With the end of first semester and three weeks of vacation ahead of me I decided to take a trip south to the middle part of Thailand. My mom is here for a visit so she came with and we took off for our first destination, Sukhothai. Sukhothai is filled with ancient ruins from the 12th and 13th centuries. Upon arrival we were able to locate a guesthouse and relax for the evening. In the morning we took a bus to the old city (where the ruins are located), which dropped us off at a bicycle rental place. We rented bicycles for twenty baht (about 70 cents) and took off exploring. The park was pretty huge and some of the ruins were amazingly beautiful. It was just relaxing riding around the park, admiring the scenery. We took at tuk tuk back to our guest house and planned how we would spend our next few days.
Our second stop was Ayuthaya, a city farther south, which contains several more ruins. We were able to rent bikes directly from our guesthouse and we spent another full day riding around and observing the sites. Ayuthaya is a much larger city than Sukhothai and consequently much more touristy but despite that, the trip was enjoyable. There were several more markets around some of the old temples and there were even elephant rides available for those who wished to make a tour via elephant.
Our final stop was in Kanchanaburi, which is home to the bridge made famous by the movie “Bridge over the River Kwai.” There is an amazing museum explaining exactly what went on during the Japanese occupation of Thailand and the brutal conditions suffered by the POWs who built the bridge. The museum, as well as the bridge were highlights of the trip for me.
We are back in Chiang Mai now and are having a few days of down time before heading north to Pai for some rafting and elephant riding :-)