A couple weeks ago we went to an Ancient city in North-Central Thailand called Sukhothai. It’s about 5 hours by bus south of Chiang Mai and about another 5 hours from Bangkok. It is a historical site comprised of ruins of dozens of ancient temples and other buildings. It is amazing to be surrounded by bricks, rocks, and statues that were built almost 1000 years ago. Some of these buildings (and especially Buddha statues) are enormous.
According to Wikipedia, the city of Sukhothai was the capital of the Sukhothai kingdom (which makes up most of modern-day northern Thailand) in the 13th and 14th century, so it’s pretty old. The city is really divided into 2 cities now. The “old city” and the “new city”. The old city is mainly just the historical site/ruins and the new city is basically hotels, restaurants and bus/cab companies to accommodate tourists. They’re situated 12 km (that’s about 7 miles for those keeping score at home) apart so you have to take a bus for about a dollar to get to and from.
The historical park itself is incredible. Like I said, there are tons and tons of ancient buildings in various states of repair (or disrepair). Many of them have undergone some sort of renovation over the centuries while others have been left to slowly crumble away. I’m not sure how they make the distinction of what gets repaired and what does not but it was humbling in a way to witness all this history. You can kind of see into several different time periods at once by looking at buildings that have been maintained consistently, some that may have been repaired a few hundred years ago and others that have never been touched since they were built.
Just about all these buildings roofs and walls have rotted away and many of the foundations as well so everything is outside even though when it was built it was all enclosed. Most of the foundations are gone except those that were built of elevated stone or bricks so there is grass overgrown on the ground of what was the floor of these temples.
The whole city is very peaceful and serene. The natural and the man-made have found a balance in a way that we don’t usually see. Well-kept gardens and tightly-cut grass grow right next to monstrous centuries-old trees with tangled roots and branches. And all this is taking place just a few feet away from a crumbling 800 year -old temple.
We rented bicycles to get around the city since many things are spread out. We biked over to a less touristy section and stumbled on a herd of cows grazing next to the road. There was a man on a motorcycle herding them and he stopped so we could have an impromptu bovine photoshoot.
We were at the park for two days. The first day the weather was cloudy but not too hot. Then all of a sudden it started raining. And I mean Thailand-rain we hid out under a big tree for a while and then some fire ants started attacking us so we had to bike over to a little pavilion. We hung out with a random German couple and some stray dogs while we waited out the storm.
Day-two was nicer in the morning. Very sunny though we both got a little sunburned. In the afternoon it got cloudy and wreaked havoc on my phone camera. Lots of the photos I got that day are washed out and glare-y. We did see a giant Buddha though.
Anyway, here are some more photos.
Again, sorry for the delay. I’ll try to be better about posting things on time. Some things to look forward to: Our (not so new anymore) new apartment; a collection of weird/bizarre Chiang Mai art, statues, etc; a trip to Ankgor Wat (we’ll be going in a few weeks); a trip to an Elephant camp (again, going in a few weeks when some friends come to visit).