A late start of the day
My second day in Sukhothai. My plan to wake up early does not work out as intended. The alarm goes off at 6 o’clock, but I stay in bed a while longer. It is already past 8 am when I get up, and I will regret that during the day. Why? As a first reason, the burning sun during the day. And secondly, the start of the Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade will interfere with my schedule to have a massage late afternoon.
Renting a bicycle to visit the remote northern ruins
For breakfast, I order a pancake with banana and honey, sweet stuff, but I feel the need to have something different than the classic continental breakfast. Afterward, I head for Sukhothai historical park again. Upon arrival, I rent a bicycle as I want to explore the more remote, northern ruins. To reach this, you need a means of transport. I trot from one ruin to another. It is a quiet area, riding in between the fields, and I hardly spot any tourists.
Too many stones instead of substantial ruins
On the other hand, the sun is overly present; I lose liters of sweat, almost unbearable. And about those ruins, I am a bit disappointed; I see many impressive Buddha statues, but only a few substantial remains of temples. It reinforces my plan to leave Sukhothai a day earlier than planned. I also visit a small lake and make a stop at a local food stall for some soda. The friendly people at the shop only speak Thai, so our communication is reduced to greetings and hand gestures.
More stones after lunch
I further visit a few heaps of rocks, but after a while, I have had enough of it and return to the main site to have lunch and cool off. After an extensive meal, I want to check two more ruins that seem to offer me more stones and head back on my way. However, I do not find them. So I drive back to the central historical park via the Khmer-like ruin on the western side, take a few more photos and then return my bicycle.
Traffic stops due to the Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade
I want to go back to the guesthouse, but there is an obstacle. For now, no more buses are returning to the central city. Soon enough I see why; because of the kick-off of the Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade. All kinds of beautifully traditionally dressed delegations from different Thai cities pass in a long procession to the Sukhothai historical park entrance. The police halt all other traffic. With my planned massage in mind, I try to snatch a songthaew to the city beyond the procession’s starting point, in vain.
A unique procession of delegations from Thai cities
So I return to the place where I had lunch an hour earlier and settle there. The Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade in the historical park is a unique experience; of course, I enjoy watching the successive delegations passing by. Occasionally I take a photo, but secretly I hope to be able to return to the guesthouse in time for my massage. And around half past four, I succeed; the procession has just finished, and traffic is slowly starting again. I take the first songthaew that passes to drive back to the city in a crowded van, full of tourists and Thai.
Unnecessary stress for my planned massage
Trying not to lose any more time, I take a tuk-tuk to the guesthouse and explain to Mr. Dang what has happened to me. My efforts were unnecessary because only upon my arrival he calls to arrange for the massage. I rush to my room for a sanitary stop and a shower. I manage for the first, but I have no time for the second. The masseuse has already arrived. I try to explain that I want to take a shower first, but she doesn’t seem to understand me. She starts with my legs, massaging and kneading, sometimes quite painful; other times, I have to wrench through all kinds of unusual postures.
An energy boost after a couple of hours
The massage session ends after two hours with the treatment of my – overheated – head. I underwent the course because I felt quite exhausted after spending a long time at the Sukhothai Loy Krathong parade. Though it was relaxing, I don’t feel reborn. Only a few hours later, after dinner, I think I am experiencing a positive effect. I appear to have an energy boost, perhaps due to the better blood flow? When I finally take a shower late in the evening, the stress of the day washes off. Tomorrow I want to get up early for a visit to Si Satchanalai, the other, less visited, but a better-preserved historical site about 40 kilometers from Sukothai.