Ayutthaya to Sokhutai
Thursday 19th October 2023 – Ayutthaya
We spend our last day in town having a walk to another site.
In the evening we had a meal, sitting next to a couple. We start talking to them, and as it happens the woman is from Laos. We get plenty of tips and advice on places to stay and about money ( bring Thai Bhats!).
We also met a Swiss guy. He got caught in Thailand during Covid over 3 years ago, while on holiday, and ended up retiring here. He lives in an island down south. He gave us advice to avoid the rain season in some locations by giving us some alternatives. Great stuff.
It was nice to meet some tourists as most people we see, wandering around or even groups, or families, having a meal together, seem to be all glued to their phones! No one seems to talk to anyone else anymore, which is sad. It is the best way to have first a hand news and recommendations and tips! And make new friends.
Friday 20th oct. 2023 – Sukhothai
A Tuk tuk picks us up at our hotel and take us to the bus station which is miles away. Tourists still ignore everyone else. Still, we got chatting to and English lady who lives in France. Her name is Joanne. She is also going to Sukhothai.
The bus is comfortable with plenty of leg space and aircon. They even offer complimentary bottle of water, a small packet of crisps of some sort, and a mini orange juice brick.
We arrive in town around 6pm. The station is deserted apart for few Tuktuks. For an extortionate price they take us to our hotel in the old town.
The old town is near the archeological sites.
Sukhothai was the capital city of the first Siam kingdom from the 13th to the 15th century. The site is enormous. The Kingdom of Sukhothai is accredited with the invention and development of many characteristics of Siamese (Thai) culture.
We booked a hotel for 3 nights to give us time to explore.
In the evening we walk along the main high street, full of carts selling any type of food you could imagine.
We sit at a little restaurant in the street and I order a Morning Glory ( deep fried) and some fried rice. The Morning Glory is a Thai dish of green vegetables, stir fried with garlic and chillis. Very popular in Vietnam too. This one is deep fried in a light batter and served with a spicy side salad. The combination is glorious. Best greens I ever had!
Thursday 21st Oct. 2023 – Sukhothai
The central complex is so huge we decide to rent bicycle, as advised in our guide.
We spend few hours exploring the complex.
Later in the evening we get back to the high street and take some photos of the many carts selling food and the central modern temple in its island. We get some food from a cart: mixed balls of each stuffed with: crab, tuna, cheese or fish. It’s ok. The best is tuna!
After that we continue walking along and bump into Joanne who is finishing her meal. We end up spending a good while with her while sharing a beer, exchanging stories and plans. She is a property developer in Marseille and her stories are certainly interesting! She is off the next day and will also end up in Chiang Mai. Might meet her again!
Friday 22 Oct. 2023 – Sukhothai
We go back to the same bicycle shop to pick up two bikes for the day. We even get a small discount as the lady recognises us!
We cycle further away to the west and north complex. Cycling in the country side in these little roads would be great if the heat and humidity were not so crippling!
In the evening we go out to the high street again to sample the food from all those little food stalls. We try some chicken satay that is absolutely divine and some mini coconut pancakes that, I believe, are a specialty of the region.
Monday 23rd Oct. 2023 – Chiang Mai
We get on our bus soon after 11am. The seats are not so comfortable with not much leg room. We still get aircon and a complimentary pack similar to what we had in the other bus.
It takes about 4 hours 1/2 to get to Chiang Mai. The city is in the hills and still very hot but less humid.
We explore the place in the evening to locate the bikes and scooter rentals.
Our plan is to rent two scooters for about a week to explore the hills and villages north of Chiang Mai. There is a popular loop of about 750 kms to do with plenty of stuff to see, visit and do.
Tuesday 24th Oct. 2023 – Chiang Mai
Our first mission of the day is to find scooters in good condition to rent for few days. The one we rented in Ayutthaya had had a very hard life and the brakes barely worked. As we plan to go up into the mountains, brakes and a good engine are a must!
We go first to the places with rave reviews in Google!
The first one has few sorry looking scooters available.
The second looks ok but want a huge deposit in cash. The 3rd looks promising. All can store our luggage for free during our trip. We cannot strap two big backpacks on two scooters! We will take the minimum needed.
As we walk back to our hotel we find another place. The lad there asks us our plans and immediately says we need almost new scooters to climb up the mountains. I can believe that. In Vietnam we had two Yamaha YBR125, and even with gears, it was a struggle to go up the mountains! I can’t imagine with automatic scooters.
He also talks about insurance and medical insurance. No one else talked to us about it. He shows us two scooters that would be ideal for the trip. A 125cc and a 155cc. They look in mint condition.
We negotiate a discount and decide to reserve the scooters and pick our helmets so he can put them aside.
So now we just need a local SIM card so we can WhatApp or phone the shop in case of problems. That is our second job of the day.
Tomorrow the adventure begin! I can’t wait to get on two wheels and go!