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Getting There

By Plane -- From Bangkok, Bangkok Airways (www.bangkokair.com; tel. 02270-6699) operates at least one daily flight connecting Bangkok with Sukhothai through their private airport 27km (17 miles) from Sukhothai. Contact them at the Sukhothai airport (tel. 05564-7224). You’re not seeing things. Yes, that’s a heard of zebra and three giraffes roaming in pens near the landing strip. No, you’re not in Tanzania; there’s a small zoo next to the airport.

By Train -- The nearest rail station is in Phitsanulok. From there, you can connect by local air-conditioned bus, leaving hourly for New Sukhothai (trip time 1 hr.; fare 42B) from the intercity terminal on Highway 12.

By Bus -- Daily first-class, nonstop, air-conditioned buses leave from Bangkok at all hours of the day (trip time 7 hr.; fare 400B for VIP bus), departing from the Northern Bus Terminal (tel. 02936-2841). There are also more arduous second-class buses, but avoid them unless you’re desperate. Several air-conditioned buses leave daily from Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Terminal (tel. 05324-2664) for the 5.5-hour trip (fare 249B for second class with A/C).

Visitor Information

The TAT office in Sukhothai is at 130 Charot Withi Thong Rd. (tel. 05561-6228). ATMs abound in both New and Old Sukhothai. There’s a tourist police point (tel. 1155) opposite the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum. The main police station is at the junction of Singhawat and Si Intharathit roads. The Sukhothai Hospital (tel. 05561-1720) is at 2/1 Jarot Withithong Rd. The post office is down near the river on Nikhon Kasem Road.

Orientation

Sukhothai Historical Park (or muang kao, "old city") lies 12km (7 1/2 miles) east of New Sukhothai. Built along the banks of the Yom River, New Sukhothai has lots of accommodation options, though there are now several fancy places near the Historical Park and in the surrounding countryside. The selection is growing -- whether you're looking for laid-back cool or decked-out comfort, you're likely to find your desired niche. Si Satchanalai Historic Park, also along the Yom River, is 56km (35 miles) north of New Sukhothai.

Special Events

The Loy Krathong festival here is an exceptional spectacle. This 3-day festival is held on the full moon of the 12th lunar month (usually Nov). Crowds gather at rivers, klongs (canals), lakes, and temple fountains to drop small banana-leaf floats or krathong, bearing candles, incense, a flower, and a coin. As the krathong glides downstream, it symbolizes a letting go of the previous year's sins and unhappiness. Sukhothai celebrates with fireworks, traditional dancing, and a music and light show in the Historical Park; book early for VIP seats with the best view.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.