In Sukhothai, the cheapest accommodation is also the most beautiful. There are only single rooms. This little town is not exactly on the main tourist route (but not too far away either). Here you come if you want to see more. All the travel tips I read about this place mention, that one can discover a very similar temple complex with palace ruins in Ayutthaya, just an hour from Bangkok. Both sites are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so neither is an insider tip. To get here, you have to get off the train and transfer to a bus or travel to Chiang Mai with two different buses (from Bangkok). It's not difficult to get here but won't happen without effort either.
As always in Thailand, I pay admission and get virtually no information about the ruins that lie ahead. One Buddha or another reveals that I stand in front of a temple, but apart from the hint that this was once a royal palace, there is nothing to be seen except a few bricks. The meticulously mowed lawns and the occasional tourists on bicycles give the impression of a theme park. Coincidentally, it's also historical, but without exact information. Europe spoiled me. Of course, I see all this without any context. There are many pieces of information in my had, but I can't sort through them. The full picture eludes me. The temples here do look different to the ones I've seen so far, but that's easily explained. They are historical. The bricks that are spread over vast areas expose the foundations. An interior doesn't seem to exist. Or were the pillars disposed of? I can't figure it out, and I'm not interested enough to google it. When I leave, I know as much as when I came.
I am exhausted but also not genuinely interested in my surroundings. Once again I have reached the point where everything new seems to be the cheap reproduction of a third-rate travel catalogue. It all looks nice, but the crux of the matter passes me by.
My personal highlight is the single room that awaits me for the next two nights. There is one power outlet, a bed, a bedside table and a door. At night, only the slight wandering breeze of the continually turning fan cools me down. All this is a rare luxury. Although I've gotten used to sleeping in refrigerated rooms, the sultry night in the aviary is a welcome change. In the morning I'm woken up by the beating of wings and the scratching of claws from the birds, which disappear in the gap between wall and roof. Then they walk up and down the thin wooden ceiling until I'm awake.
I spend my second day in Sukhothai in my four wooden walls. I go out to get food and devote myself to the photos and the texts that have to be prepared and translated. That's what brings me joy. My head is full and can no longer process new information. At the beginning of my journey, when I was at the end of my strength, panic overtook me in these moments. Today it's a subtle pressure, a never-ending lousy mood that is a signal that something is wrong. Soon this problem will fade away. Soon I'll be in Rome, and then I'll almost be in Sydney. I am counting the days.
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Write a comment
Ray Pearce (Tuesday, 10 September 2019 15:00)
I get that you are burned out but maybe it is time to take a step back and get some perspective. You are immensely privileged to be able to see Sukhothai. Your tone is of the tired, 'seen it all' traveller. If you feel you have 'seen it all' then it is time to go home. I too have reached that point at times during my life...if you feel that you are doing no-one any favours, just spreading your weariness. Go home and come back refreshed. Sukhothai is interesting...but you need to have some energy to realise that.
Isabelle (Tuesday, 10 September 2019 18:20)
Hi Ray, you are completely right. If you experienced travel burnout yourself, you’ll know that realising that takes time and is similar to what I ended up doing. Getting to that point is part of every long term travelling journey. And I’m interested in dissecting the good, as well as the bad and the ugly. That’s why my tone changes often from the amazed, to the overwhelmed, to the annoyed and the petulant. Thanks for reading! Cheers