The Ancient Cities of Northern Thailand (part deux).
In part une, we told you about Ayutthaya and so it follows that part deux will be about, you guessed it, Sukhothai -- another world heritage site and former capital of Siam. If you read the blog religiously, you'll know that we love to catch a train. So, we did just that from Ayutthaya to Sukhothai. It took about 6 hours and cost 170 baht (£3.50). We caught the 8.37 train, as whilst it has a lot more stops than the express 9.37 one, it's muuuuuch cheaper (the express train is 700 baht each!). It's worth noting that the seats are a bit uncomfortable for 6 hours so I hung out the sides a little bit which was both fun, and a lot less sticky than the carriage.
Similarly to India, the train snacks are great. Oli got this pad thai for 10 baht (20p).
The first thing you should know about Sukhothai, is that the bus station goes to the new town, where most guesthouses are, which is around 12km from the historical old town, home to the wats. We stayed here, at the Baan Thai guesthouse which was amazingly good value, and whipped us up a cracking massaman curry at very short notice. (They also drove after us at speed when we left our phone behind...legends).
I had romantic notions of touring the temples on a bicycle, maybe with a flower in my hair.....but it's too damn hot, so we got mopeds again (winning formula at the moment). I'd totally recommend doing this, it's cheap, convenient and so much fun. The roads in Thailand are mostly really safe and we only drove during the daytime to keep things super safe.
We were immediately struck by how beautiful and well kept the historical park is. It's beyond peaceful, and we saw a few people with picnics (great idea). There is, however, a great value food market -- we paid around 30 baht for a curry with rice. Highly recommended.
The park is huge, and to do it in one day on a bicycle would be really tough, but on a moped it's a breeze. After we went to the central, we drove around the outskirts too where there are yet more temples, and more interesting scenery. You have to pay again for each section;100 each for entry, and 30 on top for the bike. It was definitely worth it, but you could just do the central bit as that's the most picturesque. In one of the other bits (I think it was west.....) there's a scout training camp. We bumped into them on some sort of training malarkey I guess, and they were loving life.
Overall, I'd say that I'm team Sukothai. The accommodation is ace, the food is ace, but most importantly -- the temples and surroundings are stunning. A great place to chill out after crazy Chiang Mai or Bangkok. Speaking of which, Chiang Mai here we come.........