We met Mark by chance by booking a night at his youth hostel: “Karma Home Hostel” based in Phitsanulok, three hours by train north of Ayutthaya.
Mark has lived in Thailand for 17 years, he speaks, reads Thai, and his “cool attitude” and “hospitality” is kind of disconcerting. He welcomes each traveller, takes the time to present all the things to do in the surroundings and proposes every evening to the members of the hostel to dine in a typical spot of the city. All this creates a very warm atmosphere. The hostel is “relatively” small which gives it an intimate feel, its roof top is arranged with hammocks, a cozy corner to relax after a day of exploration. Mark operates on a “trust” principle, “food and drinks” are available, you make the payment by putting money in his “donation box”. Similar to the way of New Zealanders work, I find this system based on trust “brilliant”! Difficult to project it in France.
A few words about Phitsanulok
Phitsanulok is not a popular city for travellers, the majority of them join Chiang Mai directly due to lack of time or simply knowledge about the possibilities offered by this city. What a pity! Phitsanulok is typical, ancient and deserted by tourists. The “streetfood”, “accomodation” and activities (cooking classes, yoga…) are at unbeatable prices, the cheapest so far on our road trip. And the most important point, Phitsanulok offers at 1h30 by bus an access to the absolutely amazing temples of Petchabun: Wat Phan Sorn Kaew and Wat Phra That Pha Son (a Guell Thai version park). For the return to Phitsanulok, “hitchhiking” is a very nice option. I may repeat myself, but the Thais are really incredibly kind.
We spent two nights at the “Karma Home Hostel”, great encounters and good memories.
Thank you, Mark.