A Stop in Tha Ton

The bus from Chiang Dao to Tha Ton took about three hours. The first hour or so was rather hair-raising as we descended the mountain in the rain and passed two cars run off the road within 100m of each other. We made it down safely and the weather cleared as we did.

our guesthouse from across the river

Sappaya Guesthouse

Tha Ton is a small town on the Mae Kok river and the bus dropped us within walking distance of our chosen guesthouse. The owner, Suni, came to meet us and show us the way. We stayed at Sappaya Guesthouse which only opened in March this year. It’s right on the bank of the river and has six rooms with two shared bathrooms and a shared kitchen.

Our room at Sappaya Guesthouse

Our room at Sappaya Guesthouse

Suni is lovely and we felt right at home. We paid 700 baht ($AUD23) for a big fan room with a single bed and a double bed including toast and tea/coffee self service at any time along with fruit. Suni spent seven years living in Sydney and was a childcare worker there so she was also great with the kids!

Ed and Dave looking at the 'boo'

Top terrace view at Sappaya Guesthouse

The next day we had a rest day and besides heading out for lunch and dinner we mostly hung around the guesthouse, did some washing, and booked some more things for the European leg of the trip. Dave and Ed made sand castles down by the river on a little sandy ‘beach’.

yeah! Another Wat!

Yeah! Another Wat!

The following day we decided to visit Tha Ton’s main attraction, Wat Tha Ton. Another temple up a hill, groaned the kids. This one has nine levels (I think we made it to level 8) and each level has something different on it.

up to level 8

Walking up

At level 8 was the huge Chedi Kaew Pagoda which seemed quite new and was rather impressive. The levels beforehand has not hinted to the greatness to come! From the top of the chedi was a great view over the surrounding countryside and mountains. The walk back down to the bottom of the mountain was much faster than the way up!

very top view

View from the top

almost back down the hill

Heading back down

We ate at a few different places in Tha Ton. Sunshine Cafe, Chankasen, a place right next to the guesthouse that only had a Thai sign, and a place on the other side of the river with an abundance of blue plastic. This is Tha Ton at 7:45pm on a Saturday night. Moments after I took this photo they turned the lights out and started packing up.

This is Tha Ton at 7:45pm on a Saturday night. And they just turned those lights off.

Tha Ton on a Saturday night

I will also note that Tha Ton has four ATMs. We know this because on Saturday night we tried them all with multiple cards and no luck. We think the mastercard network must have been down. We eventually used a maestro visa debit card successfully and the mastercard worked again in the next town. So the ATMs are outside the mini-market, outside the 7-11 on the same side of the road, across the road from the 7-11, and then way down the other end of town outside another mini-market (where the person working spoke good enough English to tell us, “You should call your bank.”)

Tha Ton was just what we needed. Dry weather after the rain of Chiang Mai and Chiang Dao, but not too hot, and a nice homely place to stay and relax for a few days. We had a few options of where to move on to from here and eventually decided to go back up a mountain to Mae Salong. More on that next time!

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