January 28, 2014

Bangkok & Ayutthaya

Old City : New City

We had arranged a tour with the hotel to got on a Day tour the Wat’s (temples) of Ayutthaya, the old capital of Thailand. We were picked up at the hotel at 6.55am (the Thai are very punctual) and headed off across the city to another hotel to get more tourists. We were dropped at a hotel and told to wait there while the others were collected. This wait turned into quite a while. Nearly an hour later they had collected everyone and we were finally off in an air conditioned minivan to the Old Capital.

On the way we stopped at a petrol station for snacks and a toilet break. I only wish that Irish petrol stations had the most amazing fresh cut pineapple for €1 as a snack, sure beats chocolate bars and crisps.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkol

In the Old City our first stop was Wat Yai Chai Mongkol built in 1357, this Wat holds a huge amount of history for Thailand. We were by far the only people there but it was a nice change from the swarmed  Wat’s in Bangkok. Our guide gave us a 10min introduction to the site before we had about 30min to walk around.

Wat Maha That

Also known the “Monastery of the Great Relic”. Most well known for the Buddha head that has been submerged in tree roots. This Wat was built somewhere in the late 1300’s. Beautiful serene grounds with temples in ruins. Once again our guide stopped us for about 10min giving us some information about the area, however his story lead off on a tangent about a friend of his which greatly negated our time of walking around the site.

Wat Lokaya Sutha

This Wat was mostly flattened, only a shell left where the walls use to be. But war did remain was a very large reclining Buddha. This time our guide could see that his ramblings were actually boring people so he stopped midway through and said with disdain, if you’re bored go on and see the site…

Wat Phukhao Thong

At this point I was a bit done with listening to our tour guide and his long uninteresting stories. So while the others stayed, all looking staring at him glassy-eyed, I snuck off and climbed the back of the stairs. We had a bit more time at this site, even though there was less area to walk around. There were goats and roosters wondering around the site and from atop the stairs you could see far over the city.

We then stopped on the way to our final temple for lunch, at a local restaurant we had a feast laid out before us, curries, vegetables and noodles with water and beer. So fresh and so delicious.

Wat Ket

Our final Wat of the day where he had about an hour to roam around. There were beautiful ruins and an active monastery. We lounged around and went over the highlights of our day so far. Ayutthaya was beautiful, I would have loved to have seen it hundreds of years ago when it was said you could see the last of the sunlight simmering off the gold on all of the temples from miles away.

We all gathered and headed back in the van’s towards Bangkok. About 10min down the road our guide was one his phone and sounded distressed. From the gist I got, someone was left behind, there were about 3 vans all with tourists going different directions and someone wasn’t there. We turned around, drove back… another phone call and we turned around again. Then shortly down the road we stopped and a tourist from another van got into ours. So guess that was sorted.

When we arrived back in Bangkok around 3:30 and were dropped at the Ko San Road. We wondered down the famous road looking for a restaurant that was recommend, but never found it. We headed towards the water taxi where I bought a lovely blue fish shirt and a market stall. We caught the water taxi down to the Silom District and set to finding the Sky Bar. Of course we got lost on the way and had to stop for directions a few times. We finally found it just in time for the sunset, we took the elevator up the 63rd floor for drinks over looking the city. I had an amazing Blueberry Gin and Tonic and something called a Devil’s Advocate, which was presented with dry ice steaming from the bottom. We were lucky enough to also catch a fireworks show, probably part of the Chinese New Year Celebrations.

Reluctantly we headed down from the tower and started back towards our hotel, stopping at a shopping centre on the way where I picked up an iPad mini to help with our travels. We wondered on down to the water taxi and caught one back to the city centre and to our hotel. We decided to stay close for dinner and went across the street to a street stall. We had a hard time ordering as nothing was in English, so we just pointed and ate what was put in front of us. It was delicious.

After a long day walking, we fell into bed.



  1. mom

    More, more! love the pictures!

  2. Rebecca

    Slow I know but finally getting around to add my two cents in! What you didn’t mention was that the others in the tour group followed your lead. About 3 of us got stuck listening to the guide drone on and on and on about why we should convert to Thai Buddhism! I was so relieved when he started chatting with one person in particular and I could sneak off to find you . . . peering down from above at me from the top of what resembled an Aztec pyramid.

    I loved Ayutthaya. The red dirt roads, brick ruins, and otherworldly ruins of royal and religious figures made me feel like I was on the set of an old Star Trek episode! Perhaps not how you’re supposed to be moved by a trip to sacred sites, but there you have it.

    Sky Bar was one of the highlights of Bangkok (thanks Maurice, for the recommendation)! Partly because it was high up above the bustle of the city — my favourite part of visiting a new place is finding the highest vantage point possible from which to view the city — and partly because it was the first time the two of us truly relaxed. As amazing as new discoveries, scenes, foods, and cultures are, they can be exhausting — especially when a 13 hour journey and 7 hour time difference is involved. Fancy cocktails, a sunset, and fireworks were just what the doctor ordered!

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