|Sokhuthai, Thailand||Week 153 March 5th - 6th 2014|
|Ready for a 7am start from the Myawaddy Hotel. The border is a few hundred metres away.|
|Parked in the middle of the street and jumped out for the speedy Myanmar immigration and customs.|
|Then the traffic jam to get to the bridge.|
| Somehow we change to driving on the left.
Unfortunately the bridge is blocked with traffic. A few cars left overnight had no drivers.
|We crossed the border river of Moei.|
| Entering Thailand was interesting.
The somewhat aggressive immigration clerk demanded an address in Thailand.
I hope she doesn't try to contact us there!
Customs for the carnet stamp was fascinating to watch as a very efficient young lady juggled requests from the throng around the window and the constant stream of paper from a computer printer.
A bit of eye contact and some long arms had her add our carnet to the stream. She somehow also managed to organise the copies of documents she needed.
First stop Tesco in Mae Sot, after about 5km.
Heaps of ATMs, supermarket, sim card.
| Forgot to mention currency in Myanmar.
Pristine US dollar bills are sought after. All else apparently refused. Only some bank branches are authorised to change money.
However, we changed our Indian Rupees (a lot because we couldn't buy diesel in Moreh) easily on the street and paid for everything in local currency.
There was an ATM in every major town we passed through. We used a couple.
We are now on Thai standard roads. An easy 70 - 80 km/hr on the sensible (left) side of the road.
|Up and over a mountain range, then flat river plain.|
|To Sokhuthai, the capital of Thailand in 13-14th century.|
|Complete with household rubbish bins.|
|We camped next to Wat Si Thon, outside the western wall of the old city.|
| Built around 1360.
The wat, not the truck.
The truck is not a wat.
|It has a vihara (meeting hall) and a mandapa ('altar'?).|
| We heard it as well as saw it.
Burning the sugar cane stubble.
| Next day we look at the old city centre.
A few people on bicycles.
Just a thought that the pain in both upper arms and fingers may be more like "rsi" than a herniated disc I thought it time to share the driving a bit.
Truck drivers seem to suffer, a result of the slight pressure required to keep the vehicle straight on a cambered road.
Regardless, its excuciating at about 3am after lying still. The panadeine are helping. Makes me very careful about moving!
| The Wat Mahathat is the dominant remain.
The bell shaped chedi (stupa) has Sri Lankan origins.
|The main chedi is apparently of lotus bud style (the top is different).|
| There would have been a roof at one time.
There is an ordination hall as part of the complex.
| There are 168 images around the base.
All walking in the same direction.
Some chedis have a base, others none. Some have terraced bases.
|The vihara (assemly hall) had a wooden roof above the brick columns.|
|We continue our search for chedi with different tops.|
| But they all seem the same to us.
This is Wat Tra Phang Ngoem.
| At Wat Sa Si we find a walking Buddha.
In Myanmar when we asked for Sa Si we received cooking oil.
This capital went into decline following a 15th century (?) invasion by the Burmese.
SE Asia has seen a lot of "to and fro" between Burma, the Khmers, and peoples from the north.
|We are defeated. All the chedi look the same to us.|
| But the layout of chedi at one end and vihara leading to
it is recognisable.
There is some small Khmer influence but these temples and Angkor Wat are like chalk and cheese.
| A lot of the temple furniture has been removed.
There are Buddha images remaining.
| Just to bring back a few memories.
| The out of place (to us) King Ramkhamhaeng Monument.
A recent addition.
He deserves a bit of credit for creating the historic park from overgrown ruins.
In 1990 entry fee was 20 Baht for each of 5 zones. Today it is 100 Baht and little evidence of more than one zone.
Which suits our camping.
| King Ramkhamhaeng left a bell which the big sign said
"ring for good things".
So we did.
We felt we deserved it.
In common with most overland travelers we find the highlights are interspersed with a never ending string of "problems" to be solved.
| Water pipes.
There were more in the museum, but no photos.
The historical park, and the museum, are devoted to the factual bit of what the archeologists have discovered.
From all the lakes around, and these pipes, we suspect there was a sophisticated water management system. But no mention of this, or life in the city.
| These railings, outside the museum, may have formed an
edge to the pedestals on which the wats are built.
The model of the area suggested only wooden houses.
| The outer wall is a couple of km on each side.
This is not one of the original gates.
Opened up for a road.
Three concentric walls with narrow moats between them.
After a quick banana smoothie and some noodles we headed back to our campsite to rest during the heat of the afternoon.
| And of course a little exploring.
Lots of small birds singing in the trees. We caught occasional glimpses.
Plus a working charcoal kiln, with smoke blowing away from us.
|Sam Phraya Beach, Khao Sam Roy Yot National Park, Thailand||Week 154 March 7th - 11th 2014|
|Bro||Sat, 08 Mar 14 07:05:17 +1100|
|Sorry to hear you've come out in sympathy with the collar bone - hope you make it home with no permanent damage.|