Most tourists in Thailand either go to Chiang Mai and the north or the islands of the South. Central Thailand isn’t as enticing. I myself, when traveling through Thailand a few years ago, only stopped off at Sukothai and Ayutthaya.
To be honest, this is fair. The middle of Thailand isn’t as interesting or relaxing as the tourist hotspots. And it’s so hot. But there are some cool places in central Thailand, with tons of history and cultural sights.
One such place is Suphanburi (just called Suphan by the locals.)
Nahia Chai (LIFESTYLE AND SPIRIT OF THAI FARMERS LEARNING CENTER)
It’s an insult to call someone a buffalo in Thai but the weird thing is that actually buffalos are super rad. Here, you can feed or pet them and explore an open air museum, plus see all kinds of rice growing and get harvested.
Giant Mungkorn (Dragon)
Behold. The world’s biggest dragon statue. Inside is a museum, but it was too expensive so I can’t tell you if I liked it. Still with all the great statues (including the coolest horoscope statues I’ve seen in Asia) and pagodas and fish ponds and temples, I spent 2 hours here. The Dragon lights up at night too.
Hell Market at Wat Phra Loi
There is a great market here, one of the best I’ve been to in all of Thailand, scattered through the woods. But behind the market is the craziest thing you’ll see all week.
Adding new characters is a great idea. The murals here are like a mystery, with characters hidden amongst the traditional motifs.
Improbably, it was a facebook add that informed me about a Vegan daytrip. Well, FB must know I’m vegan and in Korea, but still it kind of surprised me. It was through a website called Playplanet, which I’d never heard of but looked kind of cool. The daytrip was expensive, but these things are in Korea, and just look at that menu. It looks like something my sister would eat in Portland, not the kind of grub available in Korea.
It started off with a long bus ride, then some “Traditional Korean dying” (which we hippies called tiedye.) The coolest part was for the yellow die we just used turmeric, which smelled pretty awesome. We then met some village elders who told us they used actual Ducks to eat the pests and thus go organic , and it is working well enough that 2 million tourists a year descend upon the town of 230 people to witness it. There are little statues of ducks throughout the village too.
Then we went to a fashion show put on by disabled Koreans while we drank lotus tea and ate Hangwa (Korean traditional cookies.)
The food, when it came, was pretty great. Buffet style in a historic Joseon dynasty house with no electricity and live musicians playing violin and a traditional korean instrument that sounded suspiciously like a kazoo.
But the whole thing was kind of weird too. Like, early on we learned that none of the people hosting the event were vegan or even interested in veganism. Frequently they filmed us and asked us questions about what we thought about s0-and-so. The people acted a bit strange and it almost felt like we were going to be recruited into a cult. While we were eating, the brought cameras and lights on us and asked us to sum up the experience in one word. So strange. In the end, we suspected (strongly) they were secretly making a promotional video for a catering company. Or something like that.
I dunno. It was a fun trip, and the food was good, but the bizareness of it kind of outweighed the postives. So all-in-all, pretty much your prototypical Korean experience.