Thailand Chronicles 4: Ayutthaya

 

Illuminated Wat Phra Mahathat in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Taken on the 18th of February 2007 with a Nikon D200 and a 18-200mm VR lens. Part of the Thailand Chronicles Series.

We left the guesthouse a bit later than we wanted because we had to pack up everything since we were taking the bus to Ayutthaya, in the north. We arranged to stay in Bangkok on Monday night at the same guesthouse. It was the best compromise that we could think of, since we needed some time off. The manager told us to keep the keys, that way we would be sure that the room wouldn’t be booked. I found that funny.

I scored some hiking boots that they were giving away. They were pretty sweet and new, must have been just bought and somebody forgot them there.

As before, it took about 121 BHT to get to the bus stop and 100 BHT for both of us to take the bus north. It was a long drive that took about 2.5 hours, but it seemed a lot longer than that. It wasn’t too hot, but the bus kept making stops and people kept coming on. We took bus number 97 and finally arrived at around 2PM in Ayutthaya.

We took a tuktuk drivers sister’s car to the Baan Lotus guesthouse which was recommended by the Lonely Planet. Unfortunately it was full. We then went to the Chantara guesthouse who only had a room without air conditioning, though it was a nice room on the ground floor.

We then drove to Jitvelia Place and found a room for 500 BHT, a bit more than we wanted, but we needed to find a place before visiting the different Wats around the city.

Ayutthaya is bigger than I expected and of course there were some foreigners. More than at Nathon Pathom.

Wat Phra Mahathat, taken on the 18th of February 2007 in Ayutthaya, Thailand, just a few minutes ago. Part of the Thailand Chronicles Series.

The woman who drove us tried to con us into a tour for 200 BHT per hour, and we declined. We walked a bit and took a motorcycle taxi to the first Wat on our list, Wat Phra Mahathat. It was ideally situated, because a few other Wats could be traveled to by foot. The lonely planet recommended renting a bicycle, but we were having none of that. I figured that we would hitch rides on motorcycle taxis all the way.

The Wat was impressive, directly in the middle of town and made the journey worthwile. We then walked on over to Wat Ratburana not far down the street. This one was good as well. The last one on that street was Wat Suwannawat, a small one without an entry price.

The imposing tower of Wat Phra Ram in Ayutthaya.

We walked around to the nearest Wat that we could see. It was Wat Phra Ram. This Wat had a beautiful central spire that rose into the sky and was easy to see from afar.

 

A tower in ruins at Wat Phra Si Sanphet.

We then hitched another ride on a motorcycle taxi to the biggest wat, Wat Phra Si Sanphet. It’s architecture was different, because the towers were not made out of brick. They were carved.

Cute docile elephants giving rides. One of them was distracted by somebody’s food and put his nose into it. The good natured Thai fed him a bit and then it was off again.

On our way there we passed a troup of elephants who were giving rides for 400 BHT. We didn’t indulge, but we did take a lot of pictures of the gentle beasts. It was pretty cool being so close to them and I was actually surprised to see them, because we were told that we would only see elephants in the north of Thailand.

Just nearby was Wat Mongkhon Bophit, a monastery housing one of Thailand’s largest Buddha images, a 15th century bronze casting.

Wat Thammikarat hidden between buildings in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Taken with a Nikon D200 and a 18-200m VR lens on the 18th of February 2007. Part of the Thailand Chronicles Series.

We walked a bit and I tried to deal down the tuk-tuk drivers to no avail, so we just walked away. I don’t like tuk-tuks, they charge way too much for what they are, but outside of Bangkok, it is hard to find a lot of metered taxis. After walking a bit and looking for a motorcyle taxi, we spotted Wat Thammikarat, so we stopped and took some pictures as the light fell. This Wat had great lions surrounding the main tower, which was wrapped in yellow cloth

When we finished that Wat, we decided to go eat a bite at the Siam Restaurant on Thanon CheeKun. It was a very spicy meal, that drenched us both but tasted great. Cheap too, for 365BHT for 3 mail dishes and a salad and two bottles of water.

We then hitched another ride on the back of a motorcycle taxi and made our way to find an internet cafe on the corner of Soi 1 and Thanon Naresuan. We walked around a bit and shopped at a711 before finding one a bit further on.

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ranjitwithkinginbehand.jpgI'm Range, your host. On the menu, photos, art, stories, entertainment and reviews. Links, maths, education and social issues. I'm in Quebec (Canada) or Taiwan (R.O.C.). Follow me on Twitter.

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