The distance between Bangkok and Chiang Mai is roughly around nine hours by car, by public transport it works out being maybe around eleven hours. Most travellers stop off at either Ayutthaya or Sukhothai to spend a few days before they jump back on the bus. Most of us though don’t really know which one is better, so we’ve tried to decipher between the two. Here’s our ‘Ayutthaya vs Sukhothai – Which One?’ guide.
An Hour from Bangkok
This place is extremely close to Bangkok which makes it that little bit easier for people who aren’t too fond of driving for hours from Place to place.
Tip: A mini van from Chattuchak terminal costs 60 Baht and runs frequently throughout the day.
Temples are Riding Distance.
Most temples are scattered around the city in a reasonable distance so you can get some exercise whilst you explore. Our favourite temples were Wat Mahathat and Wat Phu Khao Thong.
Tip: Wat Phu Khao Thong is lesser known and not visited frequently by tourists.
Boat Tours to Major Temples
Our hostel offered a boat trip which circled around three major temples at sunset. This was actually a major highlight for us as we met some incredibly fun travellers whilst being whizzed around the river. The temples were Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Na Phra Men.
Tip: Most hostels, hotels and travel agents should offer this boat trip for something along 150 – 200 Baht.
Bike Hire is Everywhere.
We wouldn’t recommend walking around each temple as it could take you all day. Bike hires are located around the city ranging from 30 Baht to 100 Baht. It’s a cheap way of exploring whilst also keeping you fit.
Hard to Do a day Trip From Bangkok.
One of the best parts about this place is that there is so much to see! If you’re not staying overnight you might struggle trying to fit everything in one day. Our advice if you don’t have this option, the best way is to book a tour which circles Ayutthaya Historical Park and takes you back to Bangkok.
Roads aren’t Bicycle Friendly.
Whether you’re an avid cyclist or just someone who rides from time to time, there isn’t much of a system in terms of cyclists in Ayutthaya. Just make sure you wear a helmet, indicate clearly when turning and be aware of everyone around you when on the road.
Not Many Markets.
If you love shopping then this isn’t the place for you as we couldn’t really find any markets around except from the local ones selling vegetables, cleaning supplies and food.
Tip: If you plan to visit in December there is the Ayutthaya Culture & Heritage festival on for one whole week. Here you will find circus like performances, food being exchanged for sea shells and there are historical presentations where you can learn all about Ayutthaya’s culture and history.
Bicycle Hire – Roads are Bicycle Friendly
NO CARS ALLOWED IN SUKHOTHAI PARK
Unlike Ayutthaya, the roads here are super great for cyclist to roam around and explore at a reasonable price too, ranging from 30 Baht for days rental.
Sukhothai Historical Park is Walking Distance.
IF YOU DIDN’T WANT TO CYCLE
To get around the Historical park is incredibly easy offering options of either cycling or walking as each of the temples are within walking distance of each other. You could easily bring a picnic and spend a day here.
Tip: Tour groups arrive from 9am so if you want to get some good photos arrive early! We got their at 6:30am and missed all the crowds.
Range of Markets.
Close to our Hostel were the night markets selling all types of traditional Thai cuisine. A few streets from there was the local vegetable market where you can buy pretty much any fresh fruit, veg or poultry. Every Saturday they hold a Market on 1-2-3 Sukhothai 64000 where they sell everything from food, plants, clothes, souvenirs and herbal skincare.
Tip: Bring your own bags to help with reducing plastic.
Lesser Known Compared to Ayutthaya
One point we realised what that Sukhothai is the lesser known out of the two in all the guide books. You may find it hard to read about all the good things Sukhothai has to offer compared to Ayutthaya.
For all those bloggers out there, If you plan on visiting early morning, the only transport option is Tuk Tuk from the New City. If you prefer the cheaper options there is buses which run frequently. There are also many mosquitos at that time so make sure you bring some repellent whilst you wait.
Tip: Old blue buses leave the New City from 6am every 30 minutes.
Most Accommodation is in Sukhothai, New City .
Accommodation is cheaper in The New City, which is good but you will have to pay for travel. Depending on if you’re here to explore we would vote for The New City. For social reasons we recommend staying in The Old City where the more touristic places are located.
Anyone looking for their next accommodation, follow this link.
We hope you enjoyed our post and if you decided Ayutthaya vs Sukhothai – Which One? Let us know in the comments below. Alternatively check our other posts from Thailand.
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T & L