We left our hotel early to catch a fast bus over the border to Thailand. We were heading for Sokhothai and were uncertain if we could make it in a day. We were at the bus station for 7:45 and went through the preparations - a man inspected our passports and tagged our luggage. The journey to the border was quick and we were through the Thai side an hour after we left Vientiane - good going.
The first part of our journey through Thailand was down to Kroh Kean - a major junction point about 3 hours south of the border. The countryside was flat and uninspiring but we made good time. We arrived at Kroh Kean to find that the bus we wanted went from a different station (ordinary not A/C) so it was a quick ride across town. We found the right bus and had a short wait for it to depart. This ride took us across the plains and into the hills - through a couple of national parks onto Phitsanulok. The bus was crowded with lots of locals standing and it got chilly in the hills.
We arrived at our destination at 7:15pm - with still another 60km to Sukhothai - so we decided to find a hotel and see Sukhothai from here. We found a hotel in what is quite a large town, booked the train out and had a good dinner in the night market.
We set of early for Sukhothai as we were uncertain of timings. This meant a 7:30 breakfast and out by 8:00. We got to the bus station and were straight on a bus that took us to the town of new Sukhothai. From there, we had to get to the old town (about 12km away). After inquiries, we found that the bus we came on was going there so it was back on the bus. We got to the old town and hired a bike to get around as the site is quite large.The place was the Thai capital between the 12th and 16th centuries before it was destroyed by the Burmese. It is set in a well maintained park and has a very impressive set of ruins. Even Fran enjoyed them - she thought she had seen enough temples but these were different. They mostly looked Indian in origin although they were all Buddhist. It was easy to cycle round as it was all flat with lots of lakes. After lunch we ventured a bit further out where the temples were not quite so well restored - mostly just piles of stones that left a lot to the imagination.
We returned back to Phitsanoluk by shared taxi and bus in time to for a bit of shopping in Tescos of all places.