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Chris & Lindee see the world

Sukhothai

THAILAND | Thursday, 25 August 2011 | Views [344]

Beside the hand of Buddha

Beside the hand of Buddha

In Ayutthaya at 730 Wednesday morning we boarded a public (1st class) bus bound for Sukhothai in Northern Thailand...an experience in itself!  On boarding we were given water and a sweet bun, which we curiously devoured, having had to leave our hotel before breakfast started (no biggie really).  We travelled out through the outskirts of the city and before very long we were passing fields of rice and sugar...the countryside is very lush and green, although the locals tell us they haven't had so much rain this wet season, but there is still a lot of water around (by our standards anyway).  We had journeyed for about an hour when the bus pulled in to a rest stop...breakfast time, and with our 1st class ticket it was free...hmmm...what to eat...we think maybe just an egg and some rice, the other dishes don't look so breakfasty to us...and very meaty...hard to tell really.  20 minutes and back on the bus for another 3 or so hours.  On arrival in Sukhothai our bus driver had to navigate his way through flood waters.  Many parts of the region are under water at the moment.  Not from rain but water travelling down the river system.  They seem to take it all in their stride, even though many of those in low lying areas of town have water running through their properties.  They just lift everything high & wade through the water getting on with their lives.  A little bit of water doesn't stop them from driving their cars, buses, motorbikes or pushbikes to where they need to go...well, sometimes it might for a while, so they leave their transport and jump on something higher like a local bus.

Our accommodation at Lotus Village is very comfortable and after a rest & a quick Skype to the family, we ventured out to find some food.  First time around we had some fish cakes & chilli sauce and some deep fried corn (corn kernels squished together with some kind of paste/dough to make small bite sized balls and deep fried - yum). Completed a circuit around the block & decided that some more of these would do nicely, found some chicken and pork for Chris and some delicious sweets for me and we were set...dinner done!  Ready for an early night!

Today, Thursday, we headed out in time to catch the 10 o'clock local bus to the old city.  The Sukhothai Historical Site is a World Heritage Listed area and dates back almost 1000 years.  At that time it was the capital of Siam.  On arrival we hired bikes to get around the acres of temple ruins at the site.  Now, imagine that!  But certainly the easiest way to see as much as possible.  Within minutes of our arrival at one of the larger Wats we were "mobbed" by Thai school children on an excursion.  Their task?  To find English speaking tourists and practice speaking English and take a photo.  They did seem to understand my English rather than the Queenslander's drawl.  Now most of the tourists up this way at the moment have English as a second language...many Europeans!  So it wasn't long before another of these mini mobs got to us again!  I guess they have to learn somehow. 

The Historical Park is a very peaceful and beautiful place with loads of beautiful, SHADY trees and many ponds filled with fish, surrounding many different Wats, and doesn't seem to be too overrun by tourists.  We ventured slightly beyond the Park itself with the promise of finding a very large Buddha image.  And so we did.  I guess it would be at least 10 metres high and it's day would have been spectacularly beautiful...covered in gold.  There's not so much of the gold left now but still a very serene and beautiful image. 

After another session on our treddlies we arrived back at the entrance to the park & with great relief handed them back in...both of us with slightly sore bottoms and glad to be walking again.  A delicious lunch at a roadside cafe with veg fried rice, veg spring rolls, mango & sticky rice, lemonade for Chris &, of course, a coconut cocktail!  and we were ready to head back to town for a rest.  A quiet afternoon and evening we think and an early night ready for a road trip further north.

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