A Bit of T L C - Part 5 - Suffering Sukhothai!

Sukhothai, Thailand November 2023

The northbound express train had sold out, so we had 6 hours on a bus to our next stop – the market town of Sukhothai, to see the Loi Krathong Festival. Relieved that my hearing aid wasn’t fully operational, as we were sat next to a Thai lady who seemed to be reciting “War and Peace” in its entirety as she didn’t stop talking for the entire trip.

The magic lamps

The Festival is known as ‘the festival of lights’ and was rumoured to have originated in Sukhothai.  Krathongs (small woven baskets) usually containing flowers, coins, and incense candles are crafted and sold along the banks of lakes and rivers, and are placed in the water to carry away bad luck. Being the birthplace of the tradition, the town’s festival was the largest in the country and took place in the Historical Park.

Float on

Reaching the park just before sunset, the crowds were already building as we strolled around the wats (yes, more wats – there was no escape from them!).  They did however make for an eye-catching backdrop to the sound and light show, which took place later that evening.  The pathways were lined with people selling their home-made krathongs, some extremely elaborate and beautiful, and some (very unethically) made from those polystyrene “wotsits” we’d seen in Ayutthaya. There were moves afoot to encourage more bio-degradable krathongs to prevent damage to the water and wildlife, but the huge catfish in the lake didn’t seem too fussy, gobbling up everything!

Miss Krathong 2023

The festival was attended by thousands of people and although very busy, the sword fighting, dancing demonstrations and beauty pageants, along with the lantern displays on the water, made it very interesting and picturesque. We sat on the lakeside to watch the fireworks and sound and light show but left as soon as the “battle” using elephants took place. 

It’s Showtime!

We had struggled to find any accommodation in town due to the festivities, and had secured the last room in a hostel just outside the city.  At £10 a night, we couldn’t complain – “flintstone” mattresses and pillows (rock hard seemed to be the default in Thailand!) but welcoming and just a short walk away from the bus station and “new town”.  In fact there, we discovered a great little bar/restaurant called “Choppers”, where the industrious waitress put on non-stop 80’s disco videos for me after I’d admired the mirror ball stirrer in my cocktail!  Sadly, I lacked the energy to get up and boogie…

My disco daiquiri

Next stop: Things go “awry” in Chiang Mai

More photos!…

Working the fields
Krathongs, krathongs and more krathongs!
Amazing what you can make with some cheesy "Wotsits"
A big bell!
The duel
Something a bit fishy
All your worries floating away
Christmas buddha
Do you think they were trying to tell us something?
New town grafitti
Part 2 of an occasional "Thai Bedding" series!

Who knew that catfish liked cheesy wotsits!

4 thoughts on “A Bit of T L C – Part 5 – Suffering Sukhothai!”

  1. It’s hard to keep up with you! All very colourful. Their festivals must be fabulous but can cause huge traffic jams xx

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