The past six days and 420 kilometers were all made worth it with today’s visit to Sukothai. Everyone said we should see Sukothai. I plotted our route to include Sukothai. But, and I’m almost ashamed to admit it, I really didn’t know what we were coming to see. I’ve been so busy trying to avoid camping and find “resorts” a comfortable 75 km apart from each other, that I didn’t know why we were coming here. But, yesterday at 4:00 pm we finally “arrived.”
After a cooling and relaxing swim in our hotel pool, finishing my book Peony by Pearl S. Buck, which, by the way, is a great read about some Jewish Chinese of which I never knew there were any, uploading recent pictures to my laptop, and sharing a Chiang beer with Eric, I finally got around to reading some background and history of Sukothani.
Here are some key facts:
It was founded around the middle of the 13th century A.D. The ruler at that time was very intelligent and a good city planner because he constructed some great canals for irrigation and water for the citizens. It has some amazing temples with some great big Buddahs. There were some great kilns that could glaze pottery very high temperatures (900-1200C). It was the capital of Thailand (then called Siam) 700 years ago. It was the original start of Sukothai architecture. It is a World Heritage Site.
I read all the information aloud to Eric, plus about five pages more. I also perused though the pictures on the web site which you can do, too, and save me the uploading time. Then, I checked out the Cycling Sukothani website I’d seen advertised on a poster in the bar of our “hostel” and memorized the cycling tour’s route thus feeling all smug that I’d save the $25 tour fee but also had a good plan. In other words, I felt prepared and informed.
This morning everything worked as planned. As a matter of fact, while cycling along one of the ancient canal roads we came upon the cycle tour group that, according to the website, departed at 8:00 am. Go us…we got an extra hour of sleep.
What I wasn’t prepared for the how amazing, how big, how well-preserved, and how beautiful Sukothai Historic Park really is. I was awestruck. Ancient trees, calm moats, fragrant jasmine, blue skies, red brick against green foliage making for great photos…Apparently, Eric was to because he took over 300 pictures of the park.
There were many parts of the ancient city that I liked but my favorite had to be the Buddah statue called “Subduing Mara.” I was thinking that I was subdued by the beauty, I should be more subdued and relaxed and patient with my cycling buddy, and I will work on being more subdued in the future.
In a nutshell, Sukothani is worth the visit. It’s fantastic.