12 Hours in Ayutthaya
I’m not very fond of waking up early in the mornings, I was never a morning person, even if I tried. But it’s something you get used to once you get the hang of it. Our mornings on the road usually consists of a quick breakfast, a small dose of coffee or tea and a little workout from running around with our luggage, to catch a bus, a train or a flight to the next place.
A few meters from our place in Bangkok was the Hua Lamphong Station. From there we took a 3rd class train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya Station. I've only been on trains in Hong Kong and Japan before, so a 3rd class train in Thailand is a new experience for me. It reminds me so much of Indian Trains, but not the crowded ones overloading with people, but like the one in The Darjeeling Limited (I know. Haha). I liked it a lot. The trip took about 2 hours and we arrived around 10 am.
Arriving at the Ayutthaya was very hot at the time. It must have been 40 degrees. We left our luggage at the station and looked for food. As expected from a famous tourist destination, the restaurants around here were a little bit pricey than the usual, but we had a little time to go around and found cheap food a few meters from the station. We’re fond of Thai street food stalls. They usually taste good and it’s fairly cheap, plus we were obsessed with Thai Iced Tea.
I think they said there were about 200 temples in Ayutthaya and it would take 2-3 days to go around. If you have no idea which temples to visit, better to go to the Tourist Information Centre or ask your Tuktuk driver.
The temple architecture is said to be divided by three periods: The Early, Middle and Late Period. You can find temples similar to Khmer’s architecture. Some are a bit modern and bigger and has some similarities to the rounded Sri Lankan temples.
You will find Ayutthaya's UNESCO sign in Wat Pra Si Sanphet.
The temples, much like Angkor Wat, gave me this otherworldly feeling to it. I think it was really beautiful, for the lack of a better word. If I could time travel, I would probably go and see how Ayutthaya was like in it's former glory. I can only imagine.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is my favorite. I remembered ranking the temples based on design. I can't help it! Unfortunately we we’re too tired to explore and it was getting dark.
Walking around in Ayutthaya in a 40 degree heat for half a day was pretty exhausting, we got a tan. Really tanned. Yes, I did apply sunscreen. Also, I’m not a touristy person. I admit, I have little to no interest in a tourist spot, the famous ones at least. Ever since I started joining my cousin Gie as a nomad, we try to at least visit one touristy place. You can never go wrong with visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites.
One thing about backpacking is knowing new things about yourself. Such as breaking old habits and discovering new ones. I’m actually pretty particular with showers and toilets. I debated whether to take a shower at the train station or not, but my need to feel clean overrides my fear of public toilets, so it was something new. Around quarter past nine, we got on the overnight sleeper train to Nong Khai, the border between Laos and Thailand and it was quite a ride. Literally and figuratively. I love sleeper trains now.