Ninja Sighting in Sukhothai

21 10 2008

Sukhothai, Thailand

After the train ride to Lopburi in which we came close to melting into the seats, we decided that air-conditioned bus travel sounded pretty nice after all. So we go to the bus station and purchase two tickets for a 4.5 hour bus ride to the city of Phitsanoluk, where we will change buses and continue to Sukhothai. We confirmed with the ticket agent about eight times that we were buying a ticket for an A/C bus and she assured us that it was an air bus. Well, too bad we didn’t confirm that we would actually be able to sit. Once we got onto the bus it became quickly apparent that all of the seats were taken and that those people who were standing were going to remain standing for the rest of the trip. Gage jumped off the bus and politely pointed out to the ticket agent that we paid to sit on a bus, not stand and that we would like at least a partial refund. She assured him that she would find us a seat and after some brief words with the driver, we were offered accommodation on the driver’s bed, located behind the driver’s seat. That wasn’t going to fly either, so I was given the navigator’s seat and Gage was seated on the stairs. As bad as that may be, the fact that the bus continually broke down and our 4.5 hour bus ride turned into a 6.5 hour bus ride only made it comical. Welcome to Asia.

We paid extra for front row.

We paid extra for front row.

The big attraction in Sukhothai is the Sukhothai Historical Park. This is a huge plot of land with many, many different wats, temples, chedis, and statues of Buddha. Really big statues of Buddha.

Blowing the myth that Indians are short.

Blowing the myth that Indians are short.

It’s popular for a very good reason; the sites that are preserved here are absolutely mind-blowing. It’s basically an entire ancient Eastern crumbled city. The government’s Art Department has done an amazing job preserving this history. They even have small plaques with drawings of what the city used to look like before it deteriorated. The fact that we visited on a beautiful day helped with the picturesque beauty as well.

Wat Mahathat, Sukhothai

Wat Mahathat, Sukhothai

We really enjoyed Sukhothai’s Historical Park, but not just for the beautiful sights, but because of all the weird stuff that happened. Like when we first walked into the park and saw a ninja in the water. I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking the same thing…ninjas are from Japan not Thailand. Well, apparently this ninja didn’t get the message because it was in Thailand and for some reason it was hanging out in the water. Perhaps this is how ninjas go fishing. Needless to say, we moved along quickly for fear of making it angry. And yes naysayers, we have photographic proof.

Ninjas love fish.

Fact: Ninjas love fish.

Then there was the time that Gage stopped to draw Wat Mahathat. We were sitting on one of the ancient stupas and we see all of these caretakers walking over to us. Of course we think that we’re about to get in trouble for sitting on a stupa that probably dates back to the 9th century, but instead the caretakers just climb up behind us and sit behind Gage so that they could watch him draw. They leave after a few minutes and we’re both giggling and agree that it was a little weird, when three Thai girls about my age comes up to me and ask, “Can you take picture?” I say of course and stand up, ready to take the camera, but then one of the girls takes the camera and starts walking off and then the other girl motions me to follow her. She walks me over in front of this Buddha statue and next thing I know they’re taking turns getting pictures with me! I just kept thinking, So I’m not vain. I really am that cool!

I'm the tall one.

I'm the tall one.

We left the place pretty soon after that, for fear of hearing the Twilight Zone theme song playing somewhere overhead. We spent the entire following day inside, milking the free Wifi for all it was worth. While internet cafes are not hard to come by here, free wifi in hotels and guesthouses is certainly a rarity. So if we don’t respond to you for a while, don’t take it personally. It just means that I can’t tolerate sitting in an internet cafe with a bunch of pre-pubescent gamers. I’m sure you understand.

For more pictures from Sukhothai, click here.

Sukhothai Suggestions:
– If you want to rent a bike or motorbike, wait until you enter the Historial Park where you can rent a bike for 30 baht. If you try to bring a bike that you rented from an outside vendor they charge you to bring the bike in, so you end up double paying. Ouch.
– When we visited (October 2008) there was a very unclear sign that said something about prices increasing to 100 baht per area (from 30 baht). Not sure if this is a permanent change, but you may want to call and check ahead or at least ask around so that you bring enough cash to get in.
– We had a wonderful stay at the TR Guesthouse, which is run by a very sweet young couple. The place is spotless and is one of the very few guesthouses in town with free Wifi and is within walking distance to the Historical Park bus. They also dish up some great food.

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