Departing Bangkok on a Bangkok Air turboprop, we made a short flight north to the ancient capital city of Sukhothai.
Sukhtohai was the capital of the kingdom of the same name in the 13th and 14th centuries.
After checking into our hotel we found out that the temples in the historical park would be illuminated that evening, so we took a tuk tuk to go take in the nighttime views.
The historical park has a total of 26 temples that were built in various styles over a period of several hundred years.
Large Buddha images are a prominent feature of many of the temples. The Buddhas are positioned in various poses, some reclining, some sitting, and some standing.
The following morning we were up early for a bike tour through the countryside with Cycling Sukothai. Our tour started with a visit to the local market to get a feel for the kinds of ingredients that the local residents use in their cooking.
These chilies looked like they would make a good curry!
There were live eels and frogs on offer, as well as BBQ frogs on a stick (we passed).
We surprised to find out that the next stop on our tour was a cock training operation. All the roosters were getting a bath and a massage before being put out in the sunlight to dry off.
We weren’t eager to explain the sport of cock fighting to the kids; fortunately we learned that the roosters don’t fight to the death in Thailand.
We biked further into the countryside along dirt tracks that took us past green fields and banana trees.
Much of the land was being used for rice cultivation.
Catfish are farmed in ponds that dot the landscape. We stopped to see catfish being processed and set out in the sun to dry.
The following stop was a tobacco farm, where the kids helped to stomp dried tobacco leaves into bales.
Thailand is on the leading edge when it comes to cultivating environmentally-friendly protein food sources. These cages were full of crickets that were being farmed for human consumption. In another barn the farmer was breeding rats(!).
As we continued our bike ride we came upon a rice field that was being prepared for planting. The smell in the air suggested that the field had been recently fertilized with fresh pig manure.
Our guide asked the kids if they wanted to help drive the tractors and before we adults could say anything the kids were ripping their shoes off and jumping into the mud. Now this was a unique experience!
Our final stop was the temple, where we found more Garudas and Buddhas.
Sukhothai Historical Park
The following day we rented bicycles on our own (for about $1 a piece for the whole day) and rode around the Historical Park.
It was interesting to see the different styles of Buddha statues.
Wat Si Sawai is one of the oldest temples in the complex and is heavily influenced by Khmer architecture.
There weren’t a whole lot of other tourists around and we enjoyed the solitude.
Wat Si Chum features a huge seated Buddha.
The Buddha’s fingers are about as tall as the kids!
Our middle son had a bike crash at one point, but fortunately he only suffered a few scrapes and we able to keep riding.
We loved our visit to Sukhothai! It was great to learn a bit more about the history of the area and to see how people live there today.
Next up, Chiang Mai!