Journey to the unknown : Thailand : From one city to another
Day 8 in Thailand and I was back at the starting point Bangkok. I had taken the overnight train from Nakhon si Thammarat and I believe the fare was around 800 THB for the AC Sleeper train. I had debated between where to go next during the night and the choice was difficult to make. Should I go to Ayutthaya or Sukhothai? Both were beautiful relics of the Thai past and both had enough written about them. However finally I decided to go to Sukhothai which was a more recent kingdom but brutally plundered. The city of Ayutthaya reminded me a bit of the Indian city Ayodhya and hence I kind of decided to skip the same. I reached around 8.30AM though the scheduled arrival was 6.30AM. Its not just Indian railways that is late 😉
Had I reached around 6.30AM I could have taken the earlier train to Phitsanulok. However the next train I got was a AC seater train at 10AM. Phitsanulok is the nearest city with train station to Sukhothai. I think it was 200 or 300 THB for the ticket and I got there around 1.30PM. I was surprised to see a lot of tourists actually going there and most of them were the backpackers type. I guess backpackers go anywhere and everywhere. There was a moment of soft romance between a couple a few rows ahead of me.
It triggered (more like avalanched) thoughts about Life, Love and Living. Isn’t it the endless debate that when you are single you feel that company is everything and yet at times when you are committed you cannot bear the companionship? What is the right path? Is there a right path? My thoughts wandered on the middle path of Buddhism. Maybe that is the only path. The path that avoid extremes. The path that goes right between companionship and solitude. Now all you need is a partner who understands these concepts and life on Earth can be heavenly as well. Memories from just two weeks ago had come rushing back and making me realize that there was yet another reality that I was part of once upon a time. However I brought myself back to this present moment of now.
From Phitsanulok I took a city bus to Sukhothai city. So there are technically two Sukhothai’s. The Sukhothai new city which is now where people live and it has a bus station etc. And then there is the old city of Sukhothai that is more of a national park now with preserved ruins of what’s left. The friend (Win) from Nakhon si Thammarat had helped me find a guest house just next to the bus stand. It was a little difficult to find but when I did find it. And when I did actually find it it felt heavenly. It was like the perfect little houses situated in the middle of a green oasis. The houses were so beautiful I could not have imagined them to be there. And the room rates were 600 THB per night.
The first thing after the long journey was a much deserved shower. On trips like these you realize what a shower is worth. If you have been out for 2 days with no place to crash and you are feeling hot, tired and dirty you would probably give an arm and another leg for a long hot shower. After the shower I felt my strength recover. I took the remaining daylight as a sign of wandering time.
I walked out amidst small curvy roads and walked around on the street. I say street because there was only one major street that was also a highway and also the road to the old city. I think this was where I first had the confidence to wander and eat street food. I had coffee at a small cafe and brought a chocolate rotee which is basically an omelet with chocolate sauce. I also picked up a pad thai for dinner later. While walking I found this food market. It had all kinds of meats available with some seeming to be of a huge fish or something. Perhaps it was whale meat or perhaps not. Then I saw all kinds of roasted bugs and people buying them like snacks!
When I got back to the guest house I found a lady come to me and give me explicit directions on how to get to old city. She advised me to start early before the sun starts to burn! I took that advise and thanked her for her gesture. Where else do you find people come to you from nowhere and give you a map and directions to go somewhere without them being a tour guide or something? I ate my quiet dinner and went to bed early. Tomorrow would be a early start I told myself.