This review is so so special because it is the combination of many special exceptional experiences from several districts in Sukhothai province and this trip was invited by Sukothai Tourism Authority of Thailand last month.
And I have to say it is special also because it is a trip of beyond expectation.
Personally, I haven't been back to Sukothai for a long long time, counting on my fingers, it's more than two times every fingers combined, so....
Well, such a long introduction, all I really want to say is ....
This review will take all the impressions and classify them into categories so as to be a good inspiration for everyone to start a wonderful journey.
Sukutothai really isn't that hard for someone to start a journey, shall we start now?
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Let's start with the first Greatest... of the transportation.
In fact, there are many transportation modes to get to Sukhothai, whether by car, by bus, or by plane. And of course I choose to come here by flight, very time saving and convenience. The only airline flying to Sukhothai is Bangkok Airways. So, now let's start by enjoying the famous Bangkok Airways Lounge! I used to experience the Lounge once at Phuket international airport last year and was very impressed.
Now arriving at Sukhothai airport, a true first impression!
The airport here is really lovely, owned by Bangkok Airways. They provide zoo aquarium, simulation of Ankor Wat museum, and the most impressive part is organic garden. It make me wonder that if I'm really at the airport. So I highly recommend for those who fly to Sukhothai airport to spare some time for touring around, I can guarantee that you will be mutually impressed!
The second Greatest... of the comfortable place to stay.
Like I have introduced earlier, this trip will be varied. I got to experience 2 different types of accommodation with 2 different feelings.
I would like to start with the one near the airport, a 10 minutes drive will take you to Sukhothai Heritage hotel.
The Sukhothai Heritage is spacious with 2 big swimming pools.
The environment here is very beautiful, very suitable for someone who is looking for relaxation.
There are many room types available depending on your budget.
For example, this is Royal Suite room type, it is very spacious and very well designed in a luxurious Oriental Thai style, very beautiful and comfy.
I stay at Standard Deluxe, the most ordinary type, but still fully equipped with everything.
They also offer DVD player and you can borrow some DVDs at the counter, but the movie is quite old, so it would be better if you have your own DVDs.
For more information,Tel:(055) 647 567
Another mood of accommodation is a lovely cozy guesthouse style. Lotus Village Guest House is located in a market behind downtown city.
Here is unexpectedly shady with many different styles of Thai houses to offer as to accommodate a variety of customers.
I really like this kind of small resort, the owner is extremely friendly, easily accessible in a friendly-service manner.
If you have a chance to travel to Sukhothai and would like to stay downtown, this is another worthy choice.
For more information, Tel:(055) 621 484
The next Greatest... of merits and Thai beauty.
Over several days trip, what I impressed the most about the trip is the temples. Sukhothai style of delicate beauty was charmingly vivid in the architectures and on the Lord Buddha images. It is fortunate that Sukhothai have 2 Historical Parks. And now let's begin with our first Sukothai Historical Park.
Si Sattchanalai Historical Park
There are 9 temples situated under Si Satchanalai Historical Park, these include Wat Phra Si Rattana Maha That, Wat Chedi Ched Thaeo, Wat Chom Chuen,Wat Khao Phanom Phloeng, Wat Suan Kaew, Wat Nang Paya, Wat Khao Suwanakiri, and Wat Chang Lom.
The Wat (temple) that I experienced and impressed are considerably the 4 greatest, let's go take a look together.
The first temple in situated outer wall. But... it is a must to mention, that is Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat or Wat Si Mahathat Chaliang. According to Wikipedia, the history is as follows...
It is the biggest and the most important historic temple in Si Satchanalai - Chaliang. It is an outer Si Satchanalai wall situated temple. It has been promoted as first rank Ratchawarawihan or royal temple under Maha Nikai Buddhism. The temple is also called 'Wat Phra Prang", it is about 3 km. southeastern to the Si Satchanalai wall.
The main structure is the impressive Prang, built by laterite mixed with cement.The Prang was designed according to Ayutthaya style. The front of temple compound has the stairs, inside the compound have many religious paintings but much have faded away. In front of the Prang is a Vihara (Buddha image hall), which decorated with Manvichai big Lord Buddha image and to the right is beautiful standing Buddha images.
I also go to pay respect to the Buddha image inside the temple.
This is the Manvichai big Lord Buddha image, a Sukhothai style. In front of the image is the Sukhothai style standing Buddha images. The more I look, the more beauty they shine.
