Northern Thailand is the antithesis of Phuket and the Andaman Sea islands. The subtle aggravations of the tourist-dominated south seemed to dissipate with the heat and humidity. Gone were the beach-combers. The stifling heat was replaced with a dryer warmth and an occasional breeze. The pace felt infinitely slower, and the people exuded an inner-peace and happiness. I learned the Thai phrase “Sabai Sabai,” which translates roughly into easy, easy.
Our first stop heading north via public bus was Sukhothai. We rented bikes and spent the day leisurely cruising around the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sukhothai was the original capital of Thailand’s first kingdom. Our guide, Mr. Yoo, explained to us that the temple structures or stupas were a combination of Thai style (which they call Sri Lanka style, as that is where the style originated. You also see these throughout Southeast Asia) and Khmer style.
If you are traveling around northern Thailand, Sukhothai should be on your itinerary. The best way to see the ruins complex and surrounding area is via bicycle. (The only other way to explore the area is by foot, as cars are not allowed inside the complex, and the area is so spread out that it is much easier to see all the sites with a bike). The serene bike ride enhances the mystical, meditative experience of exploring the ancient Buddhist and Hindu complex.
If you have ever seen the movie The Never Ending Story, does this Buddha remind you of the scene when Atreyu walks through gate guarded by two sphinxes, one on each side, with lasers shooting out of their eyes??
Everyone was preparing for the yearly Loi Krathong festival kick-off that night. Check out tomorrow’s post for scenes from the festival.
Thanks for stopping by!