Journeying North of Bangkok: How to Get to Sukhothai
Learn the Easiest Ways to Get to Sukhothai
No trip to Thailand is complete without a trip to see where it all began, at the ancient capital of Sukhothai. The name literally means ‘dawn of happiness’ and it’s an appropriate title for what is now one of the more popular tourist sites in Thailand; soaring ruins jostle together to give you a real taste of the glories of the Thai kingdoms of old.
The ancient ruins sit alongside a newer city of the same name, about 430 km north of Bangkok. The various transport options can be a bit confusing, however, with rival companies promising vastly different levels of speed and comfort and some real considerations about cost to take into account. Here’s our run-down of the best ways to get to Sukhothai.
How to Get to Sukhothai by Bus
The most popular choice for most travelers, the buses to Sukhothai are frequent and plentiful. What they gain in popularity they lose in journey times, however, as the trip can be a bit lengthy (especially if you’re starting from Bangkok and have to factor in the ever-present traffic jams!). Expect a 7 hour trip from Bangkok or a 5 hour trip from Chiang Mai.
Buses from Bangkok leave from the gargantuan Mo Chit bus station to the north of the city center, and from Chiang Mai they leave from the Arcade bus station. There’s no real need to book a ticket in advance from either city unless it’s holiday season, as buses leave every half an hour at peak times and there are usually seats to be had.
If you want to check the standard of the bus companies then head to 12go.asia and take a look at what they offer; if you pay slightly more then you can sometimes score yourself your own TV with movies on some lines! Fares are 500-700 baht from Bangkok ($16-22 US) and 400-550 baht ($13-17 US) from Chiang Mai.
How to Get to Sukhothai by Train
Train travel is one of the great pleasures of Asia, but alas it’s not the most convenient option for Sukhothai. The closest station is in Phitsanulok which is 60 kilometers to the east of the city, so a journey by train needs to end up with a transfer to a public bus or a private tuktuk charter, the latter of which can be quite pricey.
There are ten trains a day from Bangkok Hua Lamphong and six trains a day from Chiang Mai, with journey times of around 7 hours and 5 hours respectively. Ticket costs vary wildly depending on the class of travel and the speed of the train; expect to pay as little as 70 baht from Bangkok ($2.50 US) for a third class ticket with fan all the way up to 1,500 baht ($46 US) for an express sleeper train with air con.
How to Get to Sukhothai by Air
If you’re feeling flush and visiting from Bangkok then by far the quickest way to get to Sukhothai is by plane. The two main carriers on the route are Bangkok Airways and (weirdly!) Garuda Indonesia, with prices starting from $53 US without luggage. If you’re all about the time saving then don’t forget to factor in the time it will take you to get to the airport in Bangkok first though- back to those damn traffic jams!
How to Get to Sukhothai by Car
The final option for getting to Sukhothai is by car. There are plenty of car rental places in Bangkok who will be happy to rent you a vehicle. Make sure you’re a confident driver and have an international license that allows you to drive legally in Thailand, however. It’s no fun at all having an accident and then finding out you’re not insured!
The Journey is Half the Fun!
A trip across Thailand to Sukhothai is a great way to see the country and meet the local people, and we recommend making the journey part of the holiday. Grab your guidebook, charge up the camera and enjoy!