What Did This Place Look Like Back in the Day? Imagining Sukothai, Thailand

What did this statue once look like?

What did this statue once look like?

As people flock to temples in Asia, some new, some old where the beautiful sculptures are still relatively intact, I like to hang around the ruins that look like…well they look like ruins.  Temple columns with exposed bricks.  Heads of Buddhist statues lopped off.  Faint resemblance of a sculpted story of a battle chiseled on a temple wall.  I enjoy marveling these ruins so that I can wonder “What was once here?  How majestic had this looked back in the day?”

This one is still relatively intact...love the facial expression

This one is still relatively intact…love the facial expression

In the Sukothai Historical Park in Thailand, I discovered temple ruins with gigantic statues of Buddhas, Boddhisatvas and also elephants, all of which had seen their heyday back in 12th – 13th Century.

The beauty of traveling to Sukothai is being able to view a snapshot in time of this once great palace area resplendent with colorful statues and walkways.  Now it’s a UNESCO heritage site for thousands of tourists every year, and it’s a quiet tourist destination that is often overlooked on the map for those in favor of Chiang Mai, Bangkok or the number of gorgeous islands in Thailand.  I loved my brief time in Sukothai as I wandered around and imagined the hustle and bustle of this once great kingdom that ruled for 200 years.

Those were once elephant statues that greeted royalty

Those were once elephant statues that greeted royalty

 

Imagine the temples that would've housed the Sleeping Buddha

Imagine the temples that would’ve housed the Sleeping Buddha

Cooking Class in Chiang Mai

Delicious fruit and snack plate

Delicious fruit and snack plate

One of the highlights of my time in Chiang Mai was taking a cooking class.  In a span of three hours, we made fish cakes, two curries, Pad Thai, onion rice, banana fritters and mango pudding.  Awesome! We assembled as a group in the morning, explored the local market to pick up fresh ingredients and then we came back to chop, cook & eat.

I loved learning about the spices we threw together to make the mysterious Thai curries that just melted in my mouth.  And I  learned how to make the infamous Pad Thai noodles which was ridiculously easier than I thought.  Finally, the coconut chicken curry soup was heavenly.  DSCF1262

 

The toughest part when I returned home to NYC was finding the ingredients, and fortunately, I found a lovely Thai grocery store in Chinatown that had it all.  If you ever venture to Chiang Mai, take a cooking class!  It’s well worth it.

 

Banana fritters and mango pudding

Banana fritters and mango pudding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yummy coconut chicken soup

Yummy coconut chicken soup