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Buddha brick wall

Sukhothai, Thailand: dawn of happiness

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

If you have been following us on our Asia trip you know we have been exploring mostly cities up to now: Delhi, Jaipur and Bangkok. We were in desperate need for some winding down and we found the perfect place: Sukhothai Thailand.

Sukhothai buddha statue

In the middle of Thailand there are two towns: Old and New Sukhothai. Old Sukhothai holds the memory of what once (13th/14th century) was the capital of the Kingdom of Sukhothai (now the north of Thailand). Scattered in and around the village you will find great monuments (yes, you can also call them ruins). Some of them are indeed nothing more than a pile of old bricks (with all due respect), others still have impressive Buddha statues and with (lots of) imagination you can see the contours of the former temple that used to cover those statues.

Buddha statue flower


Buddha face

Slow travel in Sukhothai Thailand

In this part of our trip, Sukhothai was our ultimate slow travel destination. We booked a (for this destination lengthy) 3-night stay and took our time to relax and discover the village and its UNESCO historical park. We rented bikes (of course!) and made our way up to the temple ruins.

Biking tour Sukhothai

Elephant temple Sukhothai

Buddha elephant

I am sure some of you will find these ruins not worthy the trip, others will adore them. We had a great time where our kids created a sport out of taking pictures with each of the many Buddha statues….and there are a lot!

Family travel Thailand

Wat Chi Sum in Sukhothai

One of the best spots is Wat Chi Sum where a 12 meter (around 50 feet) high Buddha statue looks down on you. Just look at the hand, it’s huge!

Wat Chi Sum

Wat Chi Sum buddha

Even local kids on their school trip were amazed…..

Travel Thailand Sukhothai

7-Eleven in Thailand

This way of (slow) traveling is exactly what we were looking for in our trip. It’s heaven when you have time on your hand: biking through numerous streets and having a chat with people, learning the best spots to buy sweet snacks on the market or the best place to hang around watching locals gather in the evening. Our favorite hang out spot was the local 7-Eleven shop where in the early evening the Sukhothai youth arrived on their scooters to meet. I know it’s not the most authentic place you could think of, but it’s part of daily life in Thailand and it offers wonderful (and cheap) ice coffee!


7 Eleven Thailand

There is more than only the historical park in the old village of Sukhothai. Just outside the village you can bike amidst the rice fields. It’s a great scenery and if you still are not satiated you can even check out more temples and monuments! Or just stop at small village communities, sit down on a cheap plastic chair and enjoy a small snack freshly made alongside the road. Our funniest encounter was with a farmer who was controlling a fire in the middle of the forest…I guess he knew what he was doing.

Bush on fire

Sukhothai Thailand rice fields

The name Sukhothai translates as ‘The dawn of happiness’….

Buddha brick wall

Buddha flower

Next stop: Chiang Mai.

Are you interested to also read about Ayutthaya, the other ancient capital in Thailand? Just click here to read the full story and decide which one would be the best to visit.

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Thailand rondreis - Better Places - Unieke reiservaringen June 12, 2014 - 13:14

[…] een hoopje stenen, anderen zijn prachtige tempels met Boeddha’s. Lees meer over Sukhothai op de blog van Emiel van den […]

Bama August 17, 2012 - 04:02

I love how you managed to capture the colors of Sukhothai, Emiel! When I went to Thailand last year I didn’t have enough time to go to this place. But one day I will.

Emiel van den Boomen August 21, 2012 - 16:07

Thanks Bama, now that I look at the pictures again I do notice the color variety, especially in the details. Hopefully you will have the time to visit this great place.

Justin Mussler August 17, 2012 - 02:18

I think I am going to put together a book of all the 7-11’s we encounter as we travel. I am just catching up on your travels. Loving your take.

Emiel van den Boomen August 21, 2012 - 16:05

Thanks Justin! It’s amazing how many 7-11s they have around here..


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