I tend to get a little ADD and stir crazy. I wonder who I get that from…. *cough cough Mike Smoak*. I had only been back from my crazy two week break for a few days and I was ready to explore some more. At about 10 PM on Friday night, we made last minute plans for an overnight trip to Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya is about an hour and a half van ride from Bangkok. It is the old capital of the Kingdom of Siam, a rich, ancient trading post. It was destroyed in the 1700s by the Burmese. It is bursting with temples and ruins. I knew it was a SEA backpacker stop, so I figured it would be flooded with tourists and westernized. Honestly, it was the total opposite, which made me happy. Most signs were written only in Thai. The night market was flooded with tons of local foods and no translations. You truly felt like you were immersed in the Thai culture. It was a very calm, lowkey place kind of like Vientiane. The town has a river that runs all the way around creating an island.
We woke up early the next morning to take the MRT to the bus station. We bought our 60 baht van tickets and we were on our bus less than 20 minutes later. (For those who aren’t up to date on the currency exchange, 60 baht is about $2!).
Once, we arrived to our hostel, I fell in love. The Early Bird Hostel was tucked away off the main street and was so cute! Little cacti and plants were cascaded all over the patio with plenty of space to sit. The staff was so friendly and helpful. We were able to get in early to put our stuff down and begin our day. This cost $6 USD with free breakfast. Once again, the luxury of cheap travel will truly hurt going back to the states. We were able to walk from our hostel everywhere we went. If I ever go back though, I will definitely be renting a bicycle.
Even though it is winter, it is hot as hell! So through some research I read that since these are “ruins” and not functioning temples, the same dress code did not apply. At the first temple, Wat Ratchaburana, my shorts and tie-dye top were all good to go. This temple was really neat because you were able to climb up the sides and into the main structure, or prang. Now these places are old, like really old. They date back to the fourteen to fifteen hundreds.
Next, we went to probably the most famous, Wat Mahathat. This is where the Buddha Head intertwined in the roots of a tree lives. There are several theories as to how the statue became embedded, some even stating the body of the head is still connected. Once, I went to walk into the entrance, I was denied due to my attire. What! Ugh, it is okay, I shouldn’t believe everything I read on Yelp. Luckily, there is plenty of vendors right outside with wrap skirts and elephant pants. Once inside, I was puzzled by all the other women in their shorts and even tank tops, all of which were accompanied by men. So either, the guard just didn’t like me, or it was because I wasn’t with a man. While, in the US we really struggle with gender roles and equality, we are still many steps ahead the rest of the word.
After we spent all day walking through amongst the ancient brick remains, we took an afternoon siesta. The heat really wears you out! Luckily, the structures created some shade throughout our strolls. We went to the main backpackers street, also known as Farang Street (fitting) for dinner and drinks. The best part of the meal was the cutest, little dog that sat right by my side the entire time. I may or may not have been bribing her with table scraps. The rest of the evening, I took advantage of our hostels adorable patio. I enjoyed reading the last few pages of The Alchemist while sipping on an ice-cold Chang.
**Side note: I could write post on this how much this book meant to me after reading it. Should I start doing book reviews as well? Lol. Either way, get you a copy and start flipping the pages. It is a short, quick easy read.****
The next morning, we woke up early to cash in on our hostels free breakfast and some last minute sightseeing before heading back to Bangkok. This is when we saw my most favorite ruin of the weekend, Wat Phra Si Sanphet. Some of the main structures, were built out of stucco, not bricks. It had a different look and vibe than the others. You could also see the glittering top of the Wat Phanan Choeng in the background. It is cool to see the old and new side by side. Something about the color of the richness in the color of the bricks and the way they were overgrown with weeds gave me a very Charleston vibe. Another reason it was my fav.
(Offerings left for the Buddha. You see people stringing these together and selling them on the streets all over Thailand)
The van dropped us back off at the Mo Chit BTS stop, which made for an easy final train ride back home. But before I landed back in Nonthaburi, I couldn’t resist pork skewers, sticky rice and a fresh coconut shake from Chatuchak Market to end the weekend!
So I have been extra obsessed with John Mayer lately. Even more than normal. Like the old stuff, before he dated as those loser famous girls and wore ill fitting light wash jeans. Here is a #TBT for your listening pleasure.