230 Kms from Lamphun
We really only stopped here because we got on a train from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai that had no air, just windows and people walking up and down the aisles selling hot food the ENTIRE time. Still being incredibly jetlagged, we needed a break from the train. We got off at Phitsanulok and quickly realized that we were the ONLY foreigners. Nobody could help us, there was no english written anywhere, and we couldn't find a guest house. After one sweet young boy trying to help us, we finally stumbled upon maybe the only guest house there. The next morning before boarding the train to continue heading north, we walked around the morning market which I am still impressed by when I think back on it. Phitsanulok was probably the least-touristy spot I have ever been to in my life, and I'm so happy that we stopped there.
246 Kms from Lamphun
This was one of our very last minute picks. And our best decision all trip. While looking for a place to break journey between Myawaddy and Yangon, I read about the small town of Hpa-An that most claimed had an easy, countryside charm that was difficult to articulate. Having spent just two days there, we came away with an uneasy feeling that though this was our first stop, it couldn't be topped. We couldn't have been more right. Hpa-An is a tiny town in Southern Myanmar that hardly wishes to compete with the big four in tourism in the country -- Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay and Yangon -- in that it has no particular spectacle that is its showpiece. What it lacks in a showstopper it more than makes up for in its vibe however. As soon as you step out of the town, the surrounding countryside is awash in refreshing paddy hues and some truly amazing caves, pagodas and water bodies. And the complete lack of tourists make sure you have all the time in the world to just stand there and take it all in without the slightest hint of urgency.