A Travellerspoint blog

Sukhothai Loy Krathong Light and Sound Show

Peace and happiness after a difficult beginning

The light show in Sukhothai¸performed several times, accompanies a dramatic representation of the history of the area, culminating, after much warfare and foreign cruelty, in the peace and happiness of the reign of King Ramkamhaeng. As I do not speak Thai and therefore have only the vaguest of ideas of what was happening at any given moment, the pictures follow without comment, except that the last one is presumably of Ramkamhaeng’s queen releasing the original krathong.


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Wat Phra Pae Luang and Wat Si Sawai

Finally, to finish our tour of the Sukhothai sites, are a couple of Khmer style wats. Wat Phra Pae is posited by some to be part of the original Khmer settlement.

Wat Phra Pae

Wat Si Sawai

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Wat Sarasak, Wat Chang Lom, Wat Mahathat

More Wat in Sukhothai

Before continuing, I'd like to mention that you can look at large versions of the pictures by hitting "more images" under photography on the right, then navigating your choices of the sized available.

Some of the other highlights of our stay in Sukhothai were a visit to the restored Wat Sarasak, with elephant statuary surrounding the chedi, and Wat Chang Lom, also with the stupa bordered on all sides by elephant representations, this time largely unrestored. To my eyes the elephant ravaged by time still shows elements of personality, making me wonder if its creator had a particular beast in mind or whether familiarity with both his craft and the animal had made imparting that second nature. Or whether I'm just imagining things in the romanticism of a moment in the far east.

Wat Sarasak

Wat Chang Lom

But I’m forgetting the largest monument in the historical park, Wat Mahathat, comprised of several structures, including the very beautiful primary Buddah image, pictured below.

Wat Mahthat Buddha

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Sukhothai continued

Dawn of Happiness, Wat Si Chum,

Here, as promised, are some photos of the Dawn of Happiness celebration, a touching evocation of good fortune, at dawn as advertised, that we went to our second day in Sukhothai. The first of one of the monks accepting alms, the second of the jovial head monk (I surmised), blessing the crowd to end the morning's events.



That same day later in the afternoon, I took my bike to the north side of the historical park and visited another ancient Wat, Wat Si Chum, and took the pictures below, including the understandably much photographed hand of the Buddha there. The respose of the hand coupled with the serenity apparent on the face of the Buddha came together and provoked a sense of deep gratitude in me. The emotional reaction to seeing some of these ancient Buddha images is hard to characterize, but "gratitude" comes close to describing what I feel. For what? For the trip, of course, for the opportunity to see how much human devotion is capable of, and for the beauty of the frailty of temporal things. Unlike the Buddha, I believe that space, time, and the relationships therein are all that we have; but love and compassion help us make the best we can of that, which is not an inconsiderable achievement.


More to follow. I am hopeless behind in posting, and could simply give you one or two images from the rest of my stay in Sukhothai, especially as I am now in Chiang Mai. There are a number of things I would like to cover, though, so have decided to catch up slowly.

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Arriving and beginning our stay in Old Sukhothai

We arrived in Sukhothai around 8:30 after enjoying a good, but overpriced breakfast at the Novotel, and then, on the way to the airport forgetting to take Charlie’s camera out of the hotel van. The airport employees of Novotel were wonderful about contacting the right van and getting the camera bag to us in time to board the Bangkok Airways 7AM flight.
The airport here is owned by Bangkok Airways and the main building is a delightful open air affair with guards in helmeted British Empire get-up, standing at attention and looking incredibly cute and slightly embarrassed. Below are a couple of shots:


Once here at the Orchard Hibiscus guesthouse, run by inimitable Paulo and his wife, we walked around the grounds, shown below, and got the lay of the land, rode out on our bikes, thoughtfully available at the questhouse, and officially rented them from the bike shop in downtown Old /Sukhothai where I shot the row of pink bikes also shown below. Mine is boy blue, although I assure you that means nothing. Biking is the most sensible way to get around for us, though it took Charlie a day or two to get his cycling legs under him.


The next morning before dawn, Mike, Serafin and I went to the remains of the Wat Saphan Hin, where the Buddha statue shown below sits majestically and serenely at the top of a three hundred meter hill. It was soppingly humid yesterday morning, the mists shrouded the valley below, but the sun slowly burned through and gradually shined direct rays on the Buddha’s form, beginning at the base. Below are some shots that are, I believe, roughly chronological.


And finally, me beside the small Buddha to the right of the large statue:
This morning we went to a Dawn of Happiness Buddhist ceremony on an island in the Old Sukhothai Historical Park. Pictures of that to follow when I get a chance to download them off of the camera.

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