From Ayutthaya I took the local bus six hours north to Sukhothai, the first capital of Thailand. At first glance the two towns appear similar, both were capitals and both have their fair share of temple ruins. But where Ayutthaya built a modern town around the ruin sites, Sukhothai built its "new city" about 15km away from the "old city", now also known as the Historical Park.
My guesthouse in the new city was great and each room had its own terrace in the garden, making it a good spot to take a day off and do a bit of research for my next few stops. It was also good to spend a couple of evenings with other backpackers that I met on the way from the bus station.
The old city is easily reached for 30 baht (55p) by Songthaew - a small truck or pickup convered into a bus, in this case with wood. It really was the slowest moving thing I've been in (so far!).
The Historical Park is the main attraction of Sukhothai and is very well kept. Cars are allowed within the park but most people see it on foot or bicycle (my choice) as it's far smaller and accessible than Ayutthaya.
I'd say the ruins are in better shape than Ayutthaya also and each has a description in English with a photo reconstruction of how the temple originally looked.
Moving on, Sukhothai has good connections to all of North Thailand including Nan, my next stop.
More Sukhothai photos on Flickr.