A late start of the day

My second day in Sukhothai. My plan to wake up early does not work out as intended. The alarm goes off at 6 o’clock, but I stay in bed a while longer. It is already past 8 am when I get up, and I will regret that during the day. Why? As a first reason, the burning sun during the day. And secondly, the start of the Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade will interfere with my schedule to have a massage late afternoon.

Buddha statue in northern part of Sukhothai historical site

Renting a bicycle to visit the remote northern ruins

Sukhothai north side Buddha image

For breakfast, I order a pancake with banana and honey, sweet stuff, but I feel the need to have something different than the classic continental breakfast. Afterward, I head for Sukhothai historical park again. Upon arrival, I rent a bicycle as I want to explore the more remote, northern ruins. To reach this, you need a means of transport. I trot from one ruin to another. It is a quiet area, riding in between the fields, and I hardly spot any tourists.

Too many stones instead of substantial ruins

ruin with Buddha image in Sukhothai

On the other hand, the sun is overly present; I lose liters of sweat, almost unbearable. And about those ruins, I am a bit disappointed; I see many impressive Buddha statues, but only a few substantial remains of temples. It reinforces my plan to leave Sukhothai a day earlier than planned. I also visit a small lake and make a stop at a local food stall for some soda. The friendly people at the shop only speak Thai, so our communication is reduced to greetings and hand gestures.

lake near Sukothai historical park

More stones after lunch

I further visit a few heaps of rocks, but after a while, I have had enough of it and return to the main site to have lunch and cool off. After an extensive meal, I want to check two more ruins that seem to offer me more stones and head back on my way. However, I do not find them. So I drive back to the central historical park via the Khmer-like ruin on the western side, take a few more photos and then return my bicycle.

Khmer-like temple ruin at western part of Sukhothai main site

Traffic stops due to the Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade

city delegation Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade

I want to go back to the guesthouse, but there is an obstacle. For now, no more buses are returning to the central city. Soon enough I see why; because of the kick-off of the Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade. All kinds of beautifully traditionally dressed delegations from different Thai cities pass in a long procession to the Sukhothai historical park entrance. The police halt all other traffic. With my planned massage in mind, I try to snatch a songthaew to the city beyond the procession’s starting point, in vain.

A unique procession of delegations from Thai cities

Loy Krathong procession Sukhothai

So I return to the place where I had lunch an hour earlier and settle there. The Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade in the historical park is a unique experience; of course, I enjoy watching the successive delegations passing by. Occasionally I take a photo, but secretly I hope to be able to return to the guesthouse in time for my massage. And around half past four, I succeed; the procession has just finished, and traffic is slowly starting again. I take the first songthaew that passes to drive back to the city in a crowded van, full of tourists and Thai.

overcrowded songthaew to the city after Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade

Unnecessary stress for my planned massage

Trying not to lose any more time, I take a tuk-tuk to the guesthouse and explain to Mr. Dang what has happened to me. My efforts were unnecessary because only upon my arrival he calls to arrange for the massage. I rush to my room for a sanitary stop and a shower. I manage for the first, but I have no time for the second. The masseuse has already arrived. I try to explain that I want to take a shower first, but she doesn’t seem to understand me.  She starts with my legs, massaging and kneading, sometimes quite painful; other times, I have to wrench through all kinds of unusual postures.

An energy boost after a couple of hours

The massage session ends after two hours with the treatment of my – overheated – head. I underwent the course because I felt quite exhausted after spending a long time at the Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade. Though it was relaxing, I don’t feel reborn. Only a few hours later, after dinner, I think I am experiencing a positive effect. I appear to have an energy boost, perhaps due to the better blood flow? When I finally take a shower late in the evening, the stress of the day washes off. Tomorrow I want to get up early for a visit to Si Satchanalai, the other, less visited, but a better-preserved historical site about 40 kilometers from Sukothai.