When trying to find out how to get a bus from Nong Khai to Sukhothai via internet, the bus station and various other means, it was not exactly forthcoming. OK, so we did it anyway and this was how...
From the scant information we could gather in Nong Khai we managed to ascertain we needed to go to Udon Thani first and sort out how to get to Sukhothai from there.
The bus trip to Udon Thani cost us 35BHT each from the Nong Khai bus station. People at the Nong Khai bus station soon directed us to where we needed to buy a ticket, it was real easy. We left on the 7.30am bus hoping we might be able to get a day bus to Sukhothai (everyone we spoke to seemed to think there were only night buses). We told our bus driver that we needed to get to bus station 2 - and that's were we got dropped off. (I had read another blog which said that the driver drops people off on the north of town and you have to get a local truck or tuk tuk into the city - this is not correct - that person just got off at the wrong stop). We got to Udon Thani at approx. 9.30. (short trip but the bus drops and picks up on the way). There are squat toilets at Udon Thani at the bus station for 3BHT.
We went to the information counter and was able to ascertain (quite easily) that we needed to get a bus to Phitsanulok and change there to a bus to Sukhothai. They could not tell me, however, when the bus connected, I was told that they would tell me in Phitsanulok. (not the way we work in the west, but what the hell, it had flowed so far!!). We were told to go to platform 21 (which is really just a bus bay with a pole with 21 on it) and buy a ticket there. At 219BHT each, I thought this was quite a deal. Whilst hubby went off to try and find us some fruit for the trip the bus driver bought out his english/thai lesson book and I proceeded to become an English teacher (not on my resume, but again, what the hell!). Hubby returned with no fruit and some soya milks. We were off at 10.30am with the driver cramming as many last minute english words/sentences as he could. The e.t.a. was 5.30pm. A long trip. 2 toilet stops (one requested by moi!). By the way ladies - toilets are squat so wear a sarong on the bus, much easier to navigate these toilets with those rather than shorts or trous and always, always, have paper with you! The stops were at bus stations. Food available to buy at these bus stops was sugar type drinks or chips/crisps. TIP: Make sure you prepare yourself some food prior to the trip, take some cashews to share with the local farmers that get on, at various stops - they love them. Some food touts came on the bus at the first stop offering rice and meat on sticks, peanuts and some green mangoes. Oh how I wished for a banana or watermelon!! I could only see these (and drool) from my bus window as we passed all these beautiful fruit stalls on the way. One thing that stood out on this bus trip for me was on the right (don't ask me where I don't carry a Lonely Planet book) I saw a few hills that stuck out in the middle of this flat land. One had a monastery half way up it and I have no idea how they could have built it there. The other hills looked like they had some meditation caves for monks.
OK so we get to Phitsanulok bus station which is marked in English on the archway going in.
Our plan: Hubby needs to "go", me to look after luggage and then we'll find out how to get to Sukhothai at the information counter.
What actually happened::. I got off the bus first. A tuk tuk driver asked me if I needed a tuk tuk. I said no. He then asked me where I was going. I said Sukhothai. End of conversation, he went away. I walked to our luggage, hubby behind me, said he was off to the mens. A bloke came up to us and said the Sukhothai bus was waiting for us, hubby had to make the quick decision as to whether he could hold on for another hour - not knowing if this was the last bus, we and our luggage were on that bus in seconds and we were off to Sukhothai!!
The sun was setting on this last leg and on the left the sun was going down behind this mountain, one of the most beautiful sights I have seen here on my travels. Equal if not slightly better than the sun going down on the Mekong River!.
The cost was 60BHT each for the final bus ride and another 60BHT for the 4km tuk tuk ride to the TR Guesthouse - which by the way I highly recommend! The owners Toh (the bloke) and Long (the wife) keep the place spotless and change towels and rubbish each day. Food is also very simple and good. Vego's make sure you say no meat in the vegetable soup tho.
Sukhothai is a lovely little town with ruins not far away and lots of other things to do and see around it. Only my first day here, so not up with all the things to do yet. Fruit is cheap and western food is reasonably priced. JJ Guesthouse make their own baguettes and the vege soup there is really nice.
For 100BHT you can put your name on three tiles at the local monastery which is being renovated. Its right next to - in fact in the same grounds as the school here. We dedicated one tile to an old friend of our's in OZ, Nigel Meucke, so Nige if you ever read this - you paid for a tile in a Thai monastery!!
Over and out til our next move!!