Dawn of Happiness

About the only thing that happens at dawn is maybe me just going to bed. Sukhothai translates as “the dawn of happiness.” For the holiday weekend, I took a road trip to the first capital of Siam to visit the Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On my way to Sukhothai, I passed this very welcoming sign and stopped for a snack break at Mae Mok Reservoir. It was the start of a good trip.

 By northern Thai standards, my room was a little pricey at $12.25/night but I was happy. It was clean, safe, equipped with soft beds, good wifi, free bottles of water in the fridge, a/c and plenty of hot water in the modern private bathroom.

I assumed that since it was evening, a visit to the Historical Park would be wasted so after checking in, I headed to the night market for food and entertainment. I was staying in New Sukhothai so I went to the market along the Yom River.

While it felt good to stretch my legs walking through the market, I was happy to find a vendor with tables so I could sit and relax while I ate. Some coconut water, yummy pandan leaf grilled chicken and Sukothai noodles later, I was feeling revived. All that for under $4, by the way. I spent the rest of the evening checking out the items for sale at many of the stalls, listening to the one live band at the market, and looking for… mango with sticky rice. Eventually, I expect this addiction to wane but for now I still need my daily fix.

On to the next day… Sukhothai Historical Park!

wat-si-sawai

There are about 50 temples in the park, about half of which are inside the city walls. This one, Wat Si Sawai, is more Khmer in style than most found here.

The entire park covers about 27 square miles and is divided into five zones. The center is the most well preserved and is maintained as a very tranquil park-like setting.

Wat Mahathat is the largest temple complex in the historical park. There are giant standing and seated Buddhas, and many stupas and prangs.

 There are thousands of better quality photos on the internet of the “Central Zone” so I’ll leave it to the experts… for the most part.

wat-mahathat-color-1

I was fortunate to pass the center on my way to dinner and discover that the lights were turned on that night. While neither my camera or I can handle the additional challenge of nighttime photography, I thought this shot of Wat Mahathat gave it some dimension.

 I also liked these contrasting shots of this sitting Buddha at Wat Mahathat. My pictures don’t capture the beauty of Sukhothai at night but I was delighted to have stumbled upon it. And stumble, I did… there are no ground lights and lots of uneven pavers.

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