This week, I was invited to join a 3-day media trip by TAT (Northern Thailand) and TAT (Sukhothai). The main purpose was to help promote a small community called Ban Na Ton Chan in Sukhothai. They run a homestay program that is proving to be very popular. Recently they added a new attraction which is a bamboo walkway across a rice field. The following photos were posted live during the trip.
Trip date: 19-21 March 2018
DAY ONE: TAT (Northern Thailand) invited me on a 3-day trip to Sukhothai province. Highlight will be visiting Ban Na Ton Chan (บ้านนาต้นจั่น) and their homestay program. Out of the 14 travel media on the trip, everyone is Thai except me. Should be fun.
Setting off on a 3-day media trip to Sukhothai Province in Northern Thailand. It’s a long six hour drive to the homestay where we are staying tonight in Ban Na Ton Chan (บ้านนาต้นจั่น). At least I’m not driving this time and so I can take a nap. Still tired from my last trip.
A quick stop for breakfast at a PTT gas station just north of Ayutthaya. Still a long way to go. Next stop is lunch in Phitsanulok.
Lunch at Krua Che Chok (ครัวเจ้โชค) in Phitsanulok. Nice selection of seafood. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Cx8WnU2Aueq
Welcome to Ban Na Ton Chan Homestay (โฮมสเตย์บ้านนาต้นจั่น) in Si Satchanalai District of Sukhothai. This is where we will be sleeping tonight. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/EQRYZ8YxAEE2
The cost of Ban Na Ton Chan Homestay is 500 Baht per person which includes two meals. Activities are extra. Contact 088-4957738 for more details. This is my bedroom tonight.
All of the buildings in this homestay are interconnected by a raised walkway. This is just one homestay in the village. In total there are twenty three houses. There have been doing this for about 14 years.
Drone photo looking straight down on Achi Homestay where we are sleeping tonight in the Ban Na Ton Chan community (บ้านนาต้นจั่น) in Si Satchanalai. And also the community. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/EQRYZ8YxAEE2
One of the activities that you can do at Ban Na Ton Chan in Si Satchanalai is a tour of the village on an ‘e-taen’ – this is a modified farm vehicle now used for tourism. You can also do cycle tours.
Our first stop in Ban Na Ton Chan was at a house where they make ‘tukata bar hon’. This is a cross between a toy for kids and a health aid for the elderly. Squeeze the two sticks together and the wooden figures dance up and down as if they were on a high bar.
Our second stop in Ban Na Ton Chan in Si Satchanalai was a new attraction for both tourists and locals. This is a 250 meter long bamboo walkway across a rice field. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the sunset at the end of the day.
Drone photos of the 250 meter long bamboo walkway across a rice field in Ban Na Ton Chan in Si Satchanalai. It was only created two months ago and is already proving to be a hit. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/GYYnRjNrZA22
Dinner tonight at our homestay was local food served on a large wooden tray which was placed on a mat on the ground. We then sat around this eating some freshly made and delicious food. Naturally there was also plenty of beer.
DAY TWO: Good morning from a rice field in Ban Na Ton Chan in Sukhothai province in Northern Thailand.
Ban Na Ton Chan (บ้านนาต้นจั่น) is in Si Satchanalai district of Sukhothai. It’s about 6 hours to the north of Bangkok. There are 23 homestay houses in this village. The locals organize various activities for tourists to enjoy. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/EQRYZ8YxAEE2
Eating breakfast in a rice field in Ban Na Ton Chan (บ้านนาต้นจั่น), Si Satchanalai district of Sukhothai. The activity was arranged by our homestay. Lovely cool weather this morning and a great location to eat breakfast while watching the sun rise.
This morning we are doing a bicycle tour around Ban Na Ton Chan (บ้านนาต้นจั่น) in Si Satchanalai. This is a great way to explore the community. Hardly any tourists during the week. Bicycles cost 30 Baht from your homestay. A guide can be arranged.
Most people in Ban Na Ton Chan are traditionally involved in either agriculture or homespun textile weaving. The community is famous for the making of mud-soaked textile which becomes softer after washing.
It is highly recommended to rent a bicycle to explore Ban Na Ton Chan. You get to see so much more of the local lifestyle. It is also possible to visit some of the homes to see them at work.
The village is named after the Ton Chan tree which is now in bloom.
Lunch today is at Khao Poep Yai Khrueang in Ban Na Ton Chan. They serve a unique noodle dish which contains a wrapping made with ground rice that is steamed. A giant bowl of noodles is 50 Baht. Normal is 25 Baht. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/kVzGnQJ53D72
This evening we’re staying at Sriwilai Sukhothai, which is a luxurious hotel a short distance east of Sukhothai Historical Park. It’s in complete contrast to our homestay last night. The only downside is that TAT’s budget is small and I have to share a room with someone.
Wat Si Chum in Sukhothai Historical Park is well known for a large seated Buddha. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/j35NDCCDJBF2
Drone photos of Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai Historical Park as the sun goes down. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/yRyj6EhvKAk
Sunset today at Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai Historical Park.
Tonight I’m in Sukhothai Historical Park for the press conference about the upcoming festivals in April. This year, Sukhothai province is celebrating eight unique festivals during the Songkran period from 7-19 April 2018.
Dinner tonight at Sukhothai Kitchen (ครัวสุโขทัย) in Sukhothai. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/kDgZVG3JyXu
DAY THREE: Good morning from Sukhothai in Northern Thailand. Monks and novices cross a bridge to leave their island temple to go on the morning alms round.
Every morning at 6am, monks and novices at Wat Traphang Thong in Sukhothai leave the temple to go on their alms round. This is a good place to observe as the temple is on an island and it’s a nice shot as they cross the bridge. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/gqHXU1vzRJF2
Early morning drone photos of Wat Traphang Thong in Sukhothai. The ordination hall and Chedi are on an island.
Learning how to make Buddhist Votive Tablets from clay at Ban Pra Phim in Sukhothai. These are the forerunners of the modern day amulets. Cost of the course is 250 Baht per person. But it is best to call in advance on 089-6436219. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/msAkpNh2Ln62
The people in Ban Thung Luang in Sukhothai are well known for their pottery skills. The art has been passed down through each generation. Even today there are still family run kilns. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/yHFByjjhcEm
The latest tourist attraction in Sukhothai was created by farmers to show their love and respect to the late King Bhumibol. Called แปลงนาเฉลิมพระเกียรติ in Thai, it was originally created for King Rama IX alone with a giant number nine. But they have now changed the design to include both the numbers 9 and also 10 for the new King. It will probably only be there for another month or so as it is a real rice field. But they say they will create another one in the future with the next crop. The field is in Ban Thung Luang in Khiri Mat district of Sukhothai. The field is accessible by car. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/8F3HRG6BewS2
Eating lunch in Ban Thung Luang in Khiri Mat district of Sukhothai.