Monday 24 May 2010

Top Tips for Enjoying a Top Time at Sukhothai

Enjoyed the lovely drive this weekend from Bangkok up to Sukhothai. You can belt up the #1 Highway in about 3 hours, or you can take a more scenic route via Phitsanulok and stop for lunches and coffees/teas along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for some really snappy coffee shops attached to some of the bigger petrol stations -- none of this Nescafe 43 beans in a polystyrene cup truck-stop nonsense. And some of the rest rooms wouldn't be out of place in a Hyatt Hotel, jing jing!

This is a particularly good time of year to do this, as the Flame trees are out in full orange bloom, and the rice paddies in this flat, flat central Thailand section are positively luminously green.
So here's my list of 'best ofs' from Sukhothai.

Listen carefully, as I'm only going to say this once: The gates of Sukhothai Historical Park are open from 6am but the tour buses don‘t disgorge their milling masses till much later. So, go early in the morning, beat the crowds, enjoy the spiritual solitude, and be awed by the first light glinting off the Buddha figures and temple roofs. You’ll experience the real essence of the Sukhothai era this way. Jing jing!  Bike rent os only 30 baht for the day.

Now, elsewhere around the town, make sure you check out as many of the following as possible:

Ananda Museum Gallery:

The 33-room Ananda Museum Gallery Hotel blends traditional dark woods and furniture with modern minimalist aesthetics to create a pleasing fusion. Located in the city centre, it has the Sanghalok Museum adjacent where centuries-old ceramics and weapons can be browsed.

Tel: 055-622428.

Dream Cafe:

Both suitably stylish and tropical, Dream Café offers cozy indoor and outdoor dining options from 10 to 10 pm daily. Put energy lost from sightseeing back with their signature fondue hotpot of noodles, meat and vegetables. A little more expensive than other eateries in town, but worth it. Take mosquito repellant.

86/1 Singhawat Rd. Tel: 05561-2081

Chopper Bar:

Sukhothai is light on for night life by Thai standards, but the most popular watering hole is the rustic Chopper Bar where you can enjoy live music on the front terrace or open-air garden behind.

96/1 Prawet Nakhon Road, Sukhothai. Tel: 055-611190

Lotus Village Spa:

Temple-hopping can be hard work on the legs, so chill out at Lotus Village Spa in the heart of the city, with lotus ponds, tropical gardens and teak buildings taking you back to the golden age. Enjoy their signature 90 minute aroma massage for 1200 baht.

170 Ratchathanee St, Sukhothai. Tel: 55 621 484

Next blog will be on the Thanaburi Hotel, adjacent the Sukhothai Historical Park. A charming little place.

Meantime, enjoy the tranquility ... Shhhh!

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