The Wayfarer (mnfaure) wrote,
The Wayfarer

Sweltering Ayutthaya, or How Many Buddhas Did We See?

The journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya started early in the morning. Our driver picked us up at our hotel at 7:20 and left us at the train station with tickets for the 9 o'clock to Ayutthaya.  Julien had just long enough to order a coffee and it was time to go wait on the platform. The call to board was not for us, however, and we stood on platform surrounding by sleeping youths sprawled on benches and the concrete, sweating in the morning heat and oblivious to those around them.

The train finally pulled up, looking for all the world like it had rolled through Hell to get to us.  It was completely covered in soot, and you could barely discern the seat tops through the windows.  Julien assured me that it was free seating, so when the doors clacked open and I could see the interiors enough to know I didn't want to be in the first car, I headed to the second one.  

Ah! Air conditioning! Padded, reclining seats!

Sadly, not our class.

The conductor invited us to go to the first car or pay 5 euros extra to stay where we were.  Not thinking clearly--it was early and hot and....--we moved to third class.

And sweated. And got backaches from the stiff, board-like seats.

Thankfully the ride was only an hour and a half long.

Ayutthaya was just as hot as Bangkok, but we were taken directly to our hotel, the Baan Eve, where we were greeted with chilled water and a lovely hostess who took time to explain the surrounding city sites and offer us advice on what to see.

Silly little tourists that we are, we decided to head out at lunch time. We ate a good little sidewalk eatery on the corner and then started walking toward the "island," a bit of land surrounded by canals where the majority of the temple and palace ruins are. We walked with the intention of finding a place to rent a bicycle, but we never came across one. We should have rented from the hotel.

Instead we ended up walking to the island.  Not that far, but in the heat! Oh my.  We stopped to see the famous buddha head cradled in tree roots:

And then decided we had to get out of the heat for a little while. We sought refuge in a restaurant, and I sipped on a watermelon shake while Julien had a coffee and ice cream.

Fortified, we headed back out in the swelter and meandered through the park to the statue which I shall call "Let sleeping buddhas lie" because I can't remember the real name:

And another to show you just how big the reclining fellow is:

Having had enough of walking, and having been informed by a tuk-tuk driver that Phu Khao Thong (the Khmer monument where we wanted to be for sunset)...

....was too far by foot, we hired that sagacious tuk-tuk driver and off we went, happy to give our barking dogs a rest.

Yet more buddhas were to be seen...

Including this mysterious, chubby fellow:

Was someone doing a giant smoke offering, or was it just a conveniently place to burn some dead leaves?

Not really sure because everyone had pretty much closed shop and left the poor tourists thirsty and alone.

Next stop: Sukhothai
Tags: pics, round-the-world, southeast asia

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