Check out these pictures and more – https://500px.com/galleries/sukhothai
We arrived in Sukhothai with enough time to find the guesthouse in Thailand with the hardest bed possible. Apparently a dollar won’t get you the same bed as the one we had at our hotel in Bangkok! Crazy. But this was especially bad, like we were sleeping on planks of wood. Of course, this was no problem for Collin since he has an ability to sleep while skydiving (most likely). Shannon and I, however, aren’t that gifted and got a good negative hours of sleep. Nothing a little bit of coffee the next day can’t fix! We had planned a day of riding bikes around the many ruins of Sukhothai the next day, leaving no temple untouched.
We woke up a little later than we planned on (like we always do) and set out to rent our bikes. Once we had our bikes rented we all agreed it was a good idea to begin the day at the Sukhothai museum so that instead of staring at rocks and buddhas we would be staring at rocks and buddhas with some historical context and significance. The museum was a fantastic idea. We could have spent half the day there but limited ourselves to a couple of hours so we would have time for all the temples. We learned about the Sukhothai empire along with the meaning of the many positions of the Buddha. With all of this knowledge stored in our short term memory we quickly embarked on our cycling route provided to us by Travlefish. Little note on Travelfish, a Southeast Asia backpacking website – we have planned our entire trip using mostly information from this website and it has been amazing.
In case you happen to be an expert on Sukhothai temples our route took us through Wat Chana Songkhram, Wat Mahathat, Wat Si Sawai, Wat Traphang Ngoen, Wat Sa Si, Wat Phra Phai Luang, Wat Si Chum, Wat Saphan Hin, Wat Khao Phra Bat Noi, Wat Chang Lom. For the other 99% we saw very impressive temples with some gigantic buddhas, all in ruins (which just makes them cooler). Whenever you experience ruins like this from an ancient people there is always the “How did they accomplish this” feeling. It was no different here as every different temple had some awe-inspiring qualities that not even modern technology could surpass. It was a rather easy bike ride that took us through the following beautiful sites.
While there weren’t many other tourists seeing the sites (we might’ve seen a couple dozen), it was when we went to the further section of the park that brought us the secluded and magical sites that we are always looking for. We were so thankful that we all agreed to give Shannon up as a sacrifice… from the top of the temple. Luckily we changed our minds last second.
Travelfish had an add on to the route if we had the gumption left to do it. Gumption became the word of the day when we read it in the morning. So after a day of adding gumption to all of our sentences we couldn’t not have the gumption to do it at the end of the day. We did in fact have all the gumption in the world and made it to the elephant temple right before it closed. What we learned is that elephants without their trunks look reaaaallly strange. Think a fat sheep mixed with ant eater, in the most creepy way.
I am not sure what Shannon enjoyed more – the beautiful ruins or the fact that she was finally able to ride a bike with no hands for an extended period of time. The last time we rented bikes Collin and I rode a lot of it with no hands and Shannon couldn’t really get it. This time she was, rather quickly, able to get the hang of it! I was very proud of her, but from her reaction you would think that she just won a marathon or something!
After we finished our bike ride we decided we deserve a fruit smoothie or, in my case, mango and sticky rice. We went to this small ‘restaurant’ and ordered Mango and Sticky Rice and a Pineapple. The guy working didn’t really know if he had any of those things (that was on the menu) but he complied and told us he would be right back. He crossed the street to the market and came back with a mango, sticky rice, and a pineapple. We watched him go to the market and buy these things. Then he came back and served it to us, with an unknown price tag. I don’t remember what he ended up charging us but it was at least 4 times of what he bought it for at the market. We couldn’t believe it and blamed Shannon, cause she somehow-maybe was the one that chose it.
Sukhothai in a ruinous-Buddha-shell
A day in Sukhothai is all that is needed, and is absolutely worth it. It is the perfect halfway stop between Bangkok and Chiang Mai so that there is no reason to have to endure a 12 hour bus ride. Spending a day seeing the wonders of old Thailand is probably the best bus stop I can think of. It’s also a nice little warmup for Angkor! Chiang Mai is our next stop and we are all excited about spending two days and one night with one of the coolest animals in the world!