Hi Everyone! It’s been awhile. The past few weeks have been busy but not in an adventurous way. My students are finishing up different subjects randomly and I’m testing and grading worksheets and workbooks far more often than my first few weeks. Busy is good though! The past two weekends I’ve stayed in Chachoengsao and relaxed; but, I started to feel like time was slipping away and before you know it, I’d be back home in California wishing I did more while I was in Thailand. So, I planned a quick trip to Ayutthaya for the weekend. Ayutthaya is the original capital of Thailand with the most incredible ruined temples! There are 3 palaces and over 400 temples situated on a little island with canals separating it from the mainland. “During the 17th century, most foreign visitors to Ayutthaya, traders and diplomats alike, claimed Ayutthaya to be the most illustrious and glittering city that they had ever visited.” You can read more about the history of Ayutthaya here.
I left Chachoengsao on Saturday morning on the 8:20am train to Bangkok. Train travel in Thailand is so incredibly easy and cheap! It only cost 13 baht (0.40 USD) and 1.5 hours to get to Bangkok. From Bangkok, I took a train to Ayutthaya that left 10 minutes after I arrived from Chachoengsao. That train cost 15 baht (0.50 USD) and another 1.5 hours. The transition was so smooth and easy – not what I anticipated at all! Was this the cheapest way to get to my destination… YES! a total of 90 cents USD?! Was it the fastest and most comfortable… absolutely not. The train was 3rd class, no AC, and packed. Fortunately, I found a seat by the window so I had a nice breeze the entire ride. The views were worth the heat and claustrophobia 😉
Once I arrived in Ayutthaya, I checked into my hotel, rented a motorbike, and hit the road with a map outlining the temples and markets. It was a fun day and I recommend it to people heading north from Bangkok as a day trip, or a day trip if you plan to stay in Bangkok for a few days. The very popular Buddha face in the tree is located in Ayutthaya. It is unknown why it’s there or how it got there, but it’s an iconic stop in Ayutthaya. If you want to take a picture with the Buddha, you need to crouch down on the ground to be lower than the Buddha as a sign of respect. There was a big tour group taking pictures when I arrived and I didn’t want to wait, so I captured this picture which turned out better than any picture of me sitting like a frog in front of a tree ever would.
Then I went to Wat Na Phramen which holds Thailand’s largest gold Buddha statue at 12.45 metres high (If you can mentally convert that into feet or yards or whatever, you’ll know it’s gigantic!). It was GORGEOUS! My pictures are an attempt at getting the entire statue and the real-life human model face who unknowingly serves as a scale for measuring the size of this beauty.
As my first real solo trip somewhere IN Thailand, I would call it successful! I followed a map on my own, drove a motorbike for the first time, and felt so proud of where I was in life during this weekend getaway. I have 5 more teaching weeks left in the term and then I’m hitting the road hard! Can’t wait to share with everyone where I’m going next 🙂