Adventures in Old Siam

October 31, 2017

The day began with a 7:30 taxi ride to the bus station in Mochit.  We have a picture of the numbers on the counter where we are to exchange our email confirmation for a bus ticket.  Sounds simple enough right?  Well... There are about 120 ticket counters on the outside of the building.  After walking numerically and not finding our counter, we ask and a woman outside tells us it's inside.  Inside there are winding counters and gates to at least 6 more platforms with winding ticket counters.  Somehow... by asking enough kind people we manage to fumble our way to the minivan that will take us to Ayutthaya.  

 

We arrived in Ayutthaya, hopped in a Tuk Tuk and headed for our hotel - The Park Guesthouse.  The proprietor of the Park is a lovely gentleman named Wrin, he helped us with our bags and planned us an excursion for the afternoon.  We would leave at 3:50 to see the Wats located on the river that surrounds Ayutthaya (its an island), ending with the sunset at Wat Chaiwattthanaram.  So we headed out to see the two closest Wats to the guesthouse.  

 

We saw Wat Maha That - famous for its Buddha head that is wrapped in a growing tree and Wat Ratchaburana.  Inside Wat Ratchaburana you can climb to the top of it and then there is a steep staircase inside the tallest Prana that lets you go into the bottom of it where there are hieroglyphics and a sealed tomb.  

 

 

 3:50 the Tuk Tuk pics us up at the Park and packs us in like sardines with a group of three German women to drag us to the pier to get on

our first long tail boat. 

 We traveled on the water to three Wats.  The first was Wat Phanan Choeng.  There was no instruction, we just got kicked off the boat at a pier and told to be back in 20 minutes.  So we wander with the group until we find the entrance... take off our shoes and.... the largest sculpture that I have ever seen inside a building is looming inside the doors.  This gold Buddha is 19 meters tall?! Inside a building?! And he has been there since 1334!

 

 

 The second Wat we stopped at was Wat Phutthai Sawan.  Inside its largest Parang was a reclining Buddha and above him was a cloister full of bats.  Around the walls were gilded and glittering Buddha... in stark contrast to the headless and decaying Buddha we experienced at the ruins.  It was nice to see what they once looked like.  

 

And the final Wat on our tour is one we saw on our favourite travel show Departures.  The sunset is supposed to be a beautiful sight to see from Wat Chaiwatthanaram, however we had a few passengers with us on the boat with us that were quite late getting back on board at both of the other Wats, so we didn't quite get a sunset.  But it is an impressive site, and since we were there later we were hopeful that we would see the bats flooding out of the large Parang after sunset.  We saw a few, but nothing like the hoards we wanted.  

 

At the end of the boat tour we asked our Tuk Tuk driver not to return us home instead to drop us at the larger of the two night markets in Ayutthaya.  Where we had a nice walk through vendors and ate one of Cole's favourite dishes... BBQ fish on a plate.  

 

 

 

DAY #2 -Old Siam - Wats by bicycle:

 

We woke up early, were fed a wonderful breakfast at our hotel and headed out to rent bikes.  50 baht for the day and our very own lock!  We headed out into the park, over bridges, and all through town to hit up as many of the remaining sites as we could. 

 

Highlights:

 We hit up that awesome night market for some delicious 25 Baht Pad Thai to go as we caught a Tuk Tuk to the train station.  12 hour night train to Chiang Mai here we come!  

 

If you're interested in the history of where we were, click this link:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/576

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