Sukhothai – Tak – Sukhothai 2021

Songkran arrived shrouded within a pandemic. The different provinces in Thailand seemed to be putting up different restrictions to visitors. The government had requested for people to get together via the internet.

Long before the restrictions were implemented, we had decided that we would go to Sukhothai, then up to Mae Hong Son before arriving in Chiang Mai, to see a cyclist friend of mine. However, plans were dashed on our first full day as restrictions were implemented.

We arrived at Sukhothai, mid-afternoon on the Saturday, April 10. It was Sunday when my cycling fun began. I had the crazy idea of cycling across to Tak, a city that I knew very little about, except that is was part of the Lavo Kingdom.

In April, you have to keep an eye on the temperature. Most cyclists I know set of early – about 4 am or 5 am while the temperature is low. By 8 am the temperature can be 26C and rising to 36C. A killer if you are unprepared.

I left my wife’s mother’s house at 5.35 am and headed out on the 1056 road. The next door’s cockerel had woken me up at 4am.

The road east was quiet, the temperature cool, well, for Thailand it was. I made surprisingly good progress. By the time I had reached the 125 road, via 1113 road I was averaging 30 km/h.

The 125 road stretched all the way to Tak, some 63 km away. All the roads were quiet and straight. With a tail wind, I cycled at an average speed of 35 km/h. The landscape was predominately flat, there were hills, but not many.

The road for much of the way was lined with ratchaphruek trees, Thailand’s national flower. At this time of year, the trees are in bloom, so the road took on a golden tinge.

Most of the land is agricultural, rice being the main crop. The fields were dry, having already been harvested.

It took me just short of three hours to cycle the 86km. I had been advised not to venture into the city center due to Covid scares.

Just outside the city is a small park, called Krathong Sai Park, named after the Loy Krathong festival. I cycled around the park and later across the River Ping and back over the Bicentennial Bridge. This was probably the main attraction for me, before cycling the 86 km back.

By the time I began cycling back the temperature had vastly increase. I took a lick of salt and drank plenty of water and hydrolytes and then took it steady.

By now the roadside trades had set up, selling anything from melons, coconut treats to other fruits. If you passed one stall you could guarantee there would be an identical one just one-hundred metres away, and then another.

Back in Sukhothai, my wife’s niece baby was gaining a lot of attention. Three months old and full of life. I decided to request a photograph of four generations spanning 80 years.

Below my wife’s mother, gave us a traditional Thai blessing.

The next day we were informed that more provinces were tightening their borders, so we decided to set off back to Nonthaburi: a province already in a red zone.