Our second temple is Wat Chang Lom.
It is located inside the city wall, almost the center of the Si Satchanalai city, in line with Wat Chedi Ched Thaeo.
The Sri Lanka style laterite stupa is located on the base of two tiers square surrounded by elephants. The name of the temple comes from the statues of 39 standing elephants around the first tier of stupa base. The elephants here are unique to other temples in the sense that the are separately standing off the wall with the size of the actual or larger elephants.
It is both unique and impressive picture, just imagine if the elephants were all in their perfect statue, how much more beautiful this can be!
And the next temple, you can get a little sweat because it's on the hilltop, Wat Khao Phanom Ploeng.
The temple is located on the Phanom Ploeng hill approximately 25 meters height, and near the city walls to the northeast.
In the past, it was mentioned in the chronicles that this hilltop was a place for sacred ceremony practice.
I think the highlight here is the Lord Buddha image with very little ruins. It is a worth to walk up stairs to see and you will not be tired at all, I promise (but you also welcome to take some rest along the way).
There are 2 way of entrances, first is via the front of the temple and the other is via the side with the spacious 6 meters aterite ladders.
A Sri Lanka laterite chedi. Small sanctuary behind all lie in ruins and a damaged Buddha image construct of laterite slabs and coated with mortar are still to be see.
And the last recommended temple is Wat Chedi Ched Thaeo. This temple is situated down the hill, no need to go hiking. It is believed that the name of the temple was named later after the local found many chedis (pagodas) around the temple.
The temple is situated in form of Wat Chang Lom, facing the southern east. This temple is also very outstanding than the rest of the temples in Si Satchanalai because consists of many different kind of chedis. Altogether,Wat Chedi CHed Thaeo have more than 30 types of chedis.
If you want to see a variety of Buddhist art, this temple is definitely worth to visit.
And now let's move onto Sukothai Historical Park.
A brief history for easy understanding is..
In the past, this is the center of Sukhothai Kingdom during the late 12-13 century. It was located at the old town sub-district (Old city municipality district now) Mueang district and Sukhothai Province, away from current Sukhothai province (the municipality of Sukhothai Thani) to the west about 12 km. on the highway number 12(Jarod viti Road).
The Sukothai Historical Park was honored as a world heritage site by UNESCO since 1994.There is a gate in the middle of the city walls on each side and inside are the remains of palaces and 26 temples
In case of exploring the park by driving around, once you get to the old city, you will see the tops of many different chedis. However, I recommend you to explore the historical park by biking. Slow life can help us appreciate things more and see more things. Here, it is open from 8.30-16.30 and the admission fee is 20 THB/person.
The largest temple is the "Wat Mahathat" and this temple is the temple that I'm most impressed during my Sukhothai trip.
This temple can be said is the most important of Sukhothai historical park, it was built since King Sri Indraditya. It consists of approximately 200 chedis.
This is the key temple of Sukhothai, it is the place for Lotus Bud shape Phra Mahathat pagoda which is the genuine Sukhothai art surrounded by 8 pagodas on the same base. The platform was once based the largest bronze Buddha image in Thailand, namely Phra Si Sakayamuni. At present, it has been moved to place at Wat Suthat Thep Wararam in Bangkok.
And now, I arrive at the temple close to the historical park area, I'm also very impressed by this temple, it's called "Wat Sri Chum"
This temple is also called "Wat Ruesi Chum" (hermit Chum temple). It is located inside the Sukhothai Historical Park. The temple is situated towards north eastern outside the city wall. It is a place for a huge Manvichi Lord Buddha image named "Phra Aajana". The Lord Buddha statue is enshrined in the mondop. Phra Aajana is very holy and uniquely charming, inviting tourists continuously pay the visit and worship.
I am so impressed by the gentle and delicate beauty of the Phra Aajana.
While I'm shooting photos, Buddhists and tourists coming to pay respect to the Buddha image continuously.
There is a story when King Naresuan declared the independence in 1584 and leading the army to defeat Chaliang city. The army had gathered the troops at this temple before going to fight with Chaliang city. Due to this was a fight between Thai people and Thai people, so the troops didn't have morale and didn't want to battle, the King Naresuan planned to encourage the troops by having one soldier climb up the stairs behind the Lord and spoke courage words to build up the morale for the troops to fight. Therefore, the legend of the spoken Lord Buddha begun. The King Narasuen also initiated the ceremony of "Pipat Sattiya holy water" (words promised ratification) at this temple.
