Ayutthaya is an ancient capital, just a quick train ride north of Bangkok. Quick trip that is if your train doesn’t catch on fire. We smelled the smoke, but didn’t think anything of it because people burn random things all the time here. That is, until we stopped and all the people from the car in front of ours came steaming into our car and the stench of smoke became too bad that they opened the doors and people started getting off.
But it must not have been that bad, because after about 10 minutes we started going again, albeit slowly.
We arrived about an hour late to Ayutthaya and took the 5 baht (31 baht= $1) ferry across to the island. The buildings along the water were raised, some very high. A couple years ago this area had a terrible flood. The worst flooding in 100 years.
We walked to a hostel, a Thai style place with no a/c or working internet, but loads of character in a quiet area. From there we rented bikes for just over a buck and headed for the ruins. And ruins there were plenty. Mostly piles of bricks with questionable structural integrity. The first wat we visited however had a cool interior with an old Buddha mural inside. The Burmese destroyed this area, so what is left is only the basics.
A lot of the wats have been renovated over the years or are currently being renovated.
It was incredibly hot and we opted to take a tuk-tuk the second half of the day to some of the further out sites. I don’t have a picture of this, but our tuk-tuk was pimped out with led lights and very loud speakers in the back. Another undocumented event happens more often than we’d like, but since we each only have a few shirts and shorts in similar colors, Riki and I often match. This day, if it weren’t for my new hat, we would have been identical.
Look for the scale figures standing by the center hand. Huge, indoor Buddha.
Check out my Instagram too for more Buddha pics.
Our final stop with the tuk-tuk was to see where they used to train elephants for work and war. It was a bit depressing to see all the elephants chained up, but this little guy was free to roam, though rarely left his mom’s side.
The next day we rented bikes (@ a different place because the first ones we had were pretty awful) and rode to see some of the closer sites. I broke my sunglasses and until I find a good pair, I’m using this nifty reversible hat for shade.
Posing like the other Asian tourists.
We returned to Bangkok without any smoky trains and checked into a new place just north of the backpacking area. I picked this place because it sounded like it had character. It has loads, a great view, and not much else. The place is sitting so close to the river that it is actually built over water. Which means mosquitos. The bathroom was quite dim, which was probably better, but the toilet gurgled all night and the bed was like a rock. So this morning we moved back to the place we stayed earlier this week, which has no window, but is clean and has a/c.
See the fish? (Center right)
We are spending the next couple days reading up on Nepal and planning for that segment, which begins on Wednesday.