TheLoneRider
a nomad in search of life's Easter Eggs
Sukhothai, Thailand

Visiting Sukhothai, Thailand Feb 20-23, 2020

Visiting Sukhothai, Thailand

Location Google Map: Sukhothai, Thailand

Defaulting to Sukhothai
From Mae Sot, my next East-bound destination would have been Tak, but the cheapest accommodation was over B300 - deal breaker! I found an B102/night hostel in Sukhothai, the next city east of Tak. That's all that mattered for now. Sukhothai it was! What's there? I would find out when I get there.

Rueang Sri Siri Guest House
At B102/night, this was the cheapest I could see in Agoda. If not for this deal, I wouldn't even stop by Sukhothai. The following day, the rate soared-up to B200+. That's the thing about Agoda. Sometimes, they do a ridiculous price drop and pulls it out the following day. So it's best to be vigilant about these prices drops.

I didn't even bother to propose any deal here. I didn't want to stay beyond 3 days in Sukhothai. The hostel is clean, organized, spacious and the family owners are hands-on. It's also conveniently located next to the bus station. However, it felt dead. None of the travelers were talking to each other and I didn't feel like talking to anyone as well. But it was more than 1km walk to the market scene.

Old City (Sukhothai Historical Park)
Sukhothai was the seat of the Thai kingdom in 1238 AD, which lasted 120 years. The royal palace together with 26 temples, are contained within the city confines. Of all the temples, the Wat Mahathat is the largest. Today, remnants of the old kingdom can be seen through its ruins located in the Old City or Historical Sukhothai, 14 kms west of the working city, New Sukhothai. The area coverage is vast and best explored on a bicycle which can be rented from many shops at B30 from morning to 5:30pm. The city size is 27m2 but the walled city is a rectangular 2km x 1.6km, almost as big as Chiang Mai's moated Old City.

The Ruins
As a former seat of a kingdom, don't expect anything like Angkor Wat. No, the ruins are much modest in scale and grandeur. Most of what remains are columns and perhaps a chedi. On the bigger ones, perhaps a statue of Buddha still stands. There is a B100/pax + B10/bicycle entrance to see the "main" sites. Altogether, there are about 193 ruins. But you don't need to see them all. They all look the same after a while. Historically, they are all significant, of course. But as a physical structure to awe, it does not. In fact, it's hard to differentiate the ruins you see here from any other ruin you might see scattered across Thailand. One day to see the ruins should be enough.

New Sukhothai
New Sukhothai is more like the working city of Sukhothai. The night markets, streets lined-up with food carts, hotels and commerce are clustered here. This is also where the bus station is. Going back and forth between New Sukhothai and Old City is comfortable with a regular vintage songthao plying the route for B30. 24-hour bicycle rentals are quite expensive at B60 - you can get it at B30 in Chiang Mai.

Food
As a regional dish, the Sukhothai Noodle (or kuay teow Sukhothai haeng) is very popular, delicious and cheap as low B35. There is a weird sourness to its taste, blending quite well with its hot and sweet flavor. Another favorite here is the thinly sliced, pounded and dried lean pork meat - pork jerky (moo cha wan). It's chewy, salty and addicting.

Ending Thoughts
After 3 nights of ruins, food and walking about, it was time again to pack-up and continue my East-bound journey. What I didn't feel about Sukhothai was the energy. It felt dead and perfunctory. And also, for what I've seen and what has been hyped about its ruins, it's over-rated. Maybe it's just me. One night, I was even thinking, "What the heck am I doing here? Another night market? Another temple? What's the whole point in all of these?"

Phitsanulok is the logical destination, but I don't see any $2 lodging at this point - cheapest starts at B300. Hmmm. We'll see.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
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Sukhothai Travel Information / Tips

Mae Sot to Sukhothai by van

Van is definitely much faster than taking a bus! Go to the Mae Sot bus station and you'll find a window that says Tak-Sukhothai-Phitsanulok. The van starts in Mae Sot, passes Tak, Sukhothai and stops at Phitsanulok. The guy phoned someone and told me to standby until the van arrives at 1pm, and to pay the driver, B150, 3 hours. It will pass through the Old City and you will be dropped at the Bus Station in New Sukhothai. The 1pm is not on the posted departure times of 07:00, 08:00, 09:00, 10:50, 13:30, and 14:40! (maybe this is the bus schedule and not the van?)

Mae Sot to Sukhothai bus schedule
Sukhothai Attractions
  1. Sukhothai Historical Park -
  2. Si Satchanalai Historical Park -
  3. Wat Si Chum -
  4. Wat Si Sawai -
  5. Wat Chang Lom Sukhothai -
  6. Wat Maha That -
  7. Wat Traphang Thong Market -

Sukhothai Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Visiting Sukhothai, Thailand Feb 20-23, 2020

Travel Tips for Thailand

How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days

    60-Day Thai Tourist Visa

    NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.

  1. Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
    a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
    b) flight booking to Thailand
    c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
    d) filled-in tourist visa form
    e) 2 passport pictures
    f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
    g) passport with at least 6 months validity
  2. After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
  3. NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.

    30-Day Extension

    NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.

  1. bring the following to the Immigration Office:
    a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
    b) Baht 1900
    c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
    d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
    e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
  2. submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
  3. when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
  4. when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
  5. when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!

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