From my back seat I gaze through the window of the bus we’re in. I see a first glimpse of the ancient temples behind the trees that block my further sight. It is late in the afternoon when we enter Sukhothai, one of the most remarkable historic towns in Thailand.
If you have been to ”Angkor Wat”, the largest temple complex in the world situated in Cambodia you”ll recognize the style of the temples. Sukhothai is quite smaller but nevertheless impressive. It was the first capital city of Thailand from the mid-13th to the late 14th century. The city is situated 400 km. north of Bangkok. The remains of the kingdom, today known as the ”old city” feature a 45 square meter of rebuilt ruins of the royal palace and twenty-six temples. It is one of the most visited ancient sites in Thailand next to Ayuthaya also a former capital and UNESCO World Heritage. We choose to visit the oldest and more serene Sukhothai.
Early morning we jump on our bikes to see the ruins, literally ”Dawn of Happiness”, before the sun sets. It is quiet when we cycle through the park, only a few people walk around and we cross locals who are jogging. The first temple we enter is the Wat Mahathat situated in the central zone. I walk up to the front to the ”tall prayer hall”, a high platform with a large sitting Buddha. I wander through the high stone columns and look up to the two large standing Buddha’s. No matter which way I look, the views are stunning. The mountains in the background, the old banyan trees and the sky behind them turning purple and pink. It looks magical and being almost alone to witness this made it even more impressive.
The next morning at 05:30 we are tempted to see the ancient temples again. This time with sunrise, we pass by ponds with lotus flowers open up towards the sun. The temperature rises every single minute. Maybe it is not the best time to visit Sukhothai but at least you are the only one walking around the ancient city and that is all worth it!
During our visit we stay at the Tharaburi Resort located in a peaceful area just 10 minutes by bike (which are free to use during your stay) from the historical park. It is surrounded by a Thai tropical garden decorated in Asian contemporary style. The rooms are equipped with a private terrace or balcony, flatscreen TV, kingsize bed and spacious bathrooms. Sukhothai is the hottest city in Thailand (we visit it in the hottest season with 45 degrees) and we were happy to unwind with a refreshing dip in the swimming pool. Tharaburi has a restaurant serving delicious breakfast and Thai favorites. But if you want to go out for dinner there is a good Indian restaurant on the other side of the street named Alibaba. The restaurant is owned by the friendly Indian Singh. He prepares excellent traditional Indian dishes combined with cold beers. If you are looking for good Indian (vegetarian) food, a must-go!