Sukhothai

Trip Start Feb 04, 2008
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41
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Trip End May 28, 2008


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Flag of Thailand  , Sukhothai,
Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday 9th May 2008

On Katie's recommendation we got a bus to Sukhothai so that we could see the ancient city, on our way South to Bangkok. Unusually it was a very uneventful journey and we found a guesthouse quite close to the ruins, ready to explore the following day.

Saturday 10th May 2008

We got up bright and early and caught the local bus (a truck with long wooden benches in the back) to the old part of Sukhothai. Half way there as the entire bus emptied we found out why it had been so crammed in the back. Today was the opening of the first supermarket in the area and people had come from far and wide on a pilgrimage to see this wonder! All the roads were gridlocked with traffic and the police stood in the road trying to control the never ending flow of cars and people.

Somehow we resisted the urge to go to the supermarket with them and when we arrived at the walls of the old city we hired some cool bikes to go exploring on. The huge historic area was once the capital of the first Thai kingdom and is so spectacular. As we cycled along we would turn a corner and suddenly be faced with a huge stone buddha or the crumbling columns of a grand old temple. The whole place just had a magic feeling but by far the most stunning was Wat Sri Chum. As you approach this rather plain square building you can just see the head of a gigantic Buddha peering at you through a narrow arch way. As you walk inside the scale of this sculpture takes your breath away and is made to seem even bigger by the tight space that it sits within.

After sweating a good few gallons in the insane heat we got back onto the truck with the herds of happy shoppers. This time though we were having to sit on top of one another as the bus kept stopping to let more and more and more people aboard.

In the afternoon we caught bus complete with bloomer pelmets to Bangkok as we (Gem) didn't want to miss our chance of going to the weekend market that everyone keeps telling us to go to. As we got closer and closer to the city the sky was getting darker and darker and eventually we were inside a massive electrical storm.

In our lonely planet book it says that the tuk-tuk drivers in Bangkok have "seemingly graduated from the Evil Knievel school of driving" and ours must have been top of the class! Normally when we get a tuk-tuk from a bus station to where we're staying it is usually just a 10 minute drive but since Bangkok is so huge we had to endure a half hour journey holding on for dear life as he zoomed across traffic on the soaking wet roads!

With grimaces frozen onto our faces we got out at the end of Khao San Road which is the tourist centre and was a sea of people, stalls and bright lights. Now we were really felt like we had arrived in Bangkok. On our way trying to find a guest house that feeling was cemented when we saw a passed out tramp with what looked like leprosy as he had no skin left and a prostitute sat on a stool on a street corner with one boob out! Welcome to Bangkok!
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