Road Train

By Stephen Ewashkiw | March 23, 2014

11,618 km so far.

For only the third time on our entire trip, we have cycling companions. For today at least, we’ll be riding with Wibke and Thomas, a Swiss couple who have been on the road in Southeast Asia for the last 7 weeks.

Short Ride Through The Countryside

The four of us set out this morning for a short ride through the countryside, from Thung Saliam to the historical town of Sukhothai. It’s only 50 km, and all but the last 6 km is on back roads through farm fields and small towns.

Thankfully the road didn't stay this way for long, near Thung Saliam.

Thankfully the road didn’t stay this way for long, near Thung Saliam.

The roads were relatively empty, apart from the four of us and a handful of scooters and trucks, so we were able ride two abreast most of the morning. This allowed us the chance to get to know them a little, talk about their lives back in Switzerland, and swap travel stories.

We also talked about the political climate in Thailand, which we are all loathe to do with Thai people for fear of offending someone.

It is really nice to have new companions for the day.

There is a big difference between this kind of ride and our normal days. Our pace is slower, as conversation takes some of our concentration, slowing us all down a little. Decisions are harder to make, with more input into each choice. And while we are often left to our own thoughts when it’s just the two of us, silent moments are few and far between in a group.

Truckin' through the countryside, near Sukhothai.

Truckin’ through the countryside, near Sukhothai.

I really like the change of pace, the shift in our routine. But it also made me aware of just how difficult it would be to travel in a group for more than a few days: it can be hard enough to decide where to stay, or eat, with just the two of us.

Crumbling Glory

Historical Sukhothai is where the current Thai royal family began its reign. The city was the capital of Thailand for 200 years, beginning in the 13th century, and is like a mini Angkor Wat, filled with ancient temples.

ancient temples sukhothai

Remains, Sukhothai Historical Park.

Where once the temples were covered in plaster, ornate, and presumably coated in gold leaf, they are now just a shadow of their former glory, with bricks exposed and crumbling.

Sukhothai is further away from Bangkok than Ayutthaya, another former capital also filled with ancient temples.

statues in relief thailand

Statues in relief, Sukhothai Historical Park.

This means Sukhothai is by far less visited, and today as we wandered through the manicured temple grounds we saw almost as many stray dogs as other visitors.

It was incredibly peaceful, and the lack of tourists allowed our minds to wander and drift, imagining the splendour this site once held.

Before long, the heat of the day and the walking got the better of us, so we headed back to the guesthouse to finish out the day lying by the pool.  

Want to see the route map? View it on Ride With GPS.

Go top
Share via