The following Greatest is... of Food
This trip can't be completed without the most pleasant and enjoyable moment of food. Who would think that Sukhothai also have many variety and very famous food that is not less than any other country level famous food. This trip, I have traveled to many districts, and I will just mention the recommended menus here.
Let's start our first menu at Sawankhalok District This district is not big but also not small, hiding many good stuffs. It is often said that if you at Sukhothai but didn't get to try Sukhothai noodle, then you are yet arrived real Sukhothai. Because it has the identity that like no other kind of noodle, and it is so popular that you can find it anywhere in Thailand. Now, let's try one of the Sukhothai noodle legends at 'Meng Bami 100 years'. The highlight is that it features the home made noodles for many decades since the generation of grandfather until now the third generation of the two sisters.
The first menu is Yentafo Tomyum LA (Tomyum noodle in red soup), this menu was named like this because the recipe was created at LA and the cook brought it back to Thailand for us to try at Sawankhalok district. And this is a must try, you can have the tomyum flavor without having to add additional seasoning. It is noticed that if any restaurant can provide tomyum noodle without customers further seasoning, that restaurant is definitely selling well.
Followed by Bami noodle (egg noodle), not only does it look good, the taste is even better.
Last but not least, blueberry cheesecake. Yes, you read it right, it is really a blueberry cheesecake in the Sukhothai noodle ancient restaurant here at Suwankhalok. Normally, I'm not a cake lover because I don't like to chew much. However, this blueberry cheesecake totally change my mind, I feel in love with it since the first bite, the cake is so soft and the blueberry is so good, a bit sweet and a bit sour.
And now let's move onto our next recommended food, It is still a noodle restaurant called " Mai Krang Krung" (wood in the middle of the city). This is also another long time well-known restaurant in Sukhothai province.
The restaurant is located on the main road of the district, you can park at railway station and walk about 200 meters and you will see the restaurant on the same side of railway station with a clear sign.
The restaurant is decorated in Lanna design, Lana style is seen in every corner of the restaurant. The food here is very much in variety, many menus are offered. And of course, the noodle soup is the highlight here as you will see every customer order noodle soup. While I was eating, I saw some government officers coming to eat as well. So this restaurant is not only popular for tourists but the local people as well.
Let's start with Sukhothai noodle, the must ingredients are all there, let it be the roasted peanuts, beans cut to its askew side which is the identity of Sukhothai noodle, and also a homemade source that makes it different from the others.
My fellow friend not really like this taste because it's a bit too sweet. But I really like it although I'm not a sweet lover. Because the sauce was nicely mixed for good tomyum sauce.
And this is a fried rice, reasonable taste.
In addition, they also have fried noodle in soy sauce, I really like how they put the crispy pork skin into it, so it gives a good chewing feeling.
Dried sukiyaki is also tasty, not too greasy, just enough well mixed seasoning.
Now, let's look at some Sukhothai snack. Kuaitaew Pakmo is recommended to try. With the Sukhothai style, it will be topped with coconut milk and more colorful than those we usually see in Bangkok. Like the blue color will be made from pea flowers while green color is from pandan leaves.
Let's finish our meal with fresh sweetened natural drinks. They usually come in a nice package as well. For example, chrysanthemum tea, beal, or black iced-tea, all beautifully packaged and so fresh and tasty.
The next recommended food, I would just call it a meal rather than a restaurant. It is the so fancy breakfast at Guest House Lotus.
My favorite is the big pancake, the largest of I have ever had, it's so delicious and soft.
The pancake goes so well with a cup of hot cocoa or topping with honey is also another great way to enjoy it.
Or a menu like a soft-boiled eggs is also so colorful and yummy.
And the menu might not be the same everyday.
Having breakfast in a greeny resort, it is simply just my greatest breakfast of the trip.
The last restaurant is the highlight of the trip. I have a chance to enjoy this place along with other bloggers. This is the restaurant under the "Sukhothai Organics Farming " project, not far from the airport.
This is really another very beyond expectation place and a very good surprise one. Originally, I thought we just came to see how the farmers are doing organic farming, I didn't expect that we can also eat here with many abundant food to choose from.
