on the fringes of mass tourism

Some of the ruins in the neighborhood haven't been visited yet so we drive to Si Satchanalai.
It was the second capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom and the residence of the crown prince in the 13th and 14th century. Today the sun already shines in the morning, the weather is getting out of hand. Mornings have been rather chilly as have the evenings. With temperatures rising we should rise up from the sea level. The mountains are already visible and we can almost touch them.
The Chiang Rai bus goes to Si Satchanalai from the new town bus station. Sukhothai consists of two parts: new town and old town with about twelve kilometers between them.
There are five more tourists interested in ruins. We all are chased out of the bus after an hour. Outside is a typical Asian village: tired houses, stalls, signs in two rows and the road in the middle. One couple of tourists spurts to the left, one couple to the right. We stay clueless in the middle with an Italian guy. Then we try to extort information about bus times and bicycle rental from the nearby people. All of them keep talking something unintelligible in Thai. At least we find a sign pointing to the ruins. They are five kilometers away. In 100 meters a new sign says it's four kilometers. Good progress. Right after the 4 km sign there's one saying 1 km but it only means that in a kilometers there's an intersection where we should turn left. We turn left and then right, annoy some more people and manage to convince a fancy hotel to give us three bicycles. I am the only one with a passport but it is only looked in, not kept as a security. The last kilometer is fast and smooth.
At the park gate work three men. Two of them give us three maps of the park and one explains it in English. The last bus back goes at four. How often do the buses go is a too complex construction. So that's it, the last bus goes at four.
We let the Italian go his own way and cycle to the left. Soon an ascent starts that is dangerous according to the sign. You have to push your bicycle. I don't find anything needing a bicycle up there on the map so the bikes stay next to the sign.
First there is noise. Then smell. The reason for this are thousands of nesting storks. In the nests are grey small storks in various sizes, with short beaks. In order to look more cute for their parents, right. We try to take pictures of all of them. Maybe some remain undocumented. There are two big stupas by the storks. And some ants. And a view.
Back down is a park with many trees, two quite well preserved big ruins and many smaller ones. Some Buddhas even have their heads attached. It is a nice peaceful place. Weird but all the tourists we saw on the bus are there.
It gets hotter. We make a rice-break. Along the road where we left the bus we find something resembling a bus stop. Two big buses don't react to our waving but the third one after an hour stops. In Sukhothai we ride a songtao to our intersection like pros. I can even say where we need to go, to muang kao, old city.
Later there is sunset and the cicadas.
Looks like where mass tourism stops there is natural Thailand with no English spoken.
in provincial capital

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