View our location map in Sukhothai
We decided to go to see the Sukhothai Historical Park, the sacred ruins of the first independent kingdom of Siam, at sunrise with the hope that we would see the coloured sky over the ruins. As it turned out it was a misty morning and so we didn’t really see the sun until it was quite high in the sky, it didn’t matter though because we still got to be the only people at the site for the first 2 hours we were there, and then there was just one other couple there for the next hour.
The park was even better than we hoped it would be and being there amongst the peaceful energy by ourselves was a perfect way to start our day. We spent time walking amongst the ruins and ride on our motorbike in between the sites. As the sky changed from misty to blue and the first light hit the temples it felt very surreal and was amazing to see.
By the time the main hordes of people started to arrive we were finished seeing everything we wanted to see (around 9am) so we went to an amazing Thai restaurant and had Sukhothai noodle soup which was honestly the best noodle soup we have had in Asia. We rode around for a while looking around the area and then decided to relax at our bungalow for a while. Our host suggested we ride the bike to see the sunset over the rice paddies so we decided we’d do just that. It was a little sad to see the flooded rice fields which provided a gorgeous setting for the sunset – it was like seeing beauty within tragedy. The farmers will be unable to use the rice which has been ruined from the flooding and we felt really grateful to be so lucky in life.
We also visited the food festival and have spent time just wandering around and reading on our balcony. We will probably spend another couple of days here before moving on to Chiang Rai. Our photos are here.
View our location map in Phitsanulok
It took us 2 attempts to leave Laos this time. Our first attempt was interrupted when we got to the train station in Vientiane – we had decided to get the train to Bangkok and then to Chiang Mai and then the bus to Chiang Rai – only to be told that the flooding in Thailand was so bad that the trains weren’t running. Flooding in Thailand? The complete absense of TV or checking any news websites had left us oblivious to the fact that 20 people have died in Thailand and Cambodia because of the worst flooding in 15 years – and with more rain forecast and water running into the lowlands from the hills, they were predicting the flooding would get a lot worse before it got better. So what to do? We could either cross the border and figure it out once we got to Thailand, or go back to Ben and Christerine’s house and use the time there to do some research on the internet about the flood affected areas and make a plan from there. Since a 14 hour bus ride to Chiang Rai from the Thai border sounded very unappealing, we opted to accept Ben and Christerine’s kind offer to stay the night at their house so we could figure out what to do next.
We decided to get a bus from Vientiane to Udon Thani in Thailand, and then change buses to Phitsanulok, and then depending on timing, change buses again and go to Sukhothai, an area in Thailand that we both wanted to see anyway and a good mid-point to stop off on the way to Chiang Rai. As it turned out, we didn’t get to Phitsanulok until 1.30am so opted to stay the night here. Once here we realised it’s quite a nice place, and so we’ve decided to stay another day or two here before going to Sukhothai.
So far the ultimate highlight has been just being able to wander around the streets without being covered head to toe in dust, many trees around, and general green-ness which is a welcome relief from Vientiane. Laos was the most awesome country of the trip so far but we are definitely not sad to have left dusty Vientiane. We found some ruins just on our street and spent some time soaking up the joy of just being able to be outside without melting from oppresive heat and being covered in dust. We even got to see the most beautiful rain storm we have ever seen… yay for Thailand! We love this country. Our photos are here.