Sukhothai, Thailand: The First Kingdom of Siam

Train from ayutthaya to phitsanulok
Lady who sells train snacks takes a break
Getting to Sukhothai from Ayutthaya was an adventure. We hopped on the train (5-1/2 hours, 245B/$8), which was over a half-hour late, and putted down the tracks to Phitsanulok. We arrived in Phitsanulok and started looking for the bus station… it wasn’t where our map said it was.

We asked two or three people for directions some of whom pointed vaguely in an easterly direction, others seemed outright confused at the concept of a bus station in general. It didn’t look good. Finally, we asked a man who was sitting outside his shop reading a newspaper. He didn’t speak English so he called his daughter. She asked around and told us the bus station was too far to walk to and that we would have to take a motorcycle taxi… not possible with all our baggage. She kindly offered to give us a lift to the bus stop on the main road where, she assured us, the bus to Sukhothai would pass by. Excellent! 15 minutes later the bus picked us up and we were on the road to Sukhothai (39B/$1.30).

Swimming pool
Swimming pool at Pinpao Guesthouse
We arrived dirty and stinky but we had booked a couple of nights at Pinpao Guesthouse, which had a refreshing pool, hammocks, and a delicious breakfast starring fresh honey (still on the comb). A little over our budget, but it was Valentine’s Day and we felt like we deserved it. The hotel was just a ten minute walk from the Sukhothai Historical Park.

Temple and buddha
Sukhothai Historical Park

Getting to the park early to avoid the hordes of tourists is the best way to do it and allows you to enjoy the serenity of the park. Admission is 100B/$3.25 for the main area of the park, other areas outside the walls are extra and best reached by bicycle.

Wat Mahathat - the largest ruin in the park
Chedis in Wat Mahathat
Ryan being dwarfed by Wat Mahathat
Tree with small Buddha statues
This tree is amazing
Wat Mahathat from afar
Buddha is huge at Wat Mahathat
Peaking out from the columns
Standing Buddha says 'don't fight people'
Buddha feet
Bridge to Wat Sa Si
Buddha at Wat Sa Si
Mowing the lawn around the wats
Little Buddha
Buddha's long fingers are good for keeping the peace
Wat Si Sawai
Ryan posing at Wat Si Sawai
Sara in the doorway to the interior of Wat Si Sawai

We also stayed a night in new Sukhothai at Banthai Guesthouse. Despite what the guidebook says, I really liked new Sukhothai. We found a nice little bar called Khun Tanode which was under the bridge, overlooking the river. I highly recommend the fried chicken drumsticks in Sukhothai sauce. Delicious!

Our next stop is Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand!