As most of you already know, I’ve been wanting to go to Sukhothai for some time now. So when the Songkran holiday presented itself, I decided to give Sukhothai another try.
Bus tickets can be purchased either at Arcade Bus Station or at a local travel agency. Considering the laziness of my friend and I, we went with the latter. We chose Travel Hub by Thae Pha Gate.
A second class ticket (all you could get from CM) cost 256 and there was a 100 baht service charge per ticket. No assigned seating = first come first seated, toilet free, A/C bus. Warning: CD is often on replay and it’s a 5.5-6 hour drive.
A first class ticket gives you more leg room, nicer seating, a snack and DVD movie of the bus driver’s choice. On our return, first class was an option so we “enjoyed” what could only be the discount/party pack of Jet Li’s oldest movies dubbed in Thai.
A VIP ticket gives you even more room and the same amenities as the first class, but a toilet which can be useful during longer rides.
*Buses in Thailand (and in other countries as well) like to stop along the way to drop off and pick up passengers in what feels like in the middle of nowhere. Excluding VIP buses, brace yourself for frequent stops, standing passengers, and maybe even a woman sitting on – say – your armrest so you and her tushy are nestled together in uncomfortable union.
Where to stay:
Treat every customer like they are a blogger. That is what I think when I spend my money at a hotel or restaurant, which, if you think about it, is really what we all are, bloggers, communicators, sneezers, people who share their experiences whether it be good or bad.
My friend recommended the Lotus Village because she had a positive experience a couple years ago. But now I feel it is not the great deal it once was. I stayed in the Lotus a/c bungalow because I wanted to splurge (1400 baht) but it was ok-aay.
I’ve stayed at a boutique hotel before in CM, 3Sis so I know what to kind of expect and I was disappointed with the breakfast included, and the room. The bed was amazing though. Very nice sheets, soft and the bed was delightful.
But here’s the kicker, the real disappointment, Lotus charged 2 baht per minute to use their Internet in the lobby. Seriously? I remember internet was free at 3Sis. Now if you bring your own laptop you can enjoy free internet at Lotus but, I was not impressed with spending so much of my money on a room that should have cost 1000. So I changed hotels.
Across from the ever popular Poo Restaurant (sweet gals serving) was a large sign that said, MG Guesthouse, so my friend and I checked it out. Small bungalows, with TV, better than standard Thai because of the greenery and care, the staff was nice, quiet, a good mix of Thais and tourists and only 450 baht. (MG House: 055.620.707)
We were there during the Songkran holiday so we found out the hard way – the real hard way – that bus routes were suspended during peak water playing hours from the Old to New city.
But here is what it looks like:
We also discovered the city bus (20 baht) goes to and from the bus station, so if you are willing to wait for the bus and save some money, you can catch it into town. If you stay at MG, then the bus stops near there first.
Otherwise expect to pay at least 50 baht to go into town with a samlor. If you are traveling alone, you might be asked to pay 100.
Overall though, my companion and I found Sukhothai to be a very walkable city. It’s just bloody hot. We only visited the Historic Park in Old Sukhothai and renting bicycles for 20 baht is definitely the way to go.
What to do:
Since we were there during a major holiday we didn’t experience an everyday town experience and many places were closed. But I would recommend going to Sukhothai for Songkran because it was much more contained and manageable than CM. The folks were apologetic when pouring a small bowl bucket over you or when patting you with powder.
I think it has more of the authentic Thai feeling. We saw so many children, as it does seem such a great holiday for kids. But if you are looking for the parties, 20something crowd, and being around foreigners, then the bigger cities will be much more to your liking. Either way, we’ll see how Songkran develops through the years…