Day 3 and 4: Ayuthaya and Sukhothai
We started our trip to Ayuthaya with a packed and sweaty 2 hours third class train ride from Bangkok to Ayuthaya. Something that everybody really should experience at least once! Our goal there the jaw-droppingly beautiful ruins and temples of Ayuthaya, an ancient capital and trading centre of the Siam kingdom, famous for its UNESCO listed historical park. From the three bell-shaped chedis of Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, to the shades of the 35 m height carved prang of Wat Chaiwattanarm, ending with the “entwined in the roots” Buddah’s head of Wat Mahathat, we spent the whole day walking around without even realizing how the time passed.
Quick tip: if you run into a Muslim market, instead of wondering what everybody’s buying (green crepes along with thin colourful strands of melted palm sugar), just get some and make your own dessert. It will surprise you.
We ended up being the laughingstock of a whole restaurant in one of the least touristic areas of Ayutthaya. Being the only westerner that ever crossed that door didn’t help, not having a clue about how to deal with your dish didn’t make the situation better. General laughter spread when Isa tried to eat some raw meat that she was supposed to cook in a charcoal heated broth. In our defense it is not easy to cope with a whole crowd of people, staring at you and giving you advice in Thai!
Wandering around a sleepy Sukhothai at 3 AM, after a 7 hours bus ride, trying to find an accommodation for the night and ending up in the worst shack you can ever imagine, complete with door handles that break when you grab them and blankets covered in somebody’s else hair. That’s the point when we promised ourselves to try to be a bit more organized.
The next day we rented a bike for a whole day at the price of 60p and cycling around the breathtaking, yet not so touristic, historical park of Sukhothai (another UNESCO world heritage site). Exploring the crumbling ruins at sunset, plunged in the orange warm light of dusk and in the smell of frangipani flowers, was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Hungry from a day on our bikes we got carried away buying delicious dishes of all sorts (4 courses meal for less than £2!) on A popular street food night market in Phitsanulok, having one of the best feasts of our trip.
That night we were rocked to sleep by the sound of the night train on the tracks in the 7 hours journey from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai.