Saturday, 15 March 2014

The climb to reach Wat Saphan Hin in Sukhothai


I am sharing this story to give a little motivation to family members and friends of those on board MH 370 as well as fellow Malaysians that for as long as we have faith and determination, we will always reach the target. And there will always be divine intervention up there to push us towards it.

Day one in Sukhothai Historical Park: after checking into the hotel, Pooh and I scan through the map helpfully provided by the hotel with highlights of “must see” temples or “wat” among the hundreds that scattered around this area. We’d planned it in the way that we will cover the temples inside the city wall; follow up with the four highlighted ones outside the city wall. Then, the next day we will go to Si Satchanalai Historical Park about 60km away and leave our third day’s plan with an open option.
The view from the bottom. 
As we started out late, after a nap and long lunch at Sivanna Restaurant which I considered the best in town, we didn’t get to visit the four temples in our plan on day one so it was rescheduled to day two. Upon coming back from Si Satchanalai Historical Park on day two, we headed straight to Wat Sri Chum, which contains a massive seated Buddha figure peering through an opening in its enclosure which was impressive.

It was a hot and dry day and I was a little tired because of all the driving and climbing for the past few days but Pooh and I were determined to push on. Both of us agree that we would rather cover all the sites we want to visit now, even though it is tiring rather than making a trip back again to cover what we miss. Our next destination are Wat Saphan Hin and Wat Chaetupon.


However, upon reaching the site with the signboard of Wat Saphan Hin, Pooh and I were wondering, where is the temple only to find out that it is located on crest of a hill which required us to climb for about 200m to reach. I looked at Pooh and said “No, I am not climbing. Enough of climbing for me since Guilin two weeks ago, I’ll wait for you in the car if you want to climb.” Pooh decided that she is not climbing too, thus we just took some photos from the foot of the hill.

Are we going to be just satisfied with this picture without getting to the top?
That night, both of us were busy checking our phone and browsing through the Lonely Planet for where to head next as we’d covered our original plan of Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai. Should we go to Mea Sot to cross over to Myanmar for the day? It is worth the drive of 8 hours? Should we go to Ramkheng National Park thinking it may be like the Doi Ithanon National Park near Chiang Mai where we can drive to the top which we did some years ago?  Is it interesting to visit another Historical Park at Kampheng Phet? At the end, we decided to head to the national park.

However, it wasn’t the national park that we thought of so we headed off to Kampheng Phet and visited more ruins. It was still early when we arrived back in Sukhothai. “Pooh, where are we heading?” I asked her. “Should we do Wat Saphan Hin?” I added. 

“Let’s go…..you just have to climb slowly, we will reach the top", she replied. 

The hard way up, treading the pebbles carefully, 
It wasn’t an easy climb for me but once up there, it is rewarding. Thinking back, there were so many ifs that could have just made us gave getting up to Wat Saphan Hin a miss. If we were had decided to head to Mae Sot and Myanmar, if it didn’t require a 4 km hike to get to the top of Ramkheng National Park that we chickened out, if we’d just decided to head back for an afternoon nap….Though it was only a short a few days trip to visit the temples, I learned a great deal of what determination can lead to. For as long as we continue to have faith, we will prevail at the end.
Pooh took this while I was enjoying the view of the plain below with dotted ruins. 
Many thanks to Pooh who’d been a very good friend for the past 8 years, the many journeys to many countries that we’ve did together and the many unthinkable mischievous photographs that we took together especially the one at Chuandixia near Beijing.

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