Ruins, ruins, and...oh, more ruins.
27.01.2010 - 27.01.2010 35 °C
Although I had landed safely in Thailand yesterday my body clock had somehow got lost along the way. Stuck somewhere between Newhaven Town and Sukhothai it insisted in waking me up at 4am and refused to go back to sleep. After 2 hours of tossing and turning I finally decided to get up at 6am. Dressed and ready by half six I reported to reception for their free lift, which they had mentioned last night, to the Old Sukhothai bus stop. The man behind the desk looked extremely put out, but then again only had himself to blame. If he hadn't told me that buses to the Old City ran from 7 in the morning then I wouldn't have been there so early. If he wanted an easy morning he should have told me that the first bus was at 10 and I would have been none the wiser.
I was glad to be the first one there as there wasn't another tourist in sight. The bus (a rickety old van with a couple of benches stuck to the back) was full of locals and uniformed children on their way to school. I was also one of the first people into the park allowing for some great photos, and avoiding the need to strategically hide people behind columns and buildings as I would have to do later in the day.
Having said that, the park remained surprisingly quiet throughout the day, with the exception of the odd billion strong school group flying by, all waving and shouting "hello, goodbye", and crashing into one another, more interested in me than on the road ahead. In fact, I seemed to attract quite a bit of attention, possibly because Sukhothai is still fairly low on the tourism stakes (especially compared to Bangkok or Chiang Mai), and so stood out from the locals. This was only reaffirmed when a small family approached and the girl, probably in her late teens, came up pointing at her camera. "Photo?" she said, holding the camera out. I politely nodded and reached out to take the camera from her but she quickly pulled back and shook her head. "Photo?" she said again, now pointing at me and her. Yes, she wanted a picture of me, a random stranger. Despite being flattered I couldn't help wondering what the response would be if the same situation were to occur in England with the roles reversed. I'm sure a slap round the face or possible black eye might be the answer.
Language barriers were still causing problems, especially when it came to food. Not confident enough to try the local delicacies from the stalls on site I opted instead for a 7 Eleven sandwich. A simple purchase which shouldn't have caused any problems. Wrong! Upon purchasing it the man behind the counter said "warm?" The unidentifiable substance within looked a little like crab and the thought of a hot crab sandwich didn't much appeal so I politely said no. The highly confused look he gave his collegue made me suddenly wonder if I'd just made a huge mistake, so I nudged the sandwich back and said "actually, yes please, warm." This got an even more confused, and now slightly annoyed look. The man then shoves my cold sandwich back across the counter, gives me my change, and grudgingly wishes me a pleasant day. I left the shop a little unnerved and wondering what I'd said or done to offend the man, and if I should risk eating the dodgy cold sandwich or not. (For the record, yes I did eat it, yes it did taste slighly strange, no I still don't know what was in it, and no I didn't get sick from it).
A small note of warning. If the local cold sandwiches don't make you sick, walking around the park in the middle of the day, with the 35 degree sun beating down on you, certainly will!!!
Bus from new Sukhothai to old Sukhothai (each way) - 20 Baht
Sukhothai Park ticket (main site only) - 100 Baht
Internet (1 hour) - 20 Baht
Here's a small selection of the hundred or so pictures taken in Sukhothai Historical Park.