Sukhothai, exploring the old capital of Siam

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Sukhothai, exploring the old capital of Siam

After a long and tiring night journey by bus from Bangkok to Sukhothai and by tuk tuk to the hotel, our next day was very busy. We left our hotel at 8am sharp to spend the day in the old town of Sukhothai.

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Family Travel Secret
Sukhothai was the capital of the Thai empire for almost 140 years, during Thailand’s golden age. The ruins have been partially rebuilt and it is now one of the most visited ancient sites in Thailand.

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The hotel’s driver dropped us first in front of the Wat Chang Lom (one of the outer temples of Sukhothai Historical Park) and then right in front of a bike rental place.

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Family Travel Secret
The best way to explore Sukhothai and its ruins is by bike. There are a few places located right in front of the gate to the site where you can rent bikes very cheaply, giving yourself the ability to get around more quickly and have more time to enjoy your surroundings.

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We had a small problem though… Ruth had only ridden a bike 2 or 3 times in her life at most, and only for a few minutes. After a quick crash course and a few minutes practicing next to the place where we were renting the bikes from, she finally got some confidence to explore the city on two wheels.

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As we didn’t want to abuse her ability to pick up cycling quickly, we crossed the street on foot while pushing the bikes and only started to cycle when we were inside the site, where only bikes and pedestrians are allowed.

It didn’t take long for her to feel confident and even speed up a bit. Noah was on my bike in a special seat, enjoying the fresh air and watching how his mom was pulling this off.

The site was incredibly peaceful and there were only a few visitors around, which definitely made our day much more enjoyable. It was funny to notice that almost all the foreigners around were Spanish speakers, so it was like we were in a Spanish Thailand …

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Family Travel Secret
The best way to explore Sukhothai by bike is first to go into the old town and then start going to the outer parts of the city with its Buddhist temples.

We followed the recommended route suggested to us by the staff in the bike store, meaning we explored the inner city by going counter clockwise.

King Ramkhamhaeng Monument

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Wat Sa Si

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Wat Tra Phang Ngoen

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Wat Si Sawai

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Wat Mahathat

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It is noticeable that even after more than 700 years the site is well conserved, with ruins of course, but in better condition than you might expect.

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The images of Buddha in different positions and sizes are also very impressive. When you add to that the peacefulness of the place, it all transports you to a very relaxing world that you just want to enjoy without worrying about the time.

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Unfortunately Noah is not one for relaxing in one place (I still think he got that urge not to waste a single second anywhere from his mom … Hope she doesn’t read this 🙂 )

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First test on the bike in Sukhothai was successful, but now the big test

Ruth was pleased to know that she could ride the bike and optimize our time at the site, but next came the challenge. To visit the other ruins – located outside the ancient gates – she needed to take a busy road with cars, sticking to a small bicycle lane. To begin with she panicked, but in time she regained the confidence she needed to continue.

That was good, because the other ruins were a bit far away and time was flying that day.

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It was a bit hot but the main problem was the humidity, which made us sweat a lot and lose a lot of fluid. We therefore had to drink water all the time. Noah was enjoying his time on the back of the bicycle, but was getting a bit tired and wanted to take a nap. We weren’t sure it would be a good idea in the back seat so we tried to keep him awake, first by stopping at a place where he could climb trees and run around a bit. That kick-started him again and we were good to go for another couple of hours 🙂

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The first site, Wat Sorasak.

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And a little stop at Wat Mae Chon

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Then, Wat Phra Phai Luang, wasn’t too far away and on the way there were a couple of other temples.

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This temple has different areas…

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From there we were supposed to reach Wat Si Chum temple, but we think we turned in the wrong place and accidentally went to another Buddhist temple with a beautiful indoor statue of Buddha.

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After a little while we reached Wat Si Chum

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and then there were only one more stop, a few kilometers away: Wat Saphan Hin. At this last one we had a painful walk up some stairs, but we were rewarded with a panoramic view of the surroundings.

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At the top of a mount in Sukhothai to enjoy the views at Wat Khao Phra Bat Noi temple

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At that point Noah was still very much awake and “showed us” the best way to get back down to the road.

Beautiful views of the surroundings of Wat Khao Phra Bat Noi temple

When we got back to the bicycle store we were exhausted and just wanted to get to the hotel and take a nice shower. Noah still found time to enjoy the pool a bit before dinner arrived at our room.

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Sukhothai was a beautiful stop and we can’t wait for our next destination: Chiang Mai.

Important facts:
The bike rental was 90 bahts for two bikes (one regular and the other one with a child seat); There are 5 major temples in Sukhothai and you have to pay 100 bahts each, plus 10 bahts if you are riding your own bike to be able to go through the temple area (two of the main ones that we visited: the main temple area and Wat Sorasak) 10 bahts per bike.

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