It took us quite a lot of time to determine what should we do between Chiang Mai and Bangkok from where we fly to the Philippines. It looks like we had enough of Thailand so far so we changed plans again and cut them short. We decided to visit old capitals of Thailand – Sukhothai and Ayyutthaia. By the way I think every bigger Thai city used to be a Thai capital at least once in the past. Each one has its own ruined temples and is best visited on a bicycle. Ayyutthaia is close to Bangkok and quite crowded with people coming here just for day trips. Street vendors are more offensive, persuading you to step in for dinner or massage, so when I hear loud sawadikaaaaa once again, I just speed up. The city infrastructure does not encourage longer stays. The ruins are nice but a half-day visit is really enough and not that impressive to make your heart run faster.
Sukhotai is further north and away from the Bangkok – Chiang Mai train line, so it is much less touristy. The historical complex is like a huge park, much nicer to explore and street sellers not that harassing. Szymon decided to show us how he had forgotten the art of riding a bike so we have yet again one more little argument. As we all know already, a little bit of terror never hurt nobody, so after a few moments he reminded himself that bike-riding knowledge is not all lost. Moveover it could be fun too. Mum, could we stay and ride bikes longer?
It is quite possible my hair will be all grey before this trip is over.
When visiting the temples I realized that I really do not know much about buddhism. Digging the Internet for knowledge I came across brother Dawid – a Polish guy who became a true buddhist monk in a monastery in Thamkrabok, Thailand. Tadaa! So off we go to meet him, see the monastery and learn more about the tradition of monks living in the forest. I went through the whole website and Thamkrabok looks like to be a truly amazing place (please have a look at the website). We visit the caves in which the founders of the order lived (one of them was a woman by the way!), then huge monastery grounds, basalt statues of Buddha, workshops, healing hot baths, a lake, a crematorium, a cemetary for the more important monks and even a crocodile who lives there. We drank locak herbal tea (not the vomit-inducing one) and one of the monks gives us (and I still do not believe I said that) delicious home-made durian ice-cream.
The idea to get rid of money and things to regain freedom makes me think. The place radiates with peace and good energy. It is a pity we have to go – I would love to stay longer and I think I will come back here one day.