We started our Thailand trip with a quick overnight stay in Bangkok followed by a short train ride to Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand from 1300 – mid 1700’s and collapsed after the Burmese invasion. We were able to drop our bags for the day (you can pay a small fee to keep them in the train station) and rent bicycles to tour the city. The city is actually an island, surrounded by 3 rivers and easy to bike with very little hills… except for the crazy Thai drivers! Thais are very bold drivers. There were a few instances where I thought I was done for!! I lived to tell the tale, obviously, but it was a little hairy at times. Whew!! Since Ayutthaya was the capital for a solid 450 years it is full of fantastic ruins and history. We spent the afternoon riding around and exploring even though my butt was KILLING me. The bikes are hardly new so the seat had two large screws working through padding. I literally had two small round bruises on my bum the next day!! It was worth the pain but it was uncomfortable.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram was our first and favorite stop of the day. It was built in 1630, and was destroyed when the Burmese invaded and looted for Buddahs and bricks the next few centuries. The Thai government restored some of it and it was made a UNESCO site.We jumped back on the painful bikes and headed to Wat Lokayasutharam to see the reclining Buddha. The size is very impressive but the rest of the ruins were pretty bland. So back on the bikes.
Our last Wat stop for the day was at Wat Phra Si Sanphet. This was a beautiful place where we were able to climb the stairs to see inside the small alcoves that hold offerings and religious items. This site is very popular among tourist and stray dogs. Stray dogs are to Thailand as stray cats are to Greece. They keep to themselves and the Thai’s generally seem to like them. Often homes and businesses had bowls for food and water left out for them. Visiting this popular Wat at the end of the day during the slow tourist season left us to explore these ruins with no interruptions. After exploring this Wat we decided it was time to return the bikes before the sun set completely. Last ride and thank goodness because my butt just couldn’t handle much more.
After a few near death experiences with a bus and scooters. We made it back to the bike shop and the closest bar to settle my nerves. The evening was spent strolling through the night market ( a staple in all large Thai villages) for dinner and meeting up with our dear friend Patchaya and her daughter Jasmine who were in Thailand for the summer to see family.
In most Thai markets they serve the food in plastic bags. I was pretty impressed with my skills at eating this curry out of the bag. If you don’t feel that you are as talented as me, you can ask for dishes. 😉 We ended the night meeting up with our good friend Pat who was visiting family outside of Ayutthaya.