South east Asia seems to be littered with UNESCO world heritage sites, one of them being Sukothai. Though it’s not on the main train line north, it’s just a quick bus, and certainly worth a visit for those journeying through the country. The Bangkok-Chiang Mai train stops at Pitsanulok, from which you can get a bus to Sukothai. We stayed two nights and saw plenty.
Sukothai boasts ancient Wats that mirror the famous Angkor Wat style. Here, temples pop up everywhere just between shops and on the side of the road. The local bus (songathew), takes you to the old town for 20 baht, where you can hire a bike for 30 baht (advisable). Ruins show where great temples used to be, with Buddha at the centre of them all. Wat Mahathat is the main one, but on our cycle we saw around six. Little lakes, trees and grassy areas are in between the temples, teeming with lily pads and dragonflies. Great place to sit and relax.
Cycling with our little map, we got a bit lost, the trees then opened up to paddy fields. The mountains were in the distance, making powerful shadows on the horizon. Miles and miles of green were broken up by a small white house, a few huts, some cattle. The wind rolled across the plains and made the rice rustle, lifting the smell up into the air. It smelt like rice -surprise surprise- delicious and warm. It was indescribably beautiful, silencing us and demanding us to look.
Away from the old town beauty, the new town is a food hub at night. Along with the usual street food stalls, a food market follows the roads around the town with fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, and things I didn’t recognise. With a few bars, Sukothai’s nightlife is small but cosy. Perfect for a quick stop on the way to bigger things.