Hard time digesting my first Thai-Chinese breakfast

stupa on small island historical site of Sukhothai

Before I head off to the Sukhothai historical park, I order my very first Thai-Chinese breakfast, congee, a watery rice soup. Because of the slightly spicy herbs, I have a hard time to digest the meal; my – sober – stomach is accustomed to western food. Packed and sacked on the street a samlor driver approaches me. The bus station is about three kilometers outside the center. My driver agrees to bring me there for 40 baht. In Phitsanulok, some streets become single-direction during certain hours of the day. As my samlor guy turns into a wrong lane, he needs to cycle an extra block to avoid a possible traffic fine.

To Sukhothai on a third class bus

After a ride of 20 minutes, we arrive at the bus station. Instantly someone from the bus service asks me where I want to go. So without any effort, I end up on the right bus, leaving in leave 15 minutes. For now, I am the only passenger on this local, third class bus. Sometimes you hear worrisome stories about getting on buses solely, but I can`t be bothered. And the next minutes more customers hop in. After a 1 hour drive, we arrive at Sukothai.

A decent room with a porch in front

As in many cities in Thailand, the Sukhothai bus station is located somewhat outside the center. And also quite common, some touts show me a list of available hotels. My preferred place of stay is mentioned on the list. For a small fee I arrange transport over there, and five minutes later we arrive at the guesthouse. I can choose between a cheap, dark fan room, and a slightly higher priced one that comes with a porch, including a couch and seat plus table. That makes for an easy choice.

The historical site of Sukhothai attracts many visitors at Loy Krathong

The owner, mister Dang – of Indian origin, wants to know how long I plan to stay. In a couple of days, Loy Krathong will be celebrated. As this is a festival that attracts a massive amount of visitors to the historical park of Sukhothai, accommodation is in high demand. But I do not want to pin myself on any number of days yet. I want to visit the historical site of Sukhothai for the first time and also read about Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi, my next stops. I promise to give him an answer tomorrow.

Sukhothai historical park main site

Fully loaded songthaew to the Sukhothai historical park

Before I leave for the Sukhothai historical park, I eat delicious noodles with chicken. I really need to pay more attention to that, to eat something for lunch. The owner’s wife drops me and a few others at the bus stop to the site. The cost price for the ride is 10 baht and not a cent more; she presses us on the heart. Underway the songthaew gets fully loaded; apparently along the road, there is a school, so a lot of students get on the red taxi.

A full option ticket valid for 30 days

ancient stupa with elephants in Sukhothai

When I arrive at the Sukhothai historical park, I immediately buy a full option ticket, which gives access to all sites in the neighborhood, plus two museums; the card is valid for 30 days. As for today, I want to limit myself to the main site and the nearby museum. I will visit the more remote places tomorrow, with a rented bike which seems the standard way to do here. After all, it is already noon, the sun is at its highest point, and I am sweating heavily.

Buddha statue in front of ancient stupa in Sukhothai

Many remains of temples and Buddha statues to explore

Slightly puffing, I go from one ruin to the other. There are still vast remains of temples and Buddha statues to explore here. In retrospect, I also visit the museum. But at three o’clock in the afternoon, I decided to give up because of the heat and return to the new city in a van, again full of students. To get oriented I walk around in town for a while, which does not work so well; exhausted I return to the guesthouse.

historical site of Sukhothai

Delicious chicken soup in sour coconut milk

I settle on my porch, read about the more remote sites and about that other place, Si Satchanalai, where I want to go the day after tomorrow. I still cannot decide how many days I am going to spend here. Around 7 o’clock, after taking a shower with lukewarm water – more than good enough, I go to the dining room and order tom ka gai, chicken soup in sour coconut milk, with some rice, delicious. Why should I also make an effort to find a place to eat in the city when I can eat here as well?

Ordering my first Thai massage

You can also arrange a Thai massage in the guesthouse. I need to try this at least once during my trip to Thailand, so I notify the owner. An appointment is made for six o’clock tomorrow evening, before dinner, but after I have been able to refresh myself from the visit to the Sukhothai historical park. Having a back problem, I’m curious about the after effect; the session will take two hours.