We had been on a 10 days trip to Thailand . It has to be one of the most amazing trips ever. Highlight of the trip was the ROAD TRIP, 1200 km from Bangkok to the Golden Triangle (Myanmar-Laos-Thailand border).
Day 1 : BANGKOK TO AYUTTHAYA : Started off from BANGKOK city at 11 am towards AYUTTHAYA. distance around 85 km. Lovely roads and what a longgg flyover that takes you out of Bangkok to Ayutthaya. Traffic is organised, people from India will appreciate, Thailand is better version of India as far as road sense is concerned.
we reached Ayutthaya at around 2pm and had lunch at a riverside restaurant before the sightseeing.
- AYUTTHAYA : It’s a UNESCO heritage site with its famous ruins. History says that city of Ayutthaya which is surrounded by river on all sides was the ancient capital and was the crowning glory of Thailand till it was destroyed by the Burmese invaders which turned into ruins. Ayutthaya has many ruined temples and palaces which are some of the most enduring icons of Thai Buddhism.
- Day 2 : AYUTTHAYA TO SUKHOTHAI : Next destination was sukhothai which was good 370 km away. It took us around 7-8 hours to reach.En route there are plenty of shops selling local thai handicrafts. Plenty of fuel stations, 7 eleven shops, well maintained restrooms and rest areas by the highways.
- Reached Sukhothai at around 5 pm . We stayed at Siam village, a resort just outside the historical park.
SUKHOTHAI :Again an UNESCO world Heritage sight. Quite far from bangkok but its really worth a visit. Apart from historically significant temples, you can relish the charms of thailand’s rustic lifestyle in this old city. Beautiful monuments and picturesque surroundings .
Day 3 : SUKHOTHAI to CHIANG MAI : After a quick breakfast and sightseeing, we started our journey towards Chiang mai. We drove 350 KM across the rural sparsely populated northern thailand. Beyond sukhothai the whole landscape changes and you drive on scenic curvy roads along mountains with beautiful greenery.
We reached Chiang mai in evening around 5pm and planned to go to Chiang rai next morning. Chiang mai is a wonderful city ,we stayed for 4 days after coming back from Chiang rai & Golden triangle day trip, you can find our Chiang mai experiences in the previous blogpost.
- Day 4 – CHIANG MAI TO GOLDEN TRIANGLE : As you drive further north from chiang mai towards the thailand -myanmar-laos border , you are greeted by long winding roads which are absolute drivers paradise .
- CHIANG RAI – around 200 km from Chiang mai ,best known for the WHITE TEMPLE. The route is quite scenic. Enroute you find natural hot water springs about an hour’s drive from Chiang mai .
- LONG NECK VILLAGE : ABOUT 22 KM from chiang mai is the KAREN LONG NECK VILLAGE .Visiting the LONG NECK village is one of the most exotic experiences in thailand, straight out of national geographic magazine .
- NOW comes the most exciting part of the journey, while in the long neck village we befriended few tour operators at the village who suggested that we visit the golden triangle ( where Thailand- Myanmar- Laos border meet) which was good 40 km away. Since it was around 3pm we could meet the 6 pm deadline easily, only that drive back to chiang mai would be night journey ( against our principles, we usually avoid night drives as far as possible for safety concerns) .
- The impromptu trip to the GOLDEN TRIANGLE ( where Thailand-Myanmar-Laos border meet ) truly made our day. The golden triangle designates the confluence of the Ruak river & Mekong river.
- We made a speed boat trip to donesao island, Laos ( no visa required ). The joy of visiting a new country ( LAOS ) made our road trip a real success !!
- Night drive back to chiang mai was uneventful. Must say we found Thailand very safe even at night. We reached chiang mai at 12 am
TIPS ON ROAD TRIP IN THAILAND
1.Do carry with you IDP (international driving permit ).
2.KNOW YOUR ROUTE before starting, this helps in saving time especially relevant when getting in and out of bangkok.
3. THE VEHICLE :You see lot of pick-up trucks and suvs, but ideally best vehicle would be low slung sedan/ sports car to really enjoy beautiful Thailand roads.
4.CAR RENTALS are quite cheap, book early to get better deals. We booked a toyota vios 1.5 petrol from budget car rental, performed flawless in the entire journey. Since we had to book from Bangkok and drop off the car in chiang mai, Budget car rental company was the best bet. All other car rental (hertz, thai etc) charge one way rental fee of 5000 baht if the rental is for less than 7 days . All in, Budget was good experience .
5.A PHONE with data connection and GPS is good enough to get you to most of places around Thailand
6.Infrasctucture is amazing .HIGHWAYS are well marked in both english and thai.No, we didnt pay a single penny on toll etc .Highways are quite safe by indian standards even at night .
7. Communication can be a problem especially in remote places .
We have always believed roadtrips are the best way to explore a new country. And this roadtrip in Thailand was no different , highly recommend.