3 months had gone by, 3 months of pure bliss touring around the south of Thailand. It really is something else spending time doing nothing in such a beautiful part of the world! But, we figured maybe it’s time to see the other half of Thailand, the higher up northern mountain part. As much as I didn’t want to leave the beach life, we’ve heard some great things about Northern Thailand and knew we’d probably kick ourselves in the future if we never made it. So, off to Chiang Mai we go!
But, the travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is a 12 -15 hour train ride. Something that didn’t sound so great to us. We figured why go through that when we can break it up with a stop in between? After some research in our Footprints Guidebook, we decided that Sukothai’s Old City sounded like a great sight to see as a stop off point to Chiang Mai.
The city is a popular tourist destination because it borders the ruins of the ancient city of Sukhothai, which was the Thai capital during the 13th Century A.D. The province’s temples and monuments have been restored well and Sukhothai Historical Park – a place with numerous sites of historical interest has been made into a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our Footprints guidebook also told us the Old City was divided into 5 zones, each with it’s own entrance fee. (30 – 40 baht) Or, if you wish to visit each zone you can get a ‘total’ ticket for 150 baht. Then on top of these fees you pay extra for whatever means of transportation you choose.
Well, our day started out not so good. First we slept in a bit too much and second, it was just one of those days were Scott and I must be on the wrong foot and end up bickering and not communicating well for who knows what reason. Maybe we just missed the beach life? Because of this, we arrived to the grounds much later then expected with some additional stressful thoughts to add to the day. Do we even have enough time now to see everything now?? We put that aside and walked up to the ticket lady and found out that our Footprint guidebook was completely wrong! According to the ticket agent it’s been wrong for a long time. The correct price for the Old City Historical Park is actually 100 baht per zone with no option of any ‘total’ ticket! She then looks at our feet and strongly advises we rent ourselves a mode of transportation to even just see 1 zone of the park.
After some huffing, sighs, more bickers, and some moping about this dramatic increase in price we look at the time and decide to try and make the best of the rest of the day. We rent ourselves some bikes and buy tickets for just 1 zone, the central area.
I’ve seen pictures of Angkor Wat and couldn’t help to think this was like a mini appetizer for what we will see there. It really made me eager to get our asses to Cambodia. But in the meantime it was great to appreciate what is left of this old city. The best part of it all? How empty the place is! It’s quite hard to actually spot another tourist. I know this old city is going to be nothing compared to Angkor Wat as it’s pretty sparse and mostly in ruins but Angkor will be packed with tourists no matter what day it is.
It really was nice to cycle through this old city, and the various Buddha’s in all shapes and sizes are really impressive compared to the almost cheesy looking ones on Koh Samui. The ruins of the Wat’s are awesome and you can easily imagine how they’d look hundreds of years ago.
Here is some photos from our exploration of zone 1: