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Sukhothai means “dawn of happiness”. Founded in 1238, it is about 427 km north of Bangkok. Sukhothai was the capital of the Thai Empire for approximately 140 years. As of 2014, 193 temples have been excavated and partly reconstructed.   Sukhothai occupies an area of 6,596 km2. The historic town of Sukhothai and related areas were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.

Sukhothai is 12 km west of the modern city of New Sukhothai.

Old Sukhothai is a quiet town with almost no hotels. Most visitors stay in New Sukhothai. Others stay in the nearby city of Phitsanulok, which has numerous hotels and restaurants and is on the rail line between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.