Despite all its problems and troubles we bid a fond farewell to the country and foremost the people of Myanmar and headed back to the frontier with Thailand. Entering back into Mae Sot, the town we had departed from a month earlier we collapsed in front of a tesco superstore having trekked from the border bridge, suffering from both the heat and the weight of our sacks. We must have looked truly pitiful as a very nice guy on a scooter offered to take us one by one the short journey left into town, which we gladly accepted. Our main reason for overnighting in Mae Sot was to consume a burger from our favourite border town burger joint Famous Rays, who employ young refugees from neighbouring Myanmar giving them a chance where many others don’t ( governments of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to name a few.)
The following morning we headed off in the direction of Sukothai, another ancient capital of the Thai empire, through beautiful mountain ranges dotted with national parks. As ever with journeys to and from Mae Sot the highways where littered with police checkpoints making sure there were no illegal Burmese migrants wedged in amongst us. Upon arrival we found ourselves a decent little guesthouse and set about exploring on the free bikes provided, dined on our first Pad Thai since arriving back into Thailand in a lovely old woman’s front room and took it easy for the remainder of the day.
Morning came and it was time to discover the nearby historical park, awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for its cultural and historical significance. We rented a bike and sauntered around the temples and monuments within the confines of the ancient city. The architecture was nothing we hadn’t seen before in Cambodia or Ayuthayya but it was a lovely park to walk around snacking on our Kg of lychees and trying to imagine how the place would have felt at its peak. We moved onto Wat Si Chum to see the huge sitting Buddha monument peeking out of its enclosure of brick and stone, you only really get a sense of its size when you’re standing right at the base of a colossal foot.
On the way back we drove past a few sign posts for a national park and decided to spend the rest of our day exploring. Eventually ending up at a waterfall that the locals informed us was running dry this time of year, we took a stroll into the bush anyway and lost ourselves in the forest for an hour or so before coming to a secluded monastery where it seemed even the monks were absent. At some point Sarah managed to burn her leg on the exhaust pipe leaving a lovely circular burn that you see a lot of tourists sporting here in Asia. We got lost on the way back to Sukothai which neither of us minded as the landscape was spectacular, rolling green hills and lakes passing us on both sides as I let our little bike stretch its legs on the meandering deserted carriageway. We finished the day with a cold one back at the guesthouse having dined on Sukothai’s street food stalls.
We tend to favour travelling over land the majority of the time as travelling all this way just to fly from one destination to another seems a little wasteful, not to mention the financial implications. However we have made the journey South to the peninsula before from central Thailand and our patience for overnight coaches is starting to wear thin so we secured ourselves only our second flight so far for the trip down to Krabi leaving from Bangkok. We headed to our favourite city for the final time catching up with old friends, capitalising on JJ market, taking time to relax in lumpini park before our traditional visit to the the cinema (Mad Max – Sarah has only now recovered) and enjoying our final mango sticky rice from our favourite stall off Silom road.
Next stop Krabi for beaches and climbing.
Photos here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk8CKbps