Sukhothai actually consists of two parts, the new city and the old city, some 14 kilometres to the west. After arriving in the new city in the afternoon, I didn't hesitate but headed directly to the old city, even though I knew it would be insufficient to see it all. Half an hour in a songthaew took me directly to the entrance of Sukhothai historic park. While the sun was going down, I had a great view of Wat Mahathat, one of the best preserved complexes of the park. The main temple has a lotus shape and there are several Buddhas in Ceylonese style. There are still many beautiful carvings in a remarkable good condition, and apart from admiring the wat (or temple) itself, it is a fine place to just spend some time.
Actually, when I came back very early the next morning, I directly went to this same place. It was great to sit and watch the sun rise over Wat Mahathat and Sukhothai, seeing yellow, pink and orange appear on the large Buddhas and the temples, seeing the birth of shadows on the temple floors, with a strong sound of birds singing around me. I took my bicycle again, and cycled to Wat Sri Sawai, a Hindu shrine turned Buddhist temple, another remarkable wat in this huge complex. Then, I decided to cycle right to another, very peculiar place of Sukhothai outside the old city walls. Wat Si Cham houses an enormous Buddha that can be seen even before you enter the site.
The closer I came, the higher the Buddha appeared, and when I reached its base, it dwarfed me completely, only its hand with slender fingers being just smaller than me. Behind the statue, there are steps leading up to the head. This Buddha is also called the talking Buddha, and according to legend, a Thai king once assembled his troops in front of this Buddha and made it talk to inspire his soldiers. Probably, someone from behind the head did the mysterious talking. From here, it the Wat Phrai Phai Luang was close, a complex that actually predates the Sukhothai period and has Khmer elements. It is in a worse shape than most other temples but still worth the trip. Leaving the small island of this wat took me back to the main road and back to old Sukhothai.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Sukhothai (Thailand). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Sukhothai. Read more about this site.