Sukhothai – Thailand – Days 107, 108

Mar 19-20, 2020 — days 107, 108 — Σ 6,843 km — winding down

It’s been a long time since my last post. We have been on the road without a break and I was too lazy to put in the effort to write about superficial details. World has changed a lot in the last few weeks and it still feels surreal what is happening around us.

We have decided to end our trip in a few days and to fly back home. The weather in Thailand has become unbearable the last two weeks. You cannot possibly ride after 11am in the stifling heat, and it doesn’t cool down as much after sunset. The country is experiencing a serious drought, and in coming weeks it will probably get worse and then the rainy season is supposed to begin. I have never experienced a monsoon. I’ve been told that it’s actually not bad, as the rain helps cool down the air in late afternoons, but our visa will be running out before the weather is expected to change for the better. Oh, and also, if we linger here any longer, we may have difficulty getting out, as people in different parts of the world are experiencing right now due to the pandemic.

Thailand as of today is not too bad in terms of how COVID-19 is progressing, with only 322 cases and 1 death reported, but you never know, the stats can grow exponentialy anytime.

Our current plan (and hope) is to reach Bangkok by train, try to stay away from people for a day or two in one of the most crowded metropolitans in the world, hop on a plane before getting sick, spend 18 hours in an enclosed space with hundreds of strangers, and reach Vancouver unscathed, to an apartment with almost no food and few toilet paper rolls, ready to lock ourselves up for 14 days.

Enough of the bad news, let’s talk about our time in Sukhothai.

Our routine for the last few days: we cycle only until noon, aiming to find a place to stay with a working a/c before the heat makes impossible to fool around outside. We take a quick shower, have a quick lunch, go back to our room to spend the afternoon until just before sunset. Then we either go out to eat at a restaurant, or bring in some food from the market and cold beer from a 7-eleven. Our day to Sukhothai was no different.

The road was flat as a sheet but the headwind made it horribly tiring. When we reached Sukhothai Historical Park, I had little desire left to visit the temples and ruins scattered around. It looked totally deserted, apart from a few workers sweeping the floors, and a lonely tuk-tuk. I wasn’t sure it was because of the pandemic or the heat, probably both.

There was a small town attached to the park and that’s where we planned to stay for two nights. Our hotel room had a clean bathroom and strong a/c (very important), and did not offer breakfast (the least we cared).

We spent the rest of the day in our cooled down room and went out only to eat something. Just before sunset, we payed a visit to the market and the budhist temple nearby.

Next morning we woke up at 6am as usual and cycled to the park gate to catch the first lights of the day on the ruins. The skies were overcast and not ideal for what we hoped for, but the serenity of the place paid for itself. Not sure why walking around an ancient site alone feels so different from doing it with a bunch of other people. Even having one stranger around alters the experience.

Wat Si Sawai

We spent a couple of hours in the complex before the sun went up too much and then found a café to cool down.

Wat Maha That

Fact of the day: the national flower of Thailand is called “ratchaphruek”. It’s bright yellow and wasn’t national until recently (2001). It’s found on a tree named Cassia Fistula Linn, also known as Golden Shower / Rain Tree.