Published: April 30th 2012April 29th 2012
Leslie and Tiffany are spending their week-end in Bangkok with their Mum. So I found myself with some "me time" to enjoy. We are just back from two weeks adventures, and I've spent part of my week runing all over in Vietnam. The logic would be for me to stay in Bangkok, enjoying long mornings, and hitting the nightlife...well, not this week-end.
I've been living close to three years in Bangkok, and Sukhothai is...or rather was still on my list. Slight problem, beside old ruins, there is not much...so not really something for the children. So here it is, I'm heading north for the week-end on my own.
Sukhothai is 440km north of Bangkok. Easy option would be to fly there on Bangkok Airways...for a minimum of 5000 bahts...no thanks. Second option , rent a car and drive up...on my own, not really attractive. The third obvious choice is the direct bus to Sukhothai. It would take 5 hours and 30 minutes if the buses didn't switch into "let's stop everywhere" after Phitsanulok. Meaning, it's a ride of just over 7 hours in a comfortable bus...costing just 326 bahts....that's one gin tonic in a good
bar! I could also have done a mix of train and bus, but that's way longer.
Most people will either visit Sukhothai through a tour group visiting the North of Thailand. Another no thanks. Independant backpackers most of the time consider to stop here on their way north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. For me, Sukhothai was the destination. I did a little internet research few days ahead...trying to figure out a bus timetable...that failed...and a place to stay...succeeded on that one!
I drop Tiffany and Leslie to their Mum's hotel at 9pm on Friday night and made my way after this to the Mochit Bus Terminal in the North of the City. Got there around 10pm, to find out that all bus for the evening/night...were full...damn it, it's starting well. To my defense, it seems that the last bus is leaving somewhere around 11.30pm, reaching Sukhothai at a ridiculous 5.30am the next morning. I came back home, got a short sleep, and wake up again at 5am...and this time got a ticket for the 7am bus....and the 7 hours ride!
This is April...not yet the rainy season...I can tell you
that everybody around the region is waiting for the rain...because the place is seriously boiling....with temperatures at lunch time easily over 40 degrees celsius...and a huge level of humidity. This doesn't make it easy to visit old temples during day time!
I made it to the bus terminal of New Sukhothai and took a motorbike to the Lotus Village. Here, 700 bahts (23usd) would have me a lovely tek room with a fan. What a lovely place, and what a serious bargain! To top it up, I had a serious bed, and not one of these backpackers dig...nice!
I made my way to Poo Restaurant to rent a motorbike for 24 hours....200 bahts...another bargain!
After a late lunch, I made my way to the Old Sukhothai. The road between the two is effortless and 12km of a straight road. I bought my ticket and spent few hours here, from 4.30pm to 7.30pm. The site of Old Sukhothai is actually huge. You pay to access the main temples, but there are many more around the area, spreaded even between homes.
Spending time here before sunset was something. First, the
place was empty. Tourists arrived here mostly around 9am...and trust me, they must hate it with the sun and the oppressive light. But by 4.30pm, the sun was lowering, and those lights were amazing. I've got only one serious regret, that I'm not a better photographer, with some higher-end equipment...because this place is sumptous.
The sunset views were amazing...but there was more. I first retrieved to Old Sukhothai village for a little beer before heading back to the temples just before 7pm. Once a week, every Saturday, they light the all place between 7pm and 9pm...and it seems that nobody knows about it...and it was magic!
Enjoy the pictures, I had a wonderful time...one more time, not many tourists around. Later on I drove back to New Sukhothai. Not much to write about this little town, it's really quiet. Got a fast dinner at the Chopper Bar...another cheap and good thai restaurant, before heading early to bed.
Next morning, another early rise, at 5.30am. This time I couldn't even pay the entrance fee...the gate was opened, but I was way earlier than opening time in Old Sukhothai, so I simply enjoyed
the place. Next stop, was a basic breakfast, and by 9am, I was done. The heat had arrived at the same time as the tourists...not for me thanks. 9am is also the opening of the little Rhamkhamhaeng Museum....30 minutes later I was on my way back for a little nap at the Lotus Village.
I spent my afternoon enjoying a lazy long lunch, few beers and good reading. By 5pm, it was time to go back home...7 hours on a bus, 20 minutes by taxi to home...and in bed!
Next week, we are back to the country side, for some fun adventures...this time with Leslie and Tiffany...so more to come very soon...
There are more photos below