Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai

Finally get around to posting about all the ruins I've seen. I had to sort though 600 pics from the two days I was there. It took a while to process the good ones, and then find an internet connection where I could upload them. And now I've stopped moving for a day next to the Cambodian border in preparation for crossing tomorrow. So brace yourselves, very picture heavy update...

I left Chiang Mai and headed towards Sukhothai via the 11 and 101 roads, on the way I saw a sign for Si Satchanalai but didn't know what was there and I just decided to drop in and have a look. Turns out it was one of two main sites for temples in this region. Lucky I stopped or I would have missed it.

Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat

This is where I got off the bike, I thought it was just the one temple in this area but then as I was looking through the lonely planet I saw the map for the larger group of temples about 1km north. The farmers have started burning off the fields so it was smoky everywhere. I tried to get rid of the smoke colours but I think I failed. This set of ruins was probably built sometime between 1448 and 1488 according to my book. There's a 20B entry fee to go in and wander round, but you can see it all from the road if that's too much...

The main phrang (I think that's the right word for this style?)

Large Chedi.

Buddha and mini buddha

Panorama tall view of the standing Buddha.

That's the typical south east asian temple view I remember!

Tree + prang

Just tree.

The wall around the prang area

Some of the intricate work has survived 600 years, but this may have been restored of course, there wasn't much of this layer left anywhere.

The main seated Buddha. 

Wat Chao Chan

This one is from even earlier, 1181-1217, probably. The book throws in the word probably...

Wat Nang Phaya

This was in the main park inside the old city walls. It costs 100B to get in there (motorbike was free) and there's a road all the way around to get between temples. There were hardly any other people about too. This one is apparently from the 15th or 16th century.

My bike, parked in the way of this temple.
Smort! Now at least that part will last for longer.

Tree growing out of some stones
In a lot of places it looked like there was maybe a small set of stones which they had planed a tree in the middle of, after a while the tree just grows and pushes all the stones away. At one of the other temples I'm getting to there was a lot of this going on. Maybe It was done on purpose?

Wat Khao Suwan Khiri

The guidebook doesn't mention this one.

Hiding on the hill there. Isn't there a scene in some Indiana Jones movie like this?


Looking down to Wat Chang Lom and Wat Chedi Jet Thaew (getting to them)

More stacked stones.

Wat Chedi Jet Thaew

Lots of Chedi here

Wall surrounding this one.

Poor elephant missing his trunk.

Armless Buddha


Wat Chang Lom

This one was built sometime from 1285 to 1291 (probably).

The chedi,  supported by elephants back there.

Various decayed elephants.

Another view.

Massivly wide view from a panorama of 16 photos. There are some join problems, but cheaper than buying an 8mm lens
After that little tour of temples I headed to New Sukhothai to get a room somewhere with air-conditioning and a comfy bed because it was starting to get hot again and I'd ridden 300km that day (nothing by Australian standards (AS1337)). I eventually found Sukhothai guest house for 600baht a night (lots) and I didn't know until later that the aircon barely worked. But I ate the happiest meal I've had in a long time:

So... The next day It was off to see the ruins around Old Sukhothai. First up...

Wat Sorasak

The guidebook doesn't mention this one. It was inside the city walls, but outside of the main central area which costs 120B to get in (with the bike).

Much newer restored elephants! Note his little elephant friend at the bottom of his trunk.

Lots of elephant friends!

Spent a long time trying to get the colours right on this one but I gave up. The smokey made everything horrible. Need  to carry around a white card for white balance!
Wat Phra Phai Luang

This is just outside the city walls, but inside it's own moat. It has it's only entrance ticket (120B, me and bike) but you can also get into Wat Si Chum with it.

What remains of a fairly rare walking buddha image.

And of course, somewhere to hide your trash... In some ancient ruins... At least they didn't graffiti up this one as well.  

Very decayed. That's more like it! Like no one ever spent time restoring it.

More of this complex, with the prang.

Probably restored... Compared to the other parts in this set of temples.
There's a working temple on the southern part of this island inside the moat (wait,  do you call the bit of land inside a moat?) and they're building a new one and calling it the NEW Wat Phra Phai Luang...

Wat Si Chum

This is a large building that houses a very large sitting buddha.

The view from the ticket booth.

The smaller sitting buddha in the temple beside this one. Massively wide view.

Wide angle view of the walls!

A tree!
After that I headed into the main central part of the old city. There were far more people crawling around this area.

Wat Mahathat

This was the largest inside the city walls, it has its own moat and its own walls! There are apparently 198 chedi within the walls.

Here's two of them.


More of the chedi.

More columns.

What's left of some chedi.


More again.

mmm Depth.
At that point my SD card filled up. Since it was just after midday and getting hotter again I decided that was enough temple lookin and headed back to start processing the photos. On the way back I stopped for lunch...


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