Monday, September 18, 2006

Trip: Thailand
Date: September 18, 2006
Place: Sukhothai

I took the bus from Chiang Mai to Sukhothai this morning. It was about a five hour trip in an air conditioned bus and cost me 234 baht - very reasonable. I negotiated with a songthaew for a 100 baht (about $3) ride to my guest house which is in Old Sukhothai. It looks like the home of the world's best airport is also home to one of the world's cutest towns! I am so glad that I stayed in Old Sukhothai (about 15 kilometers from "new" Sukhothai). It is sooo charming. Sukhothai is the original capital of Siam (Thailand); in fact it was where Siam was born. There are over 200 temples in the area.

The guest house that I am staying at, Mountain View Guest House, is very nice. It is owned by a British gentleman (Malcom) and his Thai wife; they are both terrific, friendly people. There are only six guest rooms here, and it is about 5 kilometers from the heart of Old Sukhothai (only 500 meters from the Sukhothai National Park though...) There is a pool here (ahhhh....) and a cute little garden. They have free shuttles to their restaurant in town, but I rented a motorbike to get around. I can now add "semi-automatic motorbike driving" to my list of skills! I guess if I can learn to drive a stick shift car in Casablanca, I can learn how to drive a stick shift motorcycle in Sukhothai! It is just semi-automatic though, so there is no clutch. You do have to know when to shift though, or it will stall out just like a car...

They have the cutest little night market in town! I went there this evening and got this yummy coconut cake thingy. Picture a cake that is the size and shape of a pizza cut into six wedges. (I don't know what kind of cake it was, but it was a bit spongy and chewy at the same time...) OK, so that wedge is then folded in half and stuffed with shredded coconut, sugar, and baked seasame seeds. I didn't really care for the seasame seeds, so I asked for one with few in them, but it was quite good! I took a little movie of the market, so when my website is up and running I will post it there along with some photos of the area for you...

Since I arrived rather late today (2pm) I didn't really get to explore that much, but I am going to head out tomorrow morning. I may just end up extending my stay here too, because I think this is my favorite city so far. It is quaint and charming and not touristy. Plus, the scenery is fantastic! Of course, if I keep extending my stays I may never get to Bangladesh... I think I may cut out the Lop Buri portion of my trip instead though... Hopefully tonight I will decide where I am going after Sukhothai, so I will keep you posted!!

Sukhothai Airport
This place is so nice that it looks like a Thai house. The bathrooms are also beautifully designed and impeccably clean!

Sukhothai Countryside
The country here is beautiful! Lots of rice paddies with purple mountains in the background. These photos were all taken in Old Sukhothai (in or near the historical park) because "new" Sukhothai is just another rundown town in a developing country...

Historical Park
The Historical Park is amazing. It is a world heritage site and is really an old town of historical monuments and sculptures. Some of the carvings are really fantastic. It is amazing how large this place is! The market is held at night in the historical park.


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