We went to Thailand on a brief holiday from Japan in 2004. As we were mostly interested in the sightseeing in Thailand, we only visited the North of the country. Instead of heading to the coast, as most travellers would do, we left Bangkok quickly for Ayutthaya. From there, we did a big loop around the sightseeing spots in Northern Thailand.
The highlights of our sightseeing in Thailand
In Ayutthaya we went to see such top visitor attractions as the Buddha head embedded in a tree at Wat Mahathat. We also liked the stupas (chedis) at Wat Si Sanphet. Ayutthaya, which was a mighty kingdom in the 14th to 18th centuries, is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Next, we went to Sukhotai, the former capital of the Kingdom of Sukhotai. Originally, it was a Khmer settlement. Since we had been both to Cambodia and to Laos before visiting Thailand, we were already somewhat familiar with Khmer art, but also curious about the specific Thai styles.
Travelling individually in Northern Thailand
We also wanted to see nearby Si Satchanalai, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage inscription of Sukhotai. In order to get there, we rented some simple (and not really well-maintained) bicycles. Riding on the often dirt roads of Northern Thailand was not that easy, but fun! In general, we liked moving around by public transport and on our own, away from the tourist crowds. That way, we felt that we could experience far more of the country than other travellers do who spend much of their time with other tourists.
Sightseeing and more around Chiang Mai
We took a bus along the border of Thailand with Myanmar in order to head further north. Coming through Mae Sot, we had a chance to see a more Burmese style of Buddhist art.
In Chiang Mai, the main city in Northern Thailand, we also did some sightseeing in the major temples such as Wat Jet Yot. Even then, we were surprised how many tourists there were in Chiang Mai. Even though it was long before digital nomads could work everywhere – the Internet was not good – many foreign travellers just spent a lot of time in this relaxed town.
There were all kinds of tours and activities on offer in Chiang Mai. It was thus here that we first tried rock climbing as a day excursion. Afterwards, in Japan, we took a rock climbing course and have been climbing ever since, in various parts of the world.
NB: Our trip to Thailand was not sponsored in any way. We paid all expenses ourselves
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