This is kind of a curiousity thing, but most of the time when the subject of bus travel comes up, people are moving fairly long haul distances. I wonder has anyone here moved along really slowly, from Ampur to Ampur on a Song Taew or like, spending one day in one small town, the next in another, and so forth? And if so, how much did they enjoy that?
Although I agree that's a good idea, I was thinking more about the journey (as opposed to the destination) being the point. That is, only going about 10 km every couple of days, simply creeping along from town to town, meeting people, get in adventures... anyone here ever do that before.
Tilapia may be your best bet for this type of travel, as he does lots of bicycle trips where the next stop would be closer to 20 than 200 km away. Tilapia seems to enjoy it and has lots of detail about which route is the most scenic and where folks are the most friendly as a result, etc..
The closest I've come to this type of travel are trips along the Mekong. Sangkhom, Si Chiang Mai, Nong Khai, Bueng Khan, That Phanom , Mukdahan, then across to Laos and Savannakhet, Pakse, Champasak, then back to Thailand and Ubon. Even then, the stops are closer to 200 km apart than 20, but I do tend to stay in each place a few days, which does create the chance to meet folks and get in adventures. I guess I did something similar last trip with P-lok, Sukhothai, and Kamphaeng Phet, where the stops were about 50 or 60 km apart.
The problem I've found trying to make those small jaunts like you mention is finding things like places to stay and things to do for the 23 hours I'm not travelling. Even in charming stops like Bueng Khan and That Phanom and Si Chiang Mai, there just isn't that much to do apart from wander around and eat. Even speaking decent Thai, I've often felt like a bit of a curiosity in these places too. The up side is that I get to experience life a bit more like a local might and not just as a tourist rushing from place to place. But overall, I've found that the better way to meet people is to hang out in one spot for many days.
When I get old enough to retire, I would like to spend more time in those small towns that typically don't have many visitors just so I can hang out, read a book, and have a beer at the local pub. Let us know how this goes if you try it and if you can find enough to keep you busy or if you have the urge to move on. Regards.
That sounds like the right place to do it. I bet you enjoy yourself, apart from the being bored with the night life. I enjoyed Bueng Khan, for example, and at least one place between Bueng Khan and Nong Khai looked pretty decent too.
If you had the time and interest to keep moving up river beyond Nong Khai, I think you'll find several villages and even a few good-sized towns at about 30 km intervals. One example is a charming village between Si Chiang Mai and Sangkhom with signs in english encouraging people to stop and visit the school there. Beyond Sangkhom is interesting too.
Again, Tilapia is the real expert on this section of the river and could offer some good suggestions on places to visit and stay.
Certainly good when possible, just research what small town you wish to go to and if it has the right opportunities for you personally.
I think it'd be good to vary long haul journeys and small town hopping journeys depending where is a good idea.
You could certainly research a region, but researching the smaller towns is unlikely to yield anything of significance unless the town is known for something special. The idea would be more about moving on when a town ceased to be interesting (as oppossed to on a schedule) and getting really familiar witht the pace of lifestyle in that area. Not with seeing something specific. Kind of like Kane in Kung ** - walk from place to place, meet people, get in adventures.