Thailand: Sukhothai & Chiang Mai
After a few days in Bangkok with Magali’s family, we all headed further North to visit Sukhothai the old royal city. We only spent 36 hours in Sukhothai but we still managed to visit the majors historial sites and the majestuous buddhas spread out in the city. The peaceful and quiet atmosphere of Sukhothai was greatly appreciated after the ultra busy Bangkok.
The hotel we were staying at was very relaxing with a great pool that we almost had to ourselves to cool off before and after our visits.
We then took a bus from Sukhothai to reach Chiang Mai. The city is not only smaller than Bangkok but the center is concentrated within the walls built by the Mengrai royal dinasty. We strolled a lot along the main and smaller streets of Chiang Mai to visit the temples with a very different style and architecture than what we saw in the capital. Chiang Mai is very touristic indeed but being slightly off season, the temples weren’t crowded. Chiang Mai has a lot of shops and cafes that offered a well deserved break between one Wat and another.
The next day, Daniel, Marco & Fabio visited the Jungle Elephant Sanctuary which was recommended by our hotel as we wanted to select a camp where elephants are treated well and where interaction with humans is kept under control (no riding).
The next day, Magali, Daniel and the youngest ones rode mountainbikes downhill the Doi Suthep mountain, 45 min. far from Chiang Mai city center, for more than 15km, quite an adventure!
we did specifically enjoy
- Sukhothai: renting bicycles and spending the afternoon on dirty roads to discover the various wat and buddhas statues. Magali’s favorite was the Wat Si Chum, a unique buddha surrounded by tall walls and worshipped by the inhabitants. The worshippers do regularly apply golden leaves on its right hand and nails, very fancy!
- Chiang Mai: The Wat Lok Molee temple and the Wat Kuan Kama temple that we called “Temple of the Little Horses”. The garden was donated by a soldier who loved his horse so much that he dedicated a temple to him. Both were only hundred meters away from our hotel and we visited them again on our last day.
- Chiang Mai: the coffee shop culture, a lot to chose from to have a cool break during the visit. Also a lot of small boutiques and shops proposing local handicraft as well as thai designers items.
A very nice spot: Chiang Mai Cotton, coton garments of very good quality and design.
- Sukhothai: Scent of Sukhothai a new hotel not far from the old city center, affordable rates and a great pool!
- Chiang Mai: The Green Tiger House, a hotel owned by one of our compatriot. We liked it very very much. The hotel is a peaceful oasis located north of the old city, close to everything. It has a little but well designed pool. The staff was extremely nice and helpful. The vegetarian restaurant was a great find and offered a good choice of thai and westerner food at very reasonnable prices. Marco and Fabio, our nephews, fell in love with this place and didn’t want to leave. They even asked us to cancel the accommodation at our next beach destination (which we didn’t do of course…ahhh teenagers)!
- Sukthothai: Thara Bar & Restaurant, waw waw waw…Superb restaurant part of the Thara Buri resort. The air conditioned restaurant is located in a separate cottage with some kind of long island style. A big wooden table to share with other guest, made it very special. The food was incredibly tasty and we visited place twice in 24hours! The staff was also great and super friendly. Highly recommended!
- Chiang Mai: Fahtara Cafe, nice patio at the back with a pond and a water windmill, very good food and reasonable prices for the location. The cafe is part of the Fahtara Spa complex, we didn’t try the treatments though, but they looked excellent.