Well, the train from Bangkok station to Ayutthaya is certainly interesting! It was only 90 minutes, but it was all 3rd class. Now 3rd class is usually fine for us. More than fine in fact. But this was cramped. And by cramped, I mean that Will’s knees nearly touched the seat in front of him, and as the seats faced each other in groups of 4, it led to a pretty uncomfortable ride. But at least all of the windows were open, and at 15 Baht you really can’t complain! In fact, you can’t even buy an awful soggy service station pie back in NZ for the $0.60 that the train ticket cost.
Ayutthaya was a very important old capital city in its prime with over a million residents several hundred years ago, which is pretty impressive for back then. That was until the Burmese thought “nah, stuff ya” and burned the city to the ground. I mean, how rude. Plus, as almost all of the buildings were wooden, only ruins of the stone temples remained.
We had planned to check out all of the temples of which the city is famed, however we only ended up going to 2 of them. The reason was simply that it felt a lot like Sukothai, and also that all the ruins looked pretty similar. That being said, the 2 that we did see (Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Ratchaburana) were very impressive.
Wat Ratchaburana even included a deep dark stairway down in one of the temples to a tomb, which was adorned in some stