Biking Through Time in Sukhothai: One World Heritage Site You Must See Before You Die

Boarding one of Bangkok Air’s two daily one hour and fifteen minute flights from Bangkok to Sukhothai transports you from a bustling 21st century city to the 13th century.

The Sukhothai Historical Park, one of Thailand’s World Heritage sites, and I suspect the inspiration for Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom (although the movie was “set” in Sri Lanka), is composed of ruins from the mid-13th to mid-14th century Sukhothai Kingdom, the golden era of Thailand.

And by ruins I mean, 28 square miles of Wats, grassed-in moats, shrines, lotus ponds, and one seriously humbling 50-foot tall Buddha.

Imagining what these sites looked like at their prime is jaw dropping. Since words truly are insufficient ….

Wat Si Chum
One of the many Buddhas at Wat Mahathat
The Khmer-style Towers of Wat Si Sawai
Wat Mahathat

This type of awe-inspiring majesty speaks for itself so here are my top 3 non-obvious discoveries in Sukhothai:

  • Random shrines. There is something comforting and thought-provoking about finding these humble shrines amidst the majestic ruins.

  • Concentrated ginger drink: sweet, fiery, a metabolism stimulant and stomach soother. Even though it’s a hot drink, it restored me in a flash after biking for four+ hours in 102-degree heat. I discovered this health drink at a little restaurant across the main road from the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum. Back in Bangkok, I found a decent replica in instant form at the Tesco and bought two boxes. I may cry when I run out.

  • Tharaburi Resort in old Sukhothai. Gorgeous, reasonable, and a short bike ride from the ruins. Free internet and breakfast included in your sub-$100 per night rate. Jules and I spent the afternoon in the pool drinking the cheapest hotel beers we found in Thailand.
Tharaburi Resort

Sukhothai made me rethink my travel bucket list and open it up for further research, as I’m sure there are other places like Sukhothai that I don’t even know about yet.

What places are on your travel bucket list?