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Visiting Sukhothai Historical Park

Sukhothai was once part of the Khmer kingdom, when in 1238 two Thai chieftains decided to establish a Thai-ruled kingdom around this city. This kingdom quickly expanded with smaller kingdoms, leading to the first Thai nation. Later, the city lost its power and finally had to submit to the rising power of Ayutthaya, the new Thai capital. What remains is a beautiful historical park, with many temple ruins and large Buddha statues.

Large buddhas and stupas in Sukhothai Historical Park

The tuktuk brings us to the busstation in Chang Mai, from where we take the bus to New Sukhothai. This is the place where most of the tourists stay in guesthouses, in order to visit the ruins of Sukhothai Historical Park. The new city is not very special, but the guesthouse we choose, J&J, is clean and welcoming, which makes for a pleasant stay.

More Temples

Woman fishing in a pondThe following morning we head for Sukhothai Historical Park. We share the songthaew with a lot of locals, and are dropped of near the edge of the old city. There we can rent a few bikes and off we go. The first temple we see is immediately the most important one. Large stupas, Buddha's, and the lot on an enormous terrain with ponds and moats. We wander around, in the meantime noticing an old woman standing in one of the ponds, fishing with a large net. The ruins are all very nice, although in decay. This holds in fact for the rest of the temples in the central zone as well, although some of the statues are well preserved, or restored.

We hop on our bikes to see the eastern zone as well. Here is an impressive temple with a huge Buddha which can be seen from a distance through a small opening. We end the tour with visiting a temple in Angkor style, although it is not as impressive as in Angkor Wat. Because of the heat, and a bit of temple fatigue, we head back to New Sukhothai after we had lunch.

Buddha Blessing

Monks praying to bless our guesthouseThe guesthouse we are staying exists exactly three years, and for a celebration a large number of Buddha monks arrive to give their blessing. The personnel is busy all morning with food preparations. Then the monks arrive, who sit down and start praying, with everybody around them. We are invited to watch as well, and to make pictures. When they're done praying, the receive gifts and go to the restaurant to have lunch. To finalize their visit, they walk around spraying holy water before they leave, and it is our time to have lunch.

In the afternoon we take a look in town. Because of the rain in the mountains, the river has flooded and the streets are under water. We are looking for ways to keep our feet dry, but the locals don't seem to bother. Flooding river sukhothaiThey are used to this phenomenon, which occurs a couple of times during each rainy season. Yet, it is a strange sight, seeing the river flow over the river banks, that are supported by sacks of sand.

The temple ruins of Sukhothai Historical Park are beautiful, and not spoiled by many visitors. Other than that, the new city has not much to offer, although in the right guesthouse, you can have a great time here.

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