This past weekend I traveled north to visit the historical kingdom of Sukhothai.
Since Thailand celebrated the Queen’s birthday last Friday, and everyone was trying to get out of town, getting to the Bangkok bus station on Thursday night was a snafu of epic proportions. 😮
I spent four hours getting from work to the bus station, two hours in traffic, one hour on the metro, and one hour of walking, which was actually quite enjoyable, since it revived my sleeping bum. 😛
When I finally rocked up to the Bangkok Bus Terminal, there were SO many people camped out waiting to travel, it looked like a reenactment of Ellis Island…at least in our case we had KFC. 😛
To eliminate any stress and/or disappointment from sold-out seats, I conveniently pre-purchased my bus ticket on the website 12GOAsia. 😀
Anyway, I spent 7 hours on the bus to Sukhothai, mostly watching downloaded episodes of Making a Murderer, and arrived in town just before dawn.
For two nights I stayed at Sila Resort in new Sukhothai, which offers single private rooms for only 6 USD.
Sukhothai is divided into old and new town, where the majority of hotels are in new town and the historical sites are in old town.
Since the towns are separated by 8 miles of barren roadway, I chose to take a bus to the Sukhothai Historical Park, for less than 1 USD.
Sukhothai Historical Park
Sukhothai translates to “Dawn of Happiness” and this 13th century kingdom is considered the foundation of the Thai nation.
The ruins of Sukhothai consist of almost 200 temples, spread out over 30 square miles, and for its historical significance is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wat Si Sawai is the oldest temple in Sukhothai, originally built as a Hindu shrine, and later adapted for Buddhist faith. I spent hours walking around the historical site, feeling the tranquil vibe of these grounds, surrounded by the beauty of a tropical wilderness. I admired all the towering Buddha statues, displaying such elegance and grace, delicate hands flared outward, as if preparing for a traditional Thai dance. The Buddha statues all exuded feelings of serenity and contentment. ☮In fact the most impressive Buddha, Phra Achana, means “he who is not frightened.”
This Buddha is enveloped inside Wat Sri Chum, and sits prominently at over 50-feet tall. As you enter through a narrow passageway, you are confronted with this fearless towering Buddha, hands decorated in delicate gold leaf, outstretched to summon the goddess of Earth.
In fact, according to legend, the invading Burmese army fled from Sukhothai after wandering across this striking temple. Overall, I found this to be an impressive historical site, and definitely worth the trip for both Buddhists and foreign tourists alike. 😀
The historical park is divided into three sections, each section charges a 3 USD entry fee.
What Else to Do in Sukhothai
Other than the historical ruins of Sukhothai, I enjoyed a day wandering around the new town as well. There is a strong Chinese influence in this province, which is noted in their architecture, and the citizens here all seemed very laid-back and welcoming to visitors.
In fact, when walking by this wat, a monk flagged me down to show me around the property. I felt he really just wanted to practice his English, and was happy to explain the layout of Sukhothai using a pen to draw a map on his hand. ❤
While in Sukhothai, I ate some traditional Thai dishes, like this noodle soup with pork and fish balls.
I was also able to try a dish unique to Sukhothai, thin rice noodles with pork and green beans, topped with peanuts, fried noodles, coriander, and chili, as well as, a ladle of salty pork broth. 😀Anyway, that wraps up another relaxing weekend getaway. After two days in Sukhothai, I boarded a bus and made my way back to Bangkok.
Now this was sadly my last weekend getaway in Thailand, as I will soon begin a new journey of travel outside of Thailand. Stay tuned to hear all about. Until then. Take care and enjoy the week. 😀