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Midway between Bangkok and Chiang Mai is Phitsanuloke, a cozy old town which holds a lot of stories as the town in the times gone by war the centre of many bloody fights between the Thai and the Burmese.

One of the largest attractions in the town is “the big temple” or Wat Yai as the Thai call it. In the temple you find Thailand’s most beautiful Buddha figure which is a 3.5 meters high, golden Buddha figure. The Buddha figure is one of three figures which were cast in 1,603 during the Sukothai era. Today the other two figures are inside the buildings behind the “Bot” (the most sacred building in the temple). The intention was to move this Buddha figure to Bangkok but there was a change of heart in the eleventh hour and a copy of the Buddha figure was made which was then moved to Bangkok. Thus the original is still in Phisanuloke.

The story behind the figures is that the town decided to make three Buddha figures but after various calculations and trials they discovered they did not have sufficient bronze to make all three. However, one day a stranger came to town. The man was dressed in a white gown and with long hair. He sat down together with the locals and told them how they had to cast the figures. When they did it the way the man suggested, they found that there was plenty of bronze for all the figures. They even had some to spare. They used the excess bronze to make the two figures which today stand by the knee of the Buddha. The Thais are convinced that the stranger was an angel sent by Buddha and the figures are therefore greatly appreciated by the locals.

If you would like to see how a Buddha figure is made, you have the opportunity in

Phitsanuloke. There is a bronze workshop which still makes the Buddha figures as they did when the figures were made for the temple. The workshop is opened daily from 10 am and 3.30 pm (2006).

About 30 kilometers west of Phitsanuloke is Thailand’s first capital Sukhothai.

Before Sukhothai, Thailand was a kind of principality, but Sukhothai was managed to gather it all under one kingdom. In the outskirts of the current city is the old town. In this part of the town you find the old ruins from when it was the capital.

One of the main traditions, celebrated by the Thais, is Loy Kratong (light festival) which originates from this very town and is celebrated in Sukhothai every year. Should you visit the town at this time of year, Loy Kratong is a lovely experience. Apart from the ruins, in the town itself, you can find other ruins in the area around Sukhothai, and considering they have existed for more than 700 years they are in very good condition.

Another attraction you may find in the town of Phitsanuloke, is the restaurant”Flying vegetables”. This is most definitely a show not to miss when you visit the town. It is recommended to combine the trip to the restaurant with a trip in a bicycle taxi. Please, bear in mind that the restaurant is only open at night.