|Photobombing in old Sukhothai|
Our plan was to do some sightseeing in Old Sukhothai in the morning, but when we opened the curtains to greet the day, looking back at us was a solid layer of gray sky. Since the World Heritage-listed ruins of the first independent Thai kingdom are an outdoor attraction, we checked the weather forecast to see what our chances of getting wet were before riding the 8 miles to Old Sukhothai. It was about 60/40 that we would get rained on, we decided to wait a little while and instead worked on some route planning for the next couple of weeks. By mid-morning, the sky had cleared a bit, so we ventured out.
The ruins here cover five different zones, but the central zone is supposed to be the one to see. We paid our 100 Baht and got our tickets. Thailand is a civilized country – they actually let us ride our motorbikes into the historical park. Sukhothai is considered the first independent Thai kingdom that emerged from the ruins of the Khmer Empire. But the newfound independence didn't stop them from largely copying the artistic style of the Khmer. The historical park is filled with a collection of temples and Buddhas. We could see a definite Angkor influence in some of the temples, but only if we squinted and held our tongues just right. Nevertheless, there were some beautiful and impressive temple ruins, some of which were surrounded by wide moats or sat on the edge of large, artificial lakes. We spent the next several hours touring the sights with a constant eye on the sky. The clouds, once again, turned very dark, and we expected to have to run for cover at any minute. Thankfully, the rain never materialized and we were able to continue our tour. We stopped to get a photo of the bikes next to Wat Chang Lom. Here we met a group of tourists from Vermont and spent some time chatting with them about our travels. After snapping a couple of photos, we decided to head for lunch. It was now mid-afternoon, and we were getting hungry. We saw some roadside stands and again practiced our “look, point, and hold up two fingers” method of ordering, and ended up with another delicious and inexpensive meal.