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During our ride from the Vieng Taiwan Sukhothai Guesthouse to the Sukhothai Historical Park, the tuk-tuk driver tells us that everything is organized differently as in Bangkok. One does not bargain with the drivers, here you have fixed prices. A trip in the historic old town costs THB 50.-, around € 2.-. Also, you can book tours, e.g. for 4 hours. Unfortunately, we do not know the price anymore, but we think it was THB 300 (without guarantee). In any case, it is cheap and worthwhile. We accept the offer and agree on a tuk-tuk tour the next morning.
We arrive on time and the first stop on our tour outside the historic city walls is
Wat Si Chum
Wat Si Chum is surrounded by a wide moat and accessed via a wooden bridge. Already from afar we see the Mondop, a huge stone block. On the sides are the remains of former assembly halls with further Buddha statues.
Only when approaching, you can recognize a gap at the front of the Mondop. Behind is the huge Buddha statue of Phra Achana. The name of the Buddha image means, one who is not frightened. The statue is 15 m high and 11 m wide.
The outer walls of the Mondops have a thickness of 3 m. In the interior, which is reached by the narrow passage, one can hardly grasp the dimensions, since the room is very small. Probably, the Mondop once had a wooden roof.
The Buddha statue makes an elegant impression. Primarily the gold-painted hand hanging down. It is among the most popular photo motives of Sukhothai. King Ramkhamhaeng mentioned the Buddha statue already around 1290.
We continue our tuk-tuk tour. We are fascinated by the cows that live peacefully live in symbiosis with the herons between the temples.
On a small detour to a temple within the historic city walls, we reach
King Sai Lue Thai founded Wat Sorasak in 1412. This is documented on a stone inscription in the Ramkhamhaeng National Museum. The author was presumably an envoy of King Intharacha of Ayutthaya. He should protect the interests of the king against the vassals.
The Chedi was built in Sinhalese style, also referred to as Sukhothai style. This is supported by a square base, decorated with 24 elephant statues. One has the impression the elephants carry the Chedi on their backs.
After a short stay we continue. Already from a distance we see
Wat Saphan Hin
Wat Saphan Hin lies high on a hill. A path made of slates leads up. In view of the sultry temperatures, we do not want to walk up. The driver tells us later that there are cobras here in the woods. This supported our decision not to go up.
Unlike the city monks, who usually devote themselves to the study of writings, forest monks live rather lonely on hills or in forest areas to meditate. On the hill is a 12.5 m high standing Buddha statue and an upstream Chedi in the form of a lotus bud. Thanks to our camera, we can also recognize the objects well.
As we still have a little time, the friendly driver drives us to
On the way, we see off the road, mostly half hidden in the forest, the remains of a series of other Wat’s. But we do not have the ambition to get to know each one.
Wat Chetuphon is about 2 km south of the historical city wall and surrounded by a moat. Characteristic is an approx. 8 m high statue of a walking Buddha. Portraits of a standing, a sitting, and a reclining Buddha are in the other three cardinal points. On the site, you also see the remains of an assembly hall and a Mondop with another Buddha statue.
But for this day we have seen sufficient Buddhas and drive back to the Vieng Tawan Sukhothai Guesthouse*. We pass the mighty wall and see the moat behind it. A relic from the time, when the Thais were constantly threatened by the Khmer and tried to protect themselves.
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