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We are staying in the unimpressive town of New Sukothai in central Thailand, using it as a base. The purpose of our visit lies twenty minutes up the road in Old Sukothai, the ancient city of the Sukothai empire. After tooling around here in the new part of town, we have already concluded that there isn’t much in the way of sights here. Little do we know that we are about to have one of our most interesting experiences in Thailand right here in this ho-hum spot.

Determined to beat the heat and the tour bus crowd, the alarm has gone off early, and we are off to visit the Old City. We stop to pet the cat we had tried to feed the night before when we notice a monk smiling at us, urging us to come with him to visit the temple complex just on the other side of this unpaved road. He stands tall in his flowing saffron robes draped around his gentle frame. He is not asking us, but rather motioning as if he had been waiting for hours, as if we are very late for a scheduled tour we knew nothing about.

In an instant we are following him toward the grounds despite our plans. When a monk offers to show you around a