Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009, Adventure #1!

We took off on a road trip this weekend to Si Satchanalai Historic Park, a 13th century ruined city of the Sukhothai Period, famous for its pottery kilns. This is a fantastic spot if you're into history, archaeology, adventure, and ruins. You can ride around the park on your own through trees and hills, stopping at the various walls, gates, and temples that used to make up this city (the park's too large to walk but you can rent bikes at the entrance). It's very similar to Sukhothai but, in my opinion, nicer because it has very few tourists and it is not as "manicured" I guess, as the grounds of Sukhothai are.

You can go to Si Satchanalai on a day trip from Sukhothai or, as in our case, from Uttaradit. It was a 2 hour motorbike ride straight on highway 102, past the Lotus supermarket. The only trouble we had was as we neared the destination, when we accidentally followed signs for Si Satchanalai National Park--- not the Historical Park. Don't make the same mistake as you can end up going pretty far in the wrong direction.

Anyway, we packed a picnic lunch and took off at around noon, as we had slept in pretty late. It was a wonderful drive. It's sort of autumn here, which is strange, I always thought of Thailand as being perpetually steamy and hot. It's dry now and cool, even cold. Leaves are falling from many of the trees and if you squint your eyes the scenery passing by could almost be upstate New York. Let everything come into focus though and you realize it's all completely different-- the red and brown trees are varieties of bamboo and other monsoon forest species (we are not far enough south for rain forests), the cows are not the hefty black and white dairy cows but the gaunt Brahman cattle of Southeast Asia, and the smell of a wood fire is coming from a stilt home along a muddy river. It's these days-- not when I'm plodding along at my office or sitting at home all day waiting for my internet to get fixed, that I'm really glad I chose this lifestyle.

We passed signs (in English) for more historical sites and a museum which we plan to visit next time. There will definitely be a next time since we only had an hour and a half at the park before we had to turn back to beat the sunset.

Below are some of my favorite pics-- enjoy!

Wat Chedi Chet Thae

Al, Wat Chedi Chet Thae

Wat Chang Lom (back)

Wat Chang Lom (front) The animal statues were elephants, but most of the identifying features have eroded.

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