If you have been following us on our Asia trip you know we have been exploring mostly cities up to now: Delhi, Jaipur and Bangkok. We were in desperate need for some winding down and we found the perfect place: Sukhothai.
In the middle of Thailand there are two towns: Old and New Sukhothai. Old Sukhothai holds the memory of what once (13th/14th century) was the capital of the Kingdom of Sukhothai (now the north of Thailand). Scattered in and around the village you will find great monuments (yes, you can also call them ruins). Some of them are indeed nothing more than a pile of old bricks (with all due respect), others still have impressive Buddha statues and with (lots of) imagination you can see the contours of the former temple that used to cover those statues.
In this part of our trip, Sukhothai was our ultimate slow travel destination. We booked a (for this destination lengthy) 3-night stay and took our time to relax and discover the village and its UNESCO historical park. We rented bikes (of course!) and made our way up to the temple ruins.
I am sure some of you will find these ruins not worthy the trip, others will adore them. We had a great time where our kids created a sport out of taking pictures with each of the many Buddha statues….and there are a lot!
One of the best spots is Wat Chi Sum where a 12 meter (around 50 feet) high Buddha statue looks down on you. Just look at the hand, it’s huge!
Even local kids on their school trip were amazed…..
This way of (slow) traveling is exactly what we were looking for in our trip. It’s heaven when you have time on your hand: biking through numerous streets and having a chat with people, learning the best spots to buy sweet snacks on the market or the best place to hang around watching locals gather in the evening. Our favorite hang out spot was the local 7-Eleven shop where in the early evening the Sukhothai youth arrived on their scooters to meet. I know it’s not the most authentic place you could think of, but it’s part of daily life in Thailand and it offers wonderful (and cheap) ice coffee!
There is more than only the historical park in the old village of Sukhothai. Just outside the village you can bike amidst the rice fields. It’s a great scenery and if you still are not satiated you can even check out more temples and monuments! Or just stop at small village communities, sit down on a cheap plastic chair and enjoy a small snack freshly made alongside the road. Our funniest encounter was with a farmer who was controlling a fire in the middle of the forest…I guess he knew what he was doing.
The name Sukhothai translates as ‘The dawn of happiness’….
Next stop: Chiang Mai.
Are you interested to also read about Ayutthaya, the other ancient capital in Thailand? Just click here to read the full story and decide which one would be the best to visit.