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Saturday 17 May 2003
Sukhothai, Thailand

Sukhothai Historical Park

Sukhothai is separated into "new Sukhothai" and "the old city". The Old City is a 10 km/sq area full of old, old temples and thats where I took the moto today...

As bad-luck would have it, I walked into a pointy twig within minutes of having paid the entrance fee to the park ...this left a gaping hole in between two of my toes, 1/2 cm deep and about 1 cm wide. Soon the claret started gushing so I zoomed off on the moto to the nearest hospital (15 minutes away!). When I got to the hospital, nobody spoke English, but it was obvious what I was there for! Within minutes my toes were covered in Iodine and a wrap was put on the cut. I was also given some anti-biotics to combat any strange bacteria I may have picked up (lucky Ive stopped taking the malaria anti-biotic since Id reckon the mixture wouldnt be too good for the ol body). Total cost was 4 dollars. Puts our health service to shame that does!

Im also suffering from a mild stomach bug at the mo (since Im no longer taking the malaria medication, Im more vulnerable to getting the usual travel-illnesses)... maybe these anti-biotics will cure a bit of that too... Dont worry folks Ive still got the Arrete if needs be!

Soon I was back on the bike and returned to the park where I spent the rest of the day...

Sukhothai Historical Park (SHP - official name for the old city) is quite similar to the Angkor Wat park in Cambodia: paved roads criss-cross around green areas with ancient temples in the centre. The abundance of Buddha statues, though, is quite unlike anywhere Ive seen so far! On average these statues rise up 10 metres... sometimes 30 metres high!

The architecture in SHP is a mixture of Khmer (as in Cambodia), Bengalese (rounded tulip-shaped chedi (stupas)) and Ceylonese. This provides a fascinating landscape of wats and statues depicting Buddha in his various incarnations.

Sukhothai, meaning the Dawn of Happiness was the first free Thai city founded in 1238, by two Thai chieftains, Khun Bang Klang Tao and Khun Pa Muang , this ending Khmer rule from Angkor Wat.

Apart from MAHATHAT (the main large temple in the park which is surrounded by a moat), the best sites were outside the inner wall...

WAT CHANG LOM - this chedi features 24 elephant statues with their front-halves "coming out" from the walls.

WAT SI CHUM - This temple has a large 30 foot high Buddha statue sitting in the lotus position. The statue peers out at you as you approach the temple through a gap in the wall. It makes sure you PAY the extra 30 baht just to see this temple!!!

All in all an interesting, if not RIDICULOUSLY HOT, day was had... Tommorrow Ill probably get the bike again and explore further since the town doesnt have much on offer.

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