So, what else is there in Thailand apart from gigantic Bangkok and beautiful islands (haven’t seen them yet, but I’m hoping to see something as beautiful as in the movies):) ? We left Bangkok and travelled north stopping by in numerous interesting places and visiting remains of temples and Buddha statues.
We started in Ayutthaya, approx. 80 km from Bangkok.
Today Ayutthaya (aka. Ajuttia) is a small town (less than 20,000 inhabitants), but around 16th and 17th century it used to be Thailand’s capital and one of the richest cities in Asia. The city was established in 1351. It was a important trading point for China and India. At the end of the 17th century it was inhabited by more than a million people. Ajuttia attracted merchants not only from Asia but also from Europe and the Middle East. Now there’s not much left from these times of prosperity. Only palaces and Buddhist temples’ remains, numerous statues of lying Buddha (sometimes headless) and amazing stupas (these towers I wrote about in the entry concerning Bangkok). It’s worth a visit, though. Parents – remember not to take a pram with you. Everyone – remember to take a bottle of water – it’s really hot there.
As usual there’s a little bazaar in front of the entrance to the ruins. You can buy Buddha figures there, Thailand t-shirts and cute little toy sets (i.e. safari with an elephant) along with local delicacies… some of which seem quite questionable. Dried fish skins for instance. Who would like to eat such a thing in 40 degrees heat? Surely everybody… Łukasz however gave it a try. Fortunately, he didn’t buy a bag to go ;p
I chose a more appropriate snack – it wasn’t healthy at all – deep fried, sweet and with crunchy nuts. It was great! That’s how they fried it:
We moved on to Sukhothai, 470 km from Bangkok, and stayed there for the night. On our way, looking for a place to have lunch, we came across Phitsanulok. Our guide recommended numerous restaurants by the Nan river but all of them were closed in the afternoon and we had to eat in a hotel restaurant called The Grand Riverside. The food was edible but nothing special. In Sukhothai we went swimming and then to sleep in La Charme hotel and left to see the ruins the next morning.
Sukhothai “ruled” Thailand, the Malay Peninsula and Burma even before Ajuttia. Its golden age lasted from 1240 to 1438 when Ajuttia conquered Sukhothai kingdom. The Khmer people settled there and then left a few buildings and an irrigating system similar to the one in Angkor Wat. Then the Thai came and expanded the kingdom. They also built their own irrigation system, which turned out to be a failure because it was the lack of water that forced the inhabitants to abandon the city.
Sukhothai ruins surely are a must-see when you’re travelling north in Thailand. The area is vast and you can have a walk with your pram or rent a bike to explore it. There’s lots of ruins and they are all very well preserved. You can also find numerous Buddha statues and some trees and water to cool down a little bit. A great way to start your day.
Before you go sightseeing it’s good to eat something in one of the restaurants in the Historic Park. The food is not something special but it’s tasty and very cheap – PLN 4-5 for rice with chicken or a pad thai and PLN 3 for a satay chicken on a stick. Also, the food is safe – tested by Maks and us 🙂
From Sukhothai we flew to Si Satchanalai, yet another Historic Park. There was almost no tourists and the buildings were quite interesting. Due to the lack of people we managed to take some great pictures.
Then we went to Chiang Mai – another 223 km… Tbc.