(December 4, 2010) Sukhothai and Chiang Mai
This day we must leave Bangkok and end in Chiang Mai, the
Northern capital city, but we’re not going to take a direct flight as
we want to visit Sukhothai in the middle. The way of doing this is by
taking a domestic flight to Phitsanulok at 7 AM. There we would take a
bus to Sukhothai and hire a tuk tuk for visiting the Historical Park.
Around noon we would take a coach to get Chiang Mai is around 5 hours.
The spots marked at map in our route for this day are:
C.- Chiang Mai
At 5 AM we’re at hotel’s desk where they have
ready our take-away breakfast, keep the fullest of our bags until our
return in a week and get a taxi for us to the airport. Somehow, the
taxi driver gets into bargaining while I keep answering to use the
taximeter. He starts asking 500 Bahts, then offers 400 and he finally
make us change of taxi. The new driver tries to bargain too with a
first price of 300 Bahts, but he finally sets the taximeter. We must
pay two tolls in our way to Don Muang airport, the old international
airport which is used now for local low cost airlines. The tolls costs
105 Bahts (45+60) and the taxi ride is 150. As there is no traffic at
these early hours we reach the airport in 20 minute, so at 5:20 AM
we’re checking in our baggage.
We’ve eaten our breakfast in our way inside the
taxi. The packs were quite ok, but I’m still thinking about what the
breakfast buffet is like in the hotel and I can barely keep a tear
inside. I have got the consolation our last day in Thailand we’ll be
there again for enjoying it again.
We have a nice flight with Nok Air where we get some water
and mini pizza. It lands on time and at 8 AM we’re with our feet over
the small Phitsanulok’s airport leaving the funny airplane. We’re
offered a taxi immediately to bus station by 180 Bahts, compared with
the price of Bangkok’s one I think it is too much and I answer we’re
going to take the bus. We spend one hour around before assuming there
is no buses or tuk tuks or any other option of leaving the airport but
the taxi. We’re requested more for it now, but we finally get the
The procedure once at bus station is
quick: 37 Bahts each and one hour drive to Sukhothai. We choose to
leave the bus in Old Sukhothai as is in there where the historic park
is and some of the buses to Chiang Mai stop there too. So we skip the
stop in New Sukhothai just to find ourselves in the middle of a road
where there is no station – where I thought to keep the baggage in -
but a hut where the people selling drinks try to help us as hard as
they can, but as they’re not speaking English, we’ve got a problem to
tell what we need. Our problems are al solved at once when a tuk tuk
pass by the road and answers 400 Bahts to my request os rate for
visiting the six temples I’m bringing written in a list. As this tuk
tuk is big enough we can bring the bags with us and keep them in the
vehicle all the time during our visits. This way we start our trip to
the historical park entrance thinking that, at the end, we must come
back to that road for a bus to Chiang Mai.
Our idea is visiting six temples: 4 in the big walled area of
the middle and two in the Northern area (there is an entrance fee for
each zone). Our driver has estimated three hours for this. The temples
1- Wat Mahathat
2- Wat Si Sawai
3- Wat Tra Phang Ngoen
4- Wat Sa Si
5- Wat Phra Phai Luang
6- Wat Si Chum
The tuk tuks here are from a different kind of the previous
ones. As we’ve been in a motorbike pulling to us in Siem Reap, and seen
Bangkok’s tuk tusk as a complete vehicle by itself, these here are
composed by a motorbike pushing a two-wheeled sort of trailer with two
rows of seats at each side, so the driver can see by the middle of
them, and covered by a cloth.
The place is quiet and beautiful. The lakes full
of floating lotus flowers and the ruins of temples with white Buddhas
and worn downs chedis are far enough from what we’ve seen in Ayutthaya
or Ang Kor as per deserving a visit by themselves.
Our driver stops at the entrance of every temple in the list.
distances avoid these visits to be able of being done by foot. The
walled area is large and flat and you can see the temples around from
the one you’re visiting at the moment. The last temple is amazing, with
a Buddha showing through the walls making a cube, but this Buddha is
huge. You can compare the size with me in the picture below.
This tour is very pleasant and it results to be quite shorter
than I thought when reading about this place: in two hours we’ve
visited all six temples and ready to go. I don’t know the reason and I
don’t want to ask about it but we’ve not been asked for purchasing the
tickets or asked for them which I know is 600 Bahts by the two zones
we’ve been in. Our driver seems happy with our timing and drives us to
New Sukhothai’s bus station instead than that piece of road we were
delivered at. It is a few kilometres of distance and it makes us have a
lot more of options as we’re going to be able of taking any bus to
Chiang Mai. So we buy some sandwiches and some other food to bring with
us and get into the 1 PM bus.
The trip is not as comfortable as expected because
is no way of running away from the freezing air conditioning inside the
bus and the more than six hours the ride finally takes. The TV has
showed a sort of local show with some comedians in gags with a curious
sense of humour.
We’re asked for 150 Baht for a taxi ride to our hotel from Chiang Mai’s
bus station. I know it is close to here, but we’re so tired for even
start a bargaining and we reach our hotel at 7:30 PM. The hotel is
really nice and it seems somebody has been thinking about how to make
every detail a piece of design. Banthai Village occupies both sides of
the narrowest street, with around just two meters between them. These
sides are full of well cared, beautiful and high tropical vegetation.
We don’t feel like going out but as we’re hungry we start
to the river looking for the famous restaurant Riverside. We can see
how different this city is to Bangkok: with narrow streets and lower
buildings with just two floors. It is dark and we’re walking through
lonely alleys but we don’t feel as something could happen to us as we
would in a place looking like this in our own country, this is the
magic of this country. The percentage of tuk tusk vs cars is a lot
higher here and, as we’re not reaching the river, we take one of them
to the restaurant by 30 Bahts.
The dinner is great and everything is delicious. We’ve ordered two Pad
Thais and BBQ ribs for me and filet mignon for my wife with a couple of
beers and the bill is 800 Bahts. There is also live music and our table
is by the river. A nice end for a long day, on which we’ve covered a
long distance in a bunch of different vehicles.
Tomorrow morning we’ll be picked up early for a
very special day.