Today we were off round the Historical Park once again but this time with two twists, cue melodramatic music … the first twist being that we were off once again using a moped always a wee bit unpredictable and, twist two, after many deep discussions last night Liz had decided that she to wanted to ‘ride the hog’, as it were! The only thing which put a bit of a downer on our ‘rock couple’ vibe was the fact that the moped had lurid pink trim – argh!
I started off as ‘ped’ captain and rode us out of the busy modern town and off towards Old Sukhothai Historical Park so we could go and have a look around those Wats which were sited a bit further out from the main, more popular bunch. On the way there we stopped off at a shop that sold everything so that I could buy a kagool, mine (bought from Vang Vieng back in Laos) was now over 50% hole, so it would not do that great a job of keeping the rain out and already this morning it was looking a bit cloudy and a bit miserable. Hopefully my new rainwear would do as promised and keep the rain out but would it be as light, airy and generally well ventilated as my old trusted companion I wondered?
Before we zoomed off into the country though we just took a bit of time to have a look around Wat Traphang Thong a more modern looking Wat and with good reason too as it had all been rebuilt in 2005. Originally it had been constructed on an island in the middle of the reservoir from which the Wat took its name and with the bridge over to the island on which it stood and the fact that it had a sitting Buddha made it quite a quaint and novel looking place to go to.
After this quick stop off though we were going to concentrate our efforts on the Western side of the Historical Park and I must admit to it being a bit more of the same as it was yesterday except that the first couple of Wats were a bit of a hill climb each. The first Wat was called Wat Saphon Hin and here we had to climb up the steps up the hill to go and see the standing Buddha at the top. The views were really quite nice even if there was a little mist on the ground. On the way down Liz (Easy Rider) Hughes had decided that it was now or never, she was going to be chief ‘hog rider’! So she jumped astride our mean machine and gunned the engine, meanwhile I jumped behind her holding on for dear life and then with a blast of flame and we were off at Mach 3 or possibly thereabouts.
The second hill temple Wat Khao Phra Bat Noi was another that was quite precarious to get up as, once again, it was up a hill but this time the steps of the walkway were quite elevated off the ground and somewhat uneven and with the mist a bit slippy as well! It made no difference we soon enough got to the top and admired the view.
Liz seemed to be getting the hang of being in charge of the moped so I began to relax a bit more and watch the scenery. The scale of Sukhothai Historical Park is quite huge. On our travels we have already been to Angkor Wat and although this place is not as big it is still on a ridiculously big scale. Nowadays we seem to associate superstructures, towns and cities as being the sole domain of the modern age but the Khymer temple complexes are more than a match and in addition brilliantly made with such a very high degree of skill. The numbers of craftsmen involved must have been immense and then in their day the complexes would have had numerous wooden structures as well, various buildings, living quarters and the like, to me it is always staggers me when I try to consider the scale off these things.
We had a bit of a ride around the immediate area and then reached the point whereby we had worn out the Wats or possibly it was a case of visa versa. Our map indicated that there may be a waterfall or caves in the distance however we were starting to find that our backsides were definitely not made for such distances by moped. At one point, and though it was only by our reckoning, we felt we were within 3km of a cave but on reflection this was just the Thai writing on a sign looking a bit like what we thought the word cave looked like!!!
We rode and rode and rode and our skinny butts finally could take no more so there was nothing for it but to turn around and come all the way back again – argh!! It was my turn at the helm for the return journey though. Once back at the hotel we had to rest up for a while simply so our aching bums could recover, I had to sit in a basin of cold water mine was so sore!
On the night time we ventured out and ended up at …. a Biker’s Bar, quite appropriate for us bikers eh lol! Once here, besides swapping biker-like stories with each other as there were very few other people in the place to swap them with, we each had a Thai Curry. I ordered Fries Potatoes (French Fries) as my side dish which where I come from are Potato Fries with a liberal helping of salt, here for some inexplicable reason it tasted like it was the other way round. Liz had herself a very nice Fried Rice dish – good choice! By the time we ended up at our eventual table, we had already tried out two other tables and moved on because of the climate and the midges! At the end of the meal the owner, obviously detecting that we were fellow bikers, sent us over some fruit – as bikers ritually do! Besides the chips though the food was good enough and once fully satisfied we grabbed ourselves a last beer before we walked back to the digs to have another last nightcap.