Sukhotai – Magical history in Thailand
The kingdom Sukhotai
It must have been somewhere halfway through our trip around Thailand that we arrived in the town of Phitsanoluk. Close to this city is the ancient capital of Siam, Sukhotai. Sukhotai is one of the best kept places of the ancient kingdom and the area has around 40 temple complexes spread out over an area of around 70 square kilometer.
Which – as you can imagine – makes walking around hard. So despite the fact that Tom really, really hates cycling, we decided to rent a bike to explore the area. It’s flat so I was fairly confident he would survive the exercise. You can rent bikes just about anywhere around the area but make sure you check the status of the bike before you take off. Some are barely fit to be called a bike.
Starting early in the day is also a good idea as the afternoon heat can be quite oppressing and despite the fact that you can find shade around the area, it is less crowded in the morning and it is cooler. Win win in my book.
Of all the temples I thought Wat Mahathat was the most beautiful. This used to be the spiritual center of the kingdom. From 1240-1270 the central chedi was build by Si Intharathit and in the centuries that followed, each king that came after built little bits and pieces of their own. Adding to the architecture of the place. Sukhotai was abandoned in the 16th century.
A couple of the buddha statues are so enormous, you can’t begin to imagine just how big, until you’re standing in front of one. The picture above is a good example. I think a human is roughly the size of that fingernail. I’m just saying…
Can you imagine how on earth they build this place? Centuries ago? Bizar to even think about it.
Close to the entrance you will find more than rental bikes too. There are a couple of foodstalls, a little market for souvenirs and a restaurant. The biggest crowds kind of stay around the entrance area and don’t venture out too far. There is a large group of people that just come in, take a picture and leave again. So moving away on your bike from the busy places you’ll find the rest of the area surprisingly empty.
Also check out the wikitravel page with more information on Sukhotai. There also couple of fun tips on it. (Is it me or is that new? A wiki travel? Quite handy though…
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