Second time we leaving the big capital Bangkok and this time we went north, to the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Ayuthaya is this city surrounded by a river that was at some point the largest capital in the world, before being reduced to ashes by the Burmese in the 18th century. The trip to Ayuthaya cost us the insulting price of 15 baths (0.4€) each (in the lowest class but who cares?!)
As soon as we arrived, we had lunch at one of the typical noodle boat restaurants and we enjoyed a spicy bowl of soup. We also rented a motorbike for that afternoon and the next morning, and visited a couple of temples and ruins. We would highlight this big white pyramid (Wat Phu Khao Thong) at the out-skirts of the city. Since the place was a bit far from the center there were just a couple of tourists at the place so we had it almost all to ourselves.
In the evening, we headed to the night market at the end of Bang Ian street and had dinner there, a couple of rice dishes. We have to admit that we liked the Kanchanaburi night market much more. It was bigger and the food was also better. We stayed at Ray Nu Guesthouse, with tiny rooms. To flush the toilet, you had to pour water from a big barrel. Rustic indeed, but it was cheap and the man who runs it was so kind, even though he didn’t speak English at all.
Next morning we woke up early (6:30) to visit some of the ruins in the city, to avoid the crowds and hot temperatures. When we arrived to the first temple, we were told that they didn’t open until 8:00. Fail!! We decided to go to another temple close to that one that was always open. Yep, that didn’t work well either since the main structure was being restored, so it was covered in green netting. Sometimes you have to roll with the punches, so we just relaxed and had some 7-eleven coffee (best breakfast ever) while waiting for the opening time. We went back to Wat Chaiwatthanaram and could finally visit it. All the ruins in Ayutthaya are quite similar, at least to the eyes of someone who has no idea about architecture. They were built using brick blocks covered with a gray stucco surface, which in most cases has vanished through time. Here are some pictures from Wat Chaiwatthanaram.
Afterwards, we stopped by the Tourist Center in Ayutthaya, which is surprisingly very informative. Totally recommended! Also, they have air conditioning.
In the afternoon, we returned the motorbike and went to Wat Maha That and Wat Ratchaburana, a couple of other ruin complexes in the island. The first one was pretty cool, there was this big seated buddha sculpture with the upper body part missing. Not far from it, you can find the head of the buddha trapped inside the roots of tree that grows in a brick wall.
The next morning we took a bicycle (which were free for the hostel’s guests) to the remaining ruins of what once was the royal palace. These ruins are distinguished by these 3 huge stupas in the center of the royal palace in which 3 different kings were buried. Again, the advantages of waking up early is that usually you get these landmarks all to yourself.
And here ends our Ayutthaya stay! At lunch time that same day we took a train to Pak Chong, the closest town to Khao Yai National Park. But that my friends, is for another post.
Joan & Laura