The main focus here is to do rice cultivation. There are fields for rice species experiment and organic vegetable farming. And the procedure for organic rice farming is much more complicated than the normal rice farming that we are familiar with. Because here the main concentration is to cultivate rice fields without using any of chemical fertilizers nor pesticides.
I also just understand this concept from our trainer here, they help explain the differences between organic fruits and organic rice. I hope the above chart will help to clarify.
And now let's get to the point. The food here, vegetables and rice are all from organic farming. This menu of three colors rice and Palo with preserved salted eggs are so tasty that I wish I could have it at my home too.
Followed by deep fried Mantou, it is so exceptionally delicious. I used to eat similar menu in Bangkok, the taste was not compatible, I think the main difference is at the flour that used to make Mantou.
Next is fried rice leaves menu, both fashionable and rich in nutrition. Who would have thought that rice leaves can be so beneficial? This idea started from the farmers got these young rice leaves and didn't want to just throw away, so they developed into this menu. Thanks to them, so now we have this uniquely delicious menu.
Last menu is pork knuckle, a very familiar menu.
Now, let's turn to desserts. Sara Loykaew (zalacca in syrup) serving with ice, so fresh and tasty.
Here, they all serve extraordinary food in which all fruits and vegetables are 100% non-toxic.
And let's end our menu with rice leaves juice, the taste is very sweet, smell like the mix of rice leaves and pandon.
From this organic farm, I got young rice plant as souvenir. It is so cute, suitable for putting in front of computer to help us absorbing the radiation from the computer screen. This idea is so brilliant. I only have seen people using dwarf cactus but never once seen using the young rice plant. This Sukhothai farmers' ideas are so exceptionally remarkable.
Before leaving, I also go to buy some organic rice and get to see the organic rice selection procedure. Here, people will select the qualified organic rice by hand and thus no wonder why the rice is so good. Correspondingly, the price is also higher than the other kind of rice, like jasmine rice, brown rice, etc.
In the future, if you have a chance to visit home and garden or OTOP exhibition, please don't forget to visit Sukhothai booth and buy some organic rice, you will definitely learn more about organic farming and become more healthy as well.
In fact, besides Sukhothai, other provinces also start to have organic farming. I really want everyone to support the farmers to do organic farming, so that they can farm without relying on chemical fertilizers nor pesticides. If we can reach that stage, not only we can have healthy body, but the price will also be gradually reduced by market mechanisms.
Having been eating many good meals, now let's turn to some snacks. And this is the snack that only available here, at Sukhothai province in the whole Thailand, and that is...
"Liang Hun", it's the snack from China. It is a long yellow sticks, it may look like that of what's in crispy pomegranate dessert, but the taste is quite different. This Liang Hun is more thick and sticky, but when you chew, it's rather softer. Liang Hun will be cut into smaller pieces and put in a glass syrup for fresh drinking.
We are so lucky to have found it because usually they only sell on the weekends and will not park at any specific place but will drive around to sell. And they will only sell in Si Samrong district. The seller confirmed that this Liang Hun drink is only available here at Si Samrong. Previously, it was her father selling and now its her turn. It will be served with small spoon, indeed, very tasty and refreshing.
And another famous snack from Si Samrong district and the province can't be anything but Fried Beans. It is a country wide well known, so I also can't miss buying some home :)
This district is filled with fried beans, wherever you go, you will see fried beans. So we asked local people for recommended shop, and they tell us to go to "Kru Saiyud Fried Bean shop"
As far as I can see, there are many franchisees of Kru Saiyud. But the one we are going is the original shop and we also meet the owner. She allows us to go inside to see the process of fried beans cooking. The oil is changed everyday, and they need to fry two times before it becomes the fried beans distributing throughout the district. And because we are coming to this shop, we found the Liang Hun snack too as she also just parked at Kru Saiyud fried bean shop, I think we are very lucky for that matter.
And now come to my final Greatest.... of the most impressive place.
Let's start at Si Somrong district, the small district that I've got a chance to visit. Wat Soparam is the place for the province largest Manvichi Lord Buddha statue, and was named by royal family as "Phra Phuttabarami Si Sukhothai".
I would say that if you driving, you would definitely have to stop by. And we are lucky to have come stopped by too. This is because we asked one local about direction and he recommended us to visit this temple.
Once he knows that we come to do the province review and his district, he is more than happy and help us around. Sukhothai people are very kind .
