The route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/189144394 89km (6042km total)
After the (relative) off the beaten track-ness of Si Satch (as it’s referred to by those in the know) Sukothai Historical Park offers the tourist a more sanitised cultural experience – manicures lawns, cafés in the park, golf buggys (if desired) and no snakes. But it’s definitely worth the trip, even if you’ve been to Si Satch. The 700 year old temples and Wat complexes are better preserved and more extensive than those up the road, and cycling around the sites is the ideal way to explore the park. Note that for each sector there is a separate entry fee, so unless you’re a real temple hound you may find it gets a bit pricey.
We raced back to ‘new’ Sukhothai to collect our luggage and lunch on the local variation of noodle soup, and then pressed on to Phitsanulok, for once with the wind at our backs. Opting for a quieter route meant that the afternoon journey took longer than if we’d ridden the main road (Highway 12) and also meant we encountered road works – but for the most part the road was quiet and scenic.
Phitsanulok is a typically friendly, bustling provincial Thai town, complete with excellent night market, the slowest barrista in the Northern Hemisphere, and a number of generic budget hotels to chose from. On the recommendation of the Lonely Planet, we tried Ban Mai restaurant, which was good but not amazing, and we’re confident you could pay a bit less elsewhere and get equally good Thai fare.