My favourite way to travel is to have a few things in mind that you want to do, but also to keep things pretty open, so when you get to your destination, you can talk to locals and other travelers and figure out which places they think are must-see. Some of the coolest places I’ve visited have just been word of mouth referrals, of places I’d never even heard of before.
So when we got to Thailand, I heard over and over that we should check out Ayutthaya or Sukhothai, they are both national parks with lots of cool temples, and that is where all of the Buddhas around Thailand are made. Ayutthaya also used to be the capital of Thailand, before Bangkok.
Sukhothai is the older one, some of the temples are more like ruins, and Ayutthaya is the newer one. I decided I’d rather see the more historical one, so we set out from Chiang Mai for a 5 hour bus ride to go check it out. I’d heard from several other travelers how hellish the bus ride was, but I really didn’t think it was that bad, although I did have a good book and a sleeve of Oreos to keep me company.
Sukhothai itself is pretty quiet (although we were there during the low season) it’s not super touristy, and there isn’t a ton of other things to do except for check out the park, so two days there was a good amount of time.
We were told to come first thing in the morning, since the Buddhas all face East, and they photograph better with the sun shining on them. We rented bikes (around 100TBH for the day) and pedaled around the park for a few hours. The park itself was so beautiful and peaceful, and after so many days of walking (jungle trekking) it was actually really fun to just be on a bike.
The park itself is divided into 3 different sections, and you have to pay 100TBH (around $3) to get into each one. Once we’d gone around the park multiple times, we decided to go ride our bikes around town for a bit. We saw a sign for a waterfall and cave, so we set off pedaling down a deserted dirt road, with no idea where we were going.
About 20 minutes later, we saw another sign for the waterfall, but this one mentioned that it was actually 30 miles down the road. The sun was fully overheard, and it was starting to get really hot, plus there was an unfortunate incident with a spider (I almost veered into the ditch because it was the biggest spider that exists in the world. Derek insists it was a crab from the lake right beside the road, but he was not blessed with my eagle vision) so we decided to head back.
We went back to the park for sunset, even though it was a bit cloudy it was still pretty. I would definitely recommend going to Sukhothai if you have time on your trip, I would absolutely go back, especially in November when they have the Loi Krathong Lantern Festival.