A tranquil run in a lovely clean park past several famous Wats and ruins.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Terrain: Pavement
- Length: 2.5km loop (approx.)
- Flow: Excellent
- Scenery: An open park with views of ruins and giant Buddha statues – very impressive
- Safety Issues: None
- Bathrooms: Yes
- Drinking water: No
- Transit Access: n/a
- Parking: Yes
- Night Access: until 9pm (may be earlier at some times of year) – when we were there it was beautifully lit up at night
- Special Features: Giant Buddha statues and amazing ruins of the old city of Sukhothai
- Nearby Attractions: You are in it. There is not much else nearby.
I loved Sukhothai from the moment I arrived. It has a tranquil calmness about it that just drew me in. It is very clean, and the guesthouses all have lovely landscaping. It is quite out of the way (off the beaten path as they say) and not overrun with tourists even though there is little else to keep this little hamlet going.
During the time we were visiting there was no entry charge for the historic park. So I didn’t have to stop to pay. This was due to special mourning for the King who died in October 2016, and by January 2017 I think you will have to pay again. Its not expensive but you need to bring a few BHT to buy your entrance ticket.
It is very hot in Sukhothai in the afternoon, so I started out early around 6:15am. I had confirmed that the Historic Park opens at 6am. It was a cool 18C when I started and without the sun blazing in the sky it was cool enough. I ran down the street from my hotel, nothing exciting but quiet and safe enough. I ran through the busy center of town – which was not very busy at that hour and on into the historic park.
The paths are paved and and well maintained making it easy to run throughout the park; it is also perfectly flat. At this early hour it was virtually empty. I had expected to see locals exercising as I had seen in other parts of Thailand (and Asia), but I didn’t see anyone. There are a couple of loops inside the park and another one just outside the park proper. I ran the inside loops, zigzagging here and there to see the various sites, mostly temples and Buddha statues that dot the landscape.
There is some shade from large beautiful trees along the paths at some points, but in the early morning light that was not an issue anyways. There are several ponds with beautiful pink flowers that are open in the morning (I noticed they were all closed up when I return with my family in the afternoon).
The quiet, open park setting with the huge Buddha statues seemed almost surreal, especially in my solitude. As I turned the corner and face back toward my hotel I caught the orange rays of sunrise – truly one of those magical moments.
I figure the inner loop is about 2.5km around but I zigzagged up and down enough middle paths to add a little but more. Combined with my run to and from the park from my hotel I had a nice 6.5km run (it was only two days after I had run the Chiang Mai Half Marathon and I didn’t want to push myself 😉 ).
I did notice one bathroom and it was open and free.
On my way back I saw the monks doing their early morning rounds for alms. This is such a quintessential park of Thailand.
I also saw one runner on the road as I neared my hotel, but she could have just as easily been a tourist as a local.
I really loved Sukhothai. It only takes a day to see the ruins and we never found a good restaurant, but I still think it’s worth a stop. Though it’s out of the way, (and maybe that’s how it keeps its charm) it has such a special mellow feel and is such a nice change of pace from busy Ayuthaya and Chiang Mai. I also found the ruins here more impressive than Ayuthaya.
I am not sure at what times they light up the main ruins, but it was truly magical. I would highly recommend figuring this out and going out to see it. I did not run at night, and I am not sure there is enough light to do so safely, but had a wonderful walk that I will never forget! I would post a picture, but there is no way to capture the amazing night lighting with the camera I have, so you will have to go see for yourself!