Up at a fairly reasonable time – and have actually gotten use to the time change! Off to breakfast then check out and get on the hotel vans to head down to the bus. On the road at about 8:00 AM.
We head south for a long drive. After one bathroom break (where I find a nice container of banana caterpillars) we stop for a little longer at Payao Dam – a lake that supplies water to much of the surrounding area. We wandered down to the lake and were not impressed. Lots of dead critters – and one very big snail that was scooting along! Also saw fishermen casting their nets as well as other revelers all around the lake. In Thailand it is a national holiday - Visakha Bucha – a day commemorating three important events, the birth of the Lord Buddha, the enlightment of the Lord Buddha, and the pass away of the Lord Buddha.
We drove on for another hour and stopped for lunch at the teak furniture capital of Thailand. Nice looking stuff but a bit big for the suitcases. We also stopped at the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand – a massive figure. Quite impressive but the rain damped things a bit. There were water buffalo grazing below the status and there was a new temple under construction. A brief stop but quite interesting. Kitty petted one of the buffalos.
After another hour and a half on the bus we stopped at Sri Satchanalai Historical Park with ruins of a Buddhist temple dating back to 1250. To get to the park we had to cross a 100 meter suspension bridge over a river – it swayed a bit but was a lot of fun. The ruined temple, Wat Phra Si Rarana Mathatat, was partly reconstructed with many of the Buddha statues redone but several left as they were found. The temple had been buried under layers of earth due to the river flooding. Interesting place but it was raining (the beginning of the monsoon season) so a bit damp.
We headed out again for the final leg and arrived at Sukhothai around 5:15 and checked into our rooms. As dinner was not until 7:00 Kitty, Alice,, and I got some bikes from the hotel and explored the area. There were some new ponds and lots of construction. We came across an enclosure with albino wallabies and others with swans (black and white), Guinea fowl, and a variety of other birds. Then we biked around some lotus ponds then back to the hotel.
Dinner was another buffet meal with a wide variety of dishes – including curried prawns, beef with oyster sauce, and “four color vegetables.”
Dinner was followed by a celebration of Loi Krathang – floating crown – where you send a small crown shaped float made with folded banana leaves, a flower, and a candle and incense off into water while making a wish and paying respect to the water that we all need to live.
Finally, back to our room and settle in for the night. Yet another day of adventure.