Hey there! It's been a while. Pardon our absence but as we approached the end of our trip, we found ourselves a bit tight on time. So we made the conscious decision to focus our energy on sightseeing/enjoying our last few weeks instead of updating the blog. Hope you'll understand. Now that that's out of the way, welcome back! After catching up on some sleep & eating a little too much over the holidays, we're back - weighing a few more pounds - to share the last 7 months of our trip with you! Up today: Ayutthaya.
We traveled to Ayutthaya for a long weekend as we waited on our India visas to arrive in Bangkok. On the way up, Tyler and I made the acquaintance of a cute old Thai lady who provided countless hours of entertainment for the slow train up. Can you really complain when a ticket is $0.45? After offering us the bench across from her, she shared her mango with us (making sure we dipped each bite in the side of sugar) in between giggle fests with our fellow train passengers, picking her nose hairs, cleaning her ears with one of these and last but not least, briefly massaging Tyler's legs after telling him to stretch them out. Let's just say, we didn't get bored on this train ride for one second! She also made sure we got off at the right stop, almost pushing us out of the train (in a friendly way). Definitely a good start.
We stayed two full days in Ayutthaya, plenty of time to get a feel for this old capital city. With countless ruins scattered all across the historical park, it can feel a bit daunting and overwhelming but wander in any direction and you'll find plenty to see. Many people visit Ayutthaya as a day-trip from Bangkok and seek the must-see wats, such as Wat Maha That with the Buddha head in the Bodhi tree but there's so much much to the historical park than just the few famous wats. In fact, I'd recommend ignoring online guides and just taking a couple morning walks, when the tourists are few & the temperatures cooler, to explore on your own and take it all in. Included below are my favorite pictures from our time in Ayutthaya. Notice the details that make each of these wats worthy to see.
We also managed to see quite a few animals during our stay in Ayutthaya. From dogs, cats, bats & birds to an owl, a turtle and a snake, here are the pictures I captured of these cute and sometimes surprising animals.
Notes & A Few Helpful Hints
- Be careful of fake guards standing at the entrance of wats. We arrived early one morning, paid our entrance fee to a man wearing a nice shirt and khakis. When he didn't give us a ticket, I knew we'd made a mistake but there was no one around to catch him. After we finished visiting the wat, we found our bikes locked up and proceeded to get scolded by the real employees before they let us leave. They took our word that we'd paid & we tried as best we could to give them an accurate description of the man and his bike. But please be careful as this does happen.
- Make sure to try roti sai mai, a local sweet, best described as thai cotton candy wrapped in a sweet roti. You can find it across the Phra Nakorn Si Ayutthaya Hospital. For more than roti sai mai, here's a helpful food guide (note: the boat noodles are delicious!)
- We stayed at Tamarind Thai Guesthouse, a perfect location as we could either walk or bike everywhere easily. The staff is also very nice & the rooms huge as well as comfortable!
- We took a boat cruise to see the wats on the outskirts of the historical park (Wat Chaiwattanarm, Wat Phutthaisawan, Wat Phanan Choeng) & both of us felt it didn't us give enough time to properly do them justice. I'd recommended visiting them on your own.