG MONUMENT

At the heart of the Sukhothai Historical Park is the bronze statue of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great, who is regarded as a benevolent ruler in Sukhothai era and as the “Father of the Thai Language”, as his major achievement was the compilation of a system of writing and a new set of Thai alphabet which he adapted from the various forms of Khmer script that were previously used. His invention is still being used in the present. The Monument is grandly done and you are welcome to pay homage to the late king and to ring the solid bell as a gesture of respect.

● WAT SI CHUM

Actually part of the Sukhothai Historical Park but situated about two kilometres away from the central compound, and requiring a new entrance ticket (THB 20 for Thais), Wat Si Chum is the notable ancient temple with gigantic sacred Buddha Statue which is housed in the fitted chapel. Local Thais and tourists alike come here to worship with flowers, incense and candles. This is one of the most photogenic temples in Sukhothai, thus don’t forget to get a snap with respect to the place.

● RAMKHAMHAENG NATIONAL MUSEUM

Situated right opposite the ticket office to the historical park, the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum is unfortunately often neglected, which is a real pity as it houses numerous valuable ancient objects that were found within the compound and from nearby archaeological sites. In addition, to present a linear development of cultures in Thai territory and the link between the regions in the past featuring objects from archaeological sites of other regions are also displayed. The exhibition is divided into five zones; the Graphic Exhibition in Lai Sue Thai Memorial Building, The Ramkhamhaeng National Museum Building where antiquity gallery took place, Stucco Sculpture Gallery, Wooden Pavilion and the Museum’s Yard with replica of Sangkhalok kiln, elephant at the base of chedis. The entrance fee is THB 30 for Thais and THB 150 for foreigners. The Museum opens daily from 9am-4pm.

● MAI KLANG KRUNG RESTAURANT

A very local eatery where you can savour the true taste of Sukhothai, while imbuing the artifacts decorated within the restaurant compound which make perfect Instagrammable shots. A choice of food is listed from authentic Sukhothai noodles to Padthai, variety of Fried Rice to Fried Noodles. The tempting Pakmao Dumpling is very exquisite with coconut milk as a topping. To ease your thirst, numerous herbal drinks are available in a glass, nicely wrapped with a pandan leave.

● SI SATCHANALAI HISTORICAL PARK

Whilst Sukhothai was once the political and administrative capital, the nearby city of Si Satchanalai was the spiritual centre of the Kingdom of Siam. North of Yom River lie many esteemed temples and the eminent historical park is visit-worthy for both its history and the beauty of its art. Surrounded by full-sized elephant statues, Wat Chang Lom is an eye-catching one with shady bicycle lane that is perfect for all bikers.

● SUKHOTHAI AIRPORT

It definitely isn’t an ordinary airport here, at Sukhothai Airport where you could spot giraffes happily nibbling verdant leaves while zebras playfully reside in the majestic cage next to the runway. The open-air terminal brings travellers close to nature at first steps to this ancient town. Also within the compound of the airport, sculptures of dinosaurs that were found in Thailand are on display with information on each species attached. There are several shrines to worship, as well as organic field with adjoined at-ease restaurant – all within the territory of the airport.

● CAFÉ DE TREE

Tranquility dominates this charming place where shade of trees provide cool ambience to unwind. Café De Tree is the very place you wish to be, after exploring the historical side of the city, with its refreshing and tasty drinks, snacks as well as Asian and Western food. You could choose to chill in the airconditioned café and lavish the lush scene through their ceiling-to-floor wall or to inhale fresh air outside on the large patio and up in the tree house!

● SUTHEP SANGKHALOK

Sangkhalok is Sukhothai’s signature ceramic wares that endures high quality coating techniques to paint traditional motifs onto the clay. The technique is derived since 1238 and used productively until 1767 due to the evidence found around Si Satchanalai. At Suthep Sangkhalok, a variety of products are available to choose from. The cherry of the pie is that Suthep Sangkhalok offers you a hands-on experience in painting the Sangkhalok by yourself at the price of THB 500. After you are done with your design and colouring, they will take it to the pottery furnace and thus deliver the finished product to your door!

● SUNTREE THAI WEAVING CENTER

The hand-woven fabric from the Suntree Thai Weaving Center by Thai-Phuan tribe is 100% cotton and comes in many different styles, for use in daily life and also for special occasions. The famous one is dubbed “Tin Chok”, which features a special technique that incorporates various coloured threads into an individual pattern.

● UNCLE JOI

One of the famous spots to dine for locals and travellers alike, Uncle Joi eatery has fresh water fish to savour every palate. You could have it steamed to imbue the sweet freshness of the fish or cooked in the style you wish.

● TALAD RIM YOM 2437

Travel 100 years back in time at Talad Rim Yom 2437, where time has been frozen. Along the tranquil banks of Yom River, you will see locals dressed in bygone clothing going about their daily life, and selling very traditional foods and other items. You will also be entertained by old-time children’s shows, as well as other types of plays.

● SWANKHALOK TRAIN STATION

The wooden vintage train station is kept in great condition, as well as the classic shops nearby. Hipsters would easily fall in love here with tons of spots to take selfies. The trains approach the station at 6am and 6pm where visitors could experience the train going backwards too.

● CAFÉ

These days there are many petite hip cafes dotted around Sukhothai. Many of them feature unique characteristics as their strong selling points, apart from the scrumptious drinks. Rush Lush Craft Café is located on Nikornkasem Road just before the bridge, and it portrays chic ambience with great drinks, paired with homemade bakery. On another side of the town, 379 Drip converted the old wooden Thai house into a café and has the best barista that brews great Coffee Jelly Drip that is a must once you are here. A nostalgic feeling fills the air at All Blu Coffee where one could slip into the classic past while sipping a glass of tremendous coffee. Freshly brewed coffee is served at the local Jongkol Café amidst the verdant wooden house ambience which makes you believe you are having a cup of coffee at a friend’s residence.

Text by Natasha P
Photos by Santipong Choocharoen and Natasha P