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The Sukhothai (Rising of Happiness) Kingdom flourished from the mid-13th century to the late 14th century. This period is often viewed as the golden age of Thai civilisation. The remains of the kingdom, known as meuang gòw (old city), feature around 28 sq miles (45 sq km) of partially rebuilt ruins, making up one of the most visited ancient sites in Thailand.

Located 7.4 miles (12km) east of the historical park on Mae Nam Yom, the market town of Sukhothai (สุโขทัย) is not particularly interesting. Yet its friendly and relaxed atmosphere, good transport links and excellent-value accommodation make it a pleasant base from which to explore the old city ruins.

Set among peaceful hills, the 13th- to 15th-century ruins of the old cities of Si Satchanalai and Chaliang lie just over 30 miles (50km) north of Sukhothai. Chaliang, a mile southeast, is an older city site (dating to the 11th century), though its two temples date to the 14th century.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Sukhothai.