Last but not least impressive place that I'm proud to recommend is "Talad Rimyom 2437" (Rimyom market 1974) in Kong Krai Lad district.
We go there before the market open so we get to travel around. We are also lucky to be accompanied by the chief engineer who volunteered to be our tour guide so we also learn a lot about tourism in this district.
Actually, there are many places that I want to recommend. Let's start by the temple that is sacred and well respect by the local people. That is "Wat Kong Krai Lad", it is located at Ban Kong sub district, the main Lord Buddha image here is " Luang Po Do Vihara Loy" (Buddha image Do floating Vihara) in Manvichai posture and was built since 1790s. There is a story about the holiness of the Buddha image. It was saying that in the past when Burmese troops attacked the city of Phitsanulok and has marched through to camp at this Kong village. The Burmese were so impetuous and wanted to challenge, so they fired artillery towards the Vihara and everything was in bad damage except the Buddha image that was seen as only had a bullet running through the left side of the robe.
And the story continued that due to the damage to the Vihara, the Buddha image had to be sat under the sun and the rain for many years. Until one lunar night in the third month, the villages near the temple heard some really loud noise but yet knew what was happening. The following morning, the villages found out that the Buddha image had shown the miracle and moved himself to be sat under Kun tree, which was far from the original place around 6 meters.
For the word "Floating Vihara", it came from the story saying that every year during the raining season, when the water over flooded Yom river and over to the temple, every other buildings needed to be lifted up about 6 cubits to be over the water, the Vihara of the Buddha image, however, was seemingly floating over the water. And in 1942, a big flood had happened again, and the Vihara also was floating, not at all experienced the flood. The villagers believed that under the Vihara probably lie the silver hunting ship or the golden hunting ship to support the Vihara to be floating.
Two year ago when the place experienced the greatest flood, this Vihara was again proved its holiness and miracle, because even though the flood was so devastated, none of the water got into the Vihara. And this was the story the chief engineer told us when he introduced the temple.
Rim Yom market is a newly open floating market, and due to the love and the proud of the Kong Kri Lat villagers towards the place , the Tourism Authority of Thailand give the full support to the place.
This market will take us back to retro Thailand in the past, we will see the traditional costume and some cultural games, and of course, the old time food. The Rim Yom market is indeed full of love, liveliness that is rarely to find in other floating markets.
The food is so much, all are worth tasting, like noodle in coconut shell, ancient Ping snack, Pak Mor snack, etc.
The closer to night, the more crowded of people, very lively indeed.
There are also some performances, I really like these kids, they are so bright, cheerful, and adorable. Today they also have the performance contest.
This photo was captured when the kid was being putting make up on, I think it's really cute.
Some more information before I say good bye to this market.
Rim Yom market is situated in front of 'San Jao Po Dab Tong" (golden sword shrine) or at the entrance of Wat Kong Krai Lad. It opens every first Saturday of the month, from 16.00-21.00, free shuttle bus is service from tourism office in Sukhothai at 17.00 and from Kong Krai lad at 19.30. It can be said that the market is only open once a month.
The Greatest... before saying good bye
One thing that impressed me so so much is Smiles.
During my trip, this Thai smiles really impressed me. It is easy to find, it's at every place I go, It's so simple but so powerful. Just open our mouth then we will get the so touching smiles back.
Whether it is the smile of the children in the market in Sawankhalok district...
From your driver tricycle in the market...
From the fruit sellers in the Rim Yom market...
Or from the grandpa in Rim Yom market...
Every smile all along the trip is also come from us who give the very same smile too.I hope this review also bring a smile to everyone who come to visit ^___^
How is it of my Greatest of ... Sukhothai trip? I have to admit that I'm really impressed with this province after many visits. And I'm also very glad to get the invitation from Sukothai Tourism Authority of Thailand.
This interesting province is still having many more impressive moments awaiting for your visit. I hope the greatest from 1twenty2 can be a good inspiration for you to start your own journey to travel to Sukhothai, the province that is full of attractions, beauty, and impressive culture.
Sukhothai people are also very kind and generous. This time I will say good bye with the very impressive photo of the sunset taken at the Sukhothai airport.
This photo really reminds me of my childhood when I saw the similar picture of oil paining in a minibus or hanging on the wall, except that this one is from photographing.
Where I will take you for next trip? please keep following ^___^
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