Eat well at the Coconut Shell. It’s popular with tourists (for good reason), but serves up good-value and delicious curries, stir-fried rice, and shakes. (I’m still dreaming of their coconut-pineapple shake!) It’s got great branding too — the main dishes are served in a coconut shell.
Meander through the picturesque remains of the Sukhothai Kingdom, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We spent one full day at the Sukhothai Historical Park, independently exploring the attractive grounds and about 7 temples.
Mingle with the locals at Sukhothai’s low-key, but friendly, night market. Unlike Bangkok’s, Chiang Mai’s, or Ayutthaya’s night markets, we only encountered a few tourists there. And the food was great!
Ayutthaya – We spent three comfortable and pleasant nights at the Baan Bussara (affiliate link), a family-owned property. Our room was spotlessly clean and its interior felt brand new. The air conditioning and internet worked well, and there was even a tiny refrigerator in our room. In about 15 minutes we were able to walk to Wat Maha That, Ayutthaya’s most famous temple. (It’s the one with a Buddha head emerging from a tangle of tree roots.) Ayutthaya’s night market was about 15 minutes away, on foot. On-site we were able to make arrangement for a boat tour of Ayutthaya’s temples at sunset. Also, for a fee, Baan Bussara’s friendly owner made our onward bus arrangements to Sukhothai.
Chiang Mai – For five nights, we stayed at the Pudsadee House (affiliate link). The air conditioning and internet worked perfectly, the room was clean, and the owner was helpful and friendly. We enjoyed breakfast on-site (coffee, omelette, fruit) and thought it was a great deal that breakfast was included in the room rate. Also, the Pudsadee’s central location made it easy to walk to many of Chiang Mai’s main sites.
Sukhothai – With convenient access to Sukhothai’s bus station,the Rueangsrisiri Guesthouse 2 (affiliate link) was a good fit for us. We spent two nights there. The owners were nice, and our room’s interior was brand new – complete with a showy rhinestone headboard. :) Small restaurants nearby offered tasty breakfast and dinner options (we opted for Thai fare). One night, we walked to Sukhothai’s night market for dinner, about 15 minutes on foot. Our room’s air conditioning and internet both worked well.