Sukhothai

Long post, epic place.

The mini track from Phitsanulok, just 45 miles away
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A truck-load of young monks beside us at a stop light, cheery
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Founded in 1238, Sukhothai was the capital of the Thai empire for approximately 140 years. It was 1) the spiritual center of the kingdom 2) militarily fortified against foreign intruders and 3) a ‘safe zone’ protecting traders.

It’s a UNESCO site. From their web page:

Under royal patronage, Buddhism flourished and many impressive monasteries were constructed of brick covered with carved stucco, illustrating the idealized beauty and the superhuman characteristics (mahapurisalakkhana) of the Lord Buddha and His Teachings. It is from the remains of these religious monuments that today we best know and appreciate the achievements of the people of the Historic Town of Sukhothai

LInk to sukhothai wiki

‘Old Sukhothai’ looks like this
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From a temple self-tour point of view, we read it’s best to divide touring it into two groups, those inside the walls/moats and those outside.

The first day, outside. We could ride the small roads conveniently built through them. The first temple, Wat Saphan Hin was on a hilltop. The path was on elevated stones. We’d just arrive into town in full gear, were overheating as usual and weren’t going up there, forget it
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This unmarked one a little further
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Then Wat Phra Bat Noi. The temples have individual significance and a separate story. But until we understand more about them, we’ll leave the posts just images for a while, no explanations
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Not as steep or as far, so up we went. At the top there was a helpful plaque showing the original temple
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Which now looks like this
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Close by, in the rock, a large snake had shed its skin
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The head
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There were attendants at the bottom of the path to each temple. Sawa deee
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Wat Chedi Ngarm
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Another view
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A large beautiful mushroom here
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Wat Mangkon
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These are terrible photographs, and they get worse. Something went wacky with the color, contrast and focus and we didn’t notice for two days, so picking the best of a bad bunch.

There are figures in tress regularly. Not only here, but around most of the temples we’ve visited
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Time for lunch
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Wat Phra Yun
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Couldn’t see the name of this one (on a concrete path just exited by scooters)
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It was beside a pond
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Looking it for fish, we found thousands of little glass fish about an inch long, almost completely transparent except for white dots for eyes, and another dot in the dorsal area
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Afternoon rain coming, so headed back for the day
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That evening at dinner, this bug landed on my table. The waiter had a little freak out when I tried to keep it there. Apparently it jets a stream of acidic fluid which burns and leaves permanent scars. I tried to Google image it unsuccessfully
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All the above temples are outside of the moated and fortified town. The following are inside. A sat image
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The first thing was figuring out whether we were going to walk it or bicycle it, which is what most people do. But we’re in luck, it turns out that you can purchase a scooter permit for the day, or if you say sawa deee nicely a HP2 permit. There’s a great path through the park, so we bro’d with the scooters and rode around the sweaty pedallers
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The moats had huge quantities of lilies, which I guess were night-blooming. Must be a beautiful sight, but the park is closed at night…
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At Mahathat
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The grounds are immaculate
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Accidental selfie. Not ATGATT
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Wat Si Sawai
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Plaque estimate of the original, with glare
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Wat Sa Si
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Oh oh, rain coming
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Wat Sorasak
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A net caster at one of the ponds. He was ok with my watching
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Yay!
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Then he did a strange thing: he swam around the perimeter of the net, diving down to do something. It took him maybe 10 minutes to do whatever he was doing
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At the end, after he’d brought his net in, he was dissapointed he hadn’t caught anything. Not for himself, but because I’d been there and had invested the time in his activity. How do I know that? Had a parallel discussion with a knowledgable friend about this, more later
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Fish from earlier in his day
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Comments

2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Stellar! Great post that rekindled so many great memories of when we were there in 99. Can’t wait to get back there on the bikes. From Sukhothai north in Thailand I still consider to be the best place overall that I have ever visited. Just amazing.

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