Sukhotai….Return of the Chedi…

15 Feb

 

Sukhotai (39)

And so off to the bus, on a tuk tuk that doesn’t seem to be going to make it. Perhaps it’s the three of us on board. Perhaps it’s the weight of my pack. But it doesn’t sound very well…(a diagnosis which is further reinforced when it nearly stops going up hill, and finally confirmed when the driver takes a spanner to the engine after delivering us to the bus stop).

And so off to Sukhotai, another of Thailand’s ancient capitals. The landscape qhizzes past (no, really, we found a decent road) and we head north across flat and featureless landscape revealing tiny settlements and larger towns, industrial complexes and paddy fields. And yet pagodas and temples litter the landscape like forgotten toys.

Sukhotai bus station is a typically Thai bus station, full of frantic selling of food, tuk-tuk drivers wanting to take you anywhere, everywhere, and we’re grateful for the arrival of our hotel owner, who seems to have studied at the John Inman school of English. The hotel is really nice though – with lots of fish in the pond, and (tragically) lots of mosquitoes in my bedroom. It’s odd, though – there’s Tescos in Thailand, so sitting in the middle of Asia putting Tesco chillii sauce on my breakfast just seems, well, odd.

Sila Hotel (1)Sukhotai Hotel (4)

The tuk tuks here have been replaced with a new model – more like a motorbike, the driver sits behind the passengers instead. I’m thinking of writing a thesis on the development of the tuk tuk in modern Thailand – although, probably, someone else already has.

New Sukhotai (2)

The town yields its usual night time street market, selling every kind of food imaginable, and some that, frankly, I could not imagine. To continue my quest to bring you the very best in Asian signage, I bring you this glorious example (as recommended in Lonely Planet)

New Sukhotai (1)

And then there’s aerobics in the park. In Thai, of course – it’s strangely compelling to listen to.

Onto a little local bus in the morning – the old town of Sukhotai is about 14km west of the new town, and these old style buses will take you there for around 20 baht.

Sukhotai Bus (3)Sukhotai Bus (4)

The old town is a fascinating jumble of old temples, lakes and monuments – hiring a bike is the easiest way to get round, although I’m still saddle sore from riding round Ayutthaya. Oh well – at least my bike has ‘Turbo Charming’ written on the side. It must be mine then….

Turbo Charming

 

Sukhotai (25)Sukhotai (32)Sukhotai (35)Sukhotai (44)Sukhotai (49)

In some of these, you can quite clearly see the Hindu influences too . . Thailand is actually a melting pot of ancient cultures including those from Burma and Cambodia.

Sukhotai Hindu model (3)Sukhotai Hindu model (4)

We decide to bike up the hill, too – there are some temples outside the walls of the old town. We have to pay a fee to leave the town, though – the first time I have had to pay to actually LEAVE somewhere. Out in the fields are more temples, more chedi, and more Buddhas – although the climb up to one of the old temples does give beautiful views over the fields and town below. Not really best achieved in the heat of the day, so an iced coffee is in order.

Outside Sukhotai (2)Outside Sukhotai (4)

A ride round the rest of the town, and back on the bus… mission accomplished – and although these bicycle seats are much more padded, I still have a very sore rump…

… which means that the decision to take the bikes out in the morning for a ride round New Sukhotai is unfathomable – and I spend most of the ride standing up. There’s not as much cushioning on me as there used to be, you know….but there’s local colour to be found everywhere

Ride Round Sukhotai (1)Ride Round Sukhotai (2)

Advertisements

One Response to “Sukhotai….Return of the Chedi…”

  1. Carole February 15, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Have you tried “kick a poo – Joy juice” yet 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: