The night before I was planning to go to Sukhothai Historical Park–the first historic capital of Siam–I met a fellow traveler at my guest house who was also planning on going to the park the following day. We decided to go together, which ended up being a wonderful adventure–it’s always fun to meet new people while traveling and though I don’t expect to ever see her again, my new guest house friend and I had a lovely time exploring the ancient ruins together.
Rested and ready for more adventures after my first, quieter day in Sukhothai, I got up early to get some breakfast prior to heading to the park.
A local bus–which was really more like a songthaew–goes between New Sukhothai and Old Sukhothai on a regular basis for a small sum of 30 baht ($0.85 USD) one way. We caught it on New Sukhothai’s main road, not far from Poo Restaurant. The bus takes about twenty minutes to get from New Sukhothai to Old Sukhothai; while on the bus, we chatted with another solo female traveler who was also heading to see the ruins.
We were dropped off right outside the park entrance and immediately headed to rent bikes. There are a few bike rental places right across the street from the park entrance; for a small fee (I can’t remember how much off the top of my head), we acquired two rickety and questionably safe bikes for the day. I mean, I’m still here to tell the tale, but I’ve Continue reading “Sukhothai Historical Park”
The Sukhothai Kingdom, dating from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries C.E., is historically known as the first capital of Siam (just to clarify, Siam is the name that The Kingdom of Thailand was known by internationally until the mid-twentieth century). Sukhothai Province is, therefore, one of two provinces in Thailand that is home to significant cultural and historical ruins from a former capital city (the other is Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province just northeast of Bangkok, which is home to Siam’s second capital).
Given my love of history and desire to see new places, I was eager to make it to the ruins of Sukhothai prior to my departure from The Kingdom–and boy, am I glad I did. My trip to Sukhothai happened in the five days I had between returning to Bangkok from Europe, and meeting my parents in Bangkok for our travels around Thailand together. What a grand time I had on this solo trip. I’m so thankful I took it upon myself to make this journey in the few extra days I had to myself in Thailand–especially when I could have very easily stayed in bustling Bangkok…I mean, it’s not like Bangkok is hurting for things do see and do. Still, I wanted to experience some place new…and Sukhothai was an absolutely perfect adventure.
Now that I am back from my travels with a little more time on my hands, I’ll have a handful of posts coming your way about some of the places I visited and experienced while on my month-long excursion through Denmark, Germany, and Thailand.
Starting off this series of travel posts is one of my favorite adventures from my time in Europe.
— — — —
When I got to Denmark, my friend Lexi, whom I was visiting, assured me that Denmark was entirely flat and farm-like. “Believe me, ” she said as we were boarding the train to begin our day-trip adventure to Møns Klint (The Cliffs of Møn), “Once we leave Copenhagen, you’ll begin to think you’re in Iowa.”
Now Lexi and I are both Midwestern girls. Though both of us hail from Minnesota, we both have family in our home state’s southern neighbor and have spent more than our fair share of time there. We knew that any comparison to Iowa could only mean one thing–flat farmland and fields as far as the eye can see.
As the train made it’s way out of Copenhagen and into the country, the landscape did, indeed, start to look more farm-like. However, once we made it to the cliffs (and oh man, was that an adventure to itself–see below), we were in a completely different world; a world that most definitely had no resemblance to the plains of Iowa. In fact, Lexi, who has been a resident of Denmark for almost two years now, said of Møns Klint, “Well, I had no idea Denmark’s landscape could be this interesting.”
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, in the context of how I perceive myself and in the context of how others perceive me. As I write this, I am wrapping up one semester of teaching English in Thailand with the intention of heading back home to the United States after a bit of travel. Six months ago, I would have told you that I’d for sure sign on after another semester in Thailand; the idea of living abroad was still enticing and new at that point and I couldn’t imagine any context where I would want to come home. In fact, back in September, upon my arrival in Thailand, I wrote in my journal that going home would be a step back.
Why go home when there is a world of opportunity to explore…
Since I’ve been rather silent here on the blog for the past few weeks…
Currently: Northern Thailand. I am presently sitting in a small room in the guest house I’ll be staying in for the next few days as I explore a new part of Thailand. There’s no AC and it’s a bit dingy, but it was mega cheap and I can’t complain. It’s also quaint and homey and hearing the calm conversation of the Thai people and the small fountain outside my window is quite comforting.
The last two weeks: Denmark and Germany. I had such a wonderful time being shown around Europe by an old friend who is an au pair there. Her and her friends made my experience there so memorable. More to come on that later.
The next two weeks: Thailand. I have a few days to myself and am using that to embark on a short solo trip. My parents will arrive soon and I can’t wait to show them around this country that I’ve called home for the past six months. For now, it’s just me, myself, and the small amount of possessions I’ve carried with me for the last six months.
Later (or, when the next two weeks are over): Minnesota, U.S.A. It’ll be strange to be back in my hometown but I’m ready. These last few months have been really hard for me, but I’m so grateful for all that I’ve taken away from them and all that I’ve been able to see and do in the process. Thailand will always be one of my homes on this Earth, but it’s time to move on.
I expect to have a lot to write about once I return to U.S. soil.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, I’m going to clear one thing up–because I know we’re all a little juvenile now and then (right, Trent?). So, for all y’all English speakers of the world (which is probably the majority of the people visiting this site because, well, it’s entirely composed of a words and phrases constructed with the use of the English language), “Ph” does not make the same sound in Thai as it does in English. English speakers know “Ph” to make a sound equivalent to the English “F.” In Thai, this is not the case. In Thai, “Ph” is pronounced as we would pronounce a stand-alone “P.” So, although I’m quite sure some of you have read “Phuket” with the English understanding that “Ph” = “F” and stifled a giggle, the Thai (and correct) pronunciation sounds like this: “POO-ket”
Let’s all say that together, now: POO-ket
Now that that’s all sorted out, let’s get on with it.
— — — —
My New Years plans were up in the air for a while. I went from “Maybe Bangkok?” to “Ugh, I love me some Bangkok but I go there all the time. Maybe Chiang Mai.” to “Okay, I love Chiang Mai to pieces but I really want to go some place new and haven’t been down South yet…” and because a group of my friends were already planning to go to Phuket, “Oh, hey, beaching on New Years doesn’t sound half bad…I think I’ll book my ticket!” is what eventually happened.
Phuket, located in the South of Thailand, is the largest island in Thailand and the only island that is also its own province. It’s a major tourist area in Thailand so, quite, frankly, Phuket doesn’t feel much like the Thailand I’ve grown used to at all. It’s incredibly westernized and very expensive. That said, it’s also incredibly beautiful and I’m so glad I was able to experience it over Continue reading “A Very Phuket New Year”