From Bangkok to Sukhothai
Sukhothai is located 427km north of Bangkok and there are many ways you can travel to the region whether it be by bus, van, taxi, train or plane. Take the scenic route, with a 6-7 hour drive, or hop on a plane and be there in less than 75 minutes.
Home to the ancient ruins of the Sukhothai Kingdom it is a timeless piece of Thai history and architecture. Travelling to Sukhothai is a great stop over if you are heading to the northern provinces of Thailand. Embrace the culture and experience the beauty of these historical ancient ruins.
Flights from Bangkok to Sukhothai
A quick one-hour flight from Bangkok, Sukhothai is served by direct flights by Bangkok Airways, but there is at least half a dozen daily flights from Don Mueang airport to Phutsanulok.
Bangkok Airways offers a direct flight out of Suvarnabhumi three times a day for around THB2000 leaving early morning, midday and late afternoon. Suvarnabhumi is easily accessible by train from Hua Lamphong train station, by airport bus or by taxi.
Thailand also offers a wide variety of budget airline options out of Don Mueang airport. Nok Air and AirAsia fly to Phitsanulok and then offer a bus service to Sukhothai. This option will cost you anywhere from THB1000 and up but will take longer to travel the extra hour from Phitsanulok to Sukhothai.
Sukhothai airport is located 35km north of Sukhothai town or 40km from the historical park. Outside the airport you will find multiple transport options to take you to the 20-30 minute ride to the New or Old city. There is a shuttle bus from the airport to your hotel and you can expect this to cost about THB180 to the New city or THB300 to the Old city.
Note Flying makes it possible to travel from Bangkok straight to the Historical pPrk and return to the capital city in the same day.
From Bangkok to Sukhothai by train
While there is no train station in Sukhothai proper, you still can cover the major part of the route from Bangkok to Sukhothai by train. The nearest train station is Phitsanulok, 60 km east of Sukhothai. On arrival catch a tuk-tuk to the bus station and transfer to a Sukhothai bound bus or minibus.
The train journey from Bangkok to Phitsanulok takes under 7 hours and covers Thailand’s flat central region. There are multiple trains servicing this route throughout the day departing from Bangkok from 8.30am till 10pm. The overnight train #51 (10pm) would be a good option for those looking to save on a night of accommodation whilst travelling. Trains offer a variety of tickets, from the cheapest 3 class hard seats to first and second class sleepers with the option of a lower or upper berth (THb800-THB1000).
If you are travelling by train make sure you book in advance as tickets can sell quickly. Food is never in short supply with vendors often patrolling the train with snacks and refreshments. Travel by train is great if you’re looking for a true authentic South East Asian experience!
In Phitsanulok take a bus or taxi to get to Sukhothai – the trip is about one-hour long with buses leaving every hour both to New Sukhothai and Old Sukhothai.
From Bangkok to Sukhothai by bus
For the budget-conscious traveller, bussing is one of the cheapest transport choices, with tickets ranging between THB350-THB550 (USD10-USD15). Buses leave from Morchit bus terminal in Bangkok and take you direct to Sukhothai. In Bangkok, Morchit is easily accessible by catching the Skytrain to Morchit station, followed by a quick 10-minute taxi ride.
Tip Make sure you arrive at the bus station at least 30 minutes before your departure to give yourself enough time to exchange your online reservation for a ticket.
You can expect the journey to take between 7 and 8 hours by bus, depending on the bus company and the bus station in Sukhothai you are heading to. Basically, there is only one main bus station in Sukhothai which is located in New Sukhothai – the newer part of the city which grew next to the Historical part east on route 12. All the buses ‘to Sukhothai’ will bring you there. As at every bus station in Thailand, you’ll find there vendors selling food and drink, bathrooms and ticket booths in the main waiting area.
Note To get directly from Bangkok to the Old Sukhothai, you need to catch a bus which says ‘Historical Park Sukhothai’. To get to the Old Sukhothai from New Sukhothai, you can hail a songthaew (the old blue buses) for about THB20. Alternatively for a faster option catch a tuk-tuk which will cost you around THB200.
It is one-and-a-half kilometre from the bus station to the main tourist area in New Sukhothai and about 12 km to the Historical park area. It is recommended to catch a songthaew (the old blue looking buses) to the city centre or to the park for around THB40. Alternatively, take a trishaw – do inquire about the price before the trip! – for a little more.
Phitsanulok Tours offer multiple bus trips across the day direct from Morchit to Sukhothai and offer comfortable buses with air conditioning. The Transport Co Intl also offers a daily service to Sukhothai departing at 5pm for THB550. Many buses heading further north call to Sukhothai or Phitsanulok, too. Depending on the bus provider some water and snacks may be provided but is recommended you pack your own. Be prepared for limited stops on the way.
From Bangkok to Sukhothai by taxi
Create your own Thai road trip by leaving at anytime from Bangkok in a private taxi. This could be an excellent option for those travelling in a group. It takes up to 6 hours to travel the 420 km north, but in a comfortable car you can still expect a bumpy journey with average road conditions in Thailand.
When travelling by taxi agree on a set price (before entering the car. If paying by cash, make this payment upfront. Watch out for being charged more when you arrive or being taken in the wrong direction from where you want to go. If in doubt get out and hire a new taxi.
Tip Don’t bother trying to dispute issues with drivers in Thailand as you will most likely end up in a worse position that when you started. It is always better to pay the money and walk away rather than trying to reason – this is often a mistake many tourists make in Thailand. It’s a perfectly safe mode of transport to Sukhothai, just keep an open mind for (in case) when things don’t seem right.
Book through PGS to get a reputable driver and avoid any hassle. If possible ask for a driver who speaks English to help guide you along the way. PGS provide the option to travel in a van or car and share with your fellow travellers to keep costs down as it can cost around THB7000 for the entire journey.
Onward travel from Sukhothai
Sukhothai opens up a myriad of opportunities of other Thai destinations to visit. It is common for travellers to continue north to the mountainous cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to see the beautiful scenery, temples and elephant sanctuaries. Chiang Mai and the northern suburbs offer a different style of Thai food that is delicious!
Travelling back to Bangkok, it is a good idea to check the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya, 60 km north of the capital.
Surrounding Sukhothai you will also find more historical parks and ruins with Phitsanulok to the east, Kamphaeng Phet to the south and Si Satchanalai to the north. All of these destinations provide their own unique historical experience and are easily reached by bus from Sukhothai – no need to book in advance, just show up at the bus station (from one to 1½ hour, THB60).