With not a smallest bit of sadness, we jumped on board our first Thai train. As we had booked an express train to Philologist it was all new (this term should be used loosely when talking about transport in Thai land- think after 2000) train with air conditioning and a free meal- bonus! We then got a bus from the station to Sukhothai for 43p. It was the local rush hour, so it made for an amusing, slight squished journey full of locals.
After getting off the bus, it immediately became obvious that we were going to enjoy this destination a whole lot more than our last one. The people were more friendly, the scenery was beautiful and our hotel had a bed that didn’t feel like you were sleeping on a iron board.
We had two nights booked, and with an incredibly hectic and not so enjoyable stay in Lampang, we felt we needed a night to do nothing and chill out. We made our way to the night market five minutes down the road, and enjoyed drinking some coconuts and eating some local food.
Our main reason for visiting Sukhothai, apart from breaking up the journey to Bangkok, was to visit the Sukhothai Historical Park. We hopped on a makeshift bus outside our hotel (which felt more like hitch hiking) and made our way to the national park. We didn’t want to rush our day here, so we deiced to rent bicycles and take our time. The national park was a lot like Angkor Watt in its set up, with different sections of temples being spread out in different locations. But this made it easy for us to create a route of the sections we wanted to see and didn’t.
When visiting these sights, we also try to head to a museum first, because this normally allows us to have a better idea and understanding of what we are looking at when we arrive at a Temple or a statue, otherwise its just an impressive bit of stone. We also decided to rent out our little bicylces again, this time we had made sure that there were no hills :).
Although so much of the architecture had been destroyed, it doesn’t make it any less impressive just how large and sculpted these buildings are. Emperors used to live here, with giant audience rooms of red and gold that would have impressed even the Queen of England, and although it takes some looking, you really get the feeling of how impressive this city would have been in its prime.
The last stop of the day took us to Wat Si Chum (the enclosed Buddha) built in the 14th century by the King of that time. The Buddha is 11 meters wide, and 15 meters in height. What makes this buddha most interesting, is that it is completely enclosed by walls and shielded from the outside world. It made for a very peaceful moment inside the walls, as it also shielded from the blistering heat.
After our day of exploring the National Park, it was time to return back to hotel and grab an early night in preparation for a journey to the capital of Thailand – BANGKOK