Sukhothai and Sukhothai Thani
I took an all night bus to get to Sukhothai, something I'm still ambivalent about, because while I love traveling at night and seeing the lights of cars and the neons of towns and cities in the darkness (an "Office of Atoms for Peace", really?), I never manage to sleep properly. If I take into account that I had just landed in Thailand and didn't have a clue about what to expect about the countryside and, not going to lie, the fact that I was alone… well, sleep was out of the menu.
When I got there it was even earlier than I expected, not even 5am and had to take a private cab because no public transport was available at that hour, not even the songteows. It started to get lighter on the ride to my guesthouse, but even if the sunrise was starting to get on with the day, when we pulled in front of the garden no one was awake, obviously. My driver was kind enough to open the doors and made sure that I was safely inside the garden to wait for the owners. I think I waited around 2 hours, but they were 2 amazing hours. The guesthouse was in an small street by the Yom and almost no one drove through there and the silence was inspiring after the busy streets of Bangkok. I felt that I could breath again, I just sat by the fountain being eaten by mozzies and read with the growing light and listened the silence… until the public sound system decided to blast some kind of old song and a few announcements. I don't have a clue what it was, I don't speak thai, but it made me laugh despite how tired I was.
New Sukhothai is considered modern, if by modern you understand "always in construction", roads were being paved, a lot of houses constructed and there is always this kind of dust produced by exhaust. It's a kind of dry place under the strong sun. But you get to the temples of the old capital and everything turns lovely. The lantern festival was programmed in a week so a lot of people were there cleaning and arranging, whole schools seemed to use their students for help with the decorations and some where just visiting before the holidays and there was water and trees all along; and while the heat was terrible and I was sweating buckets a friend I made and I rented some bicycles and got to use them all day. The site is so big though that it never felt crowded and with the bikes we got a system of letting them under the shade and wander at our hearts content along the stupas and the buddha's. It felt like an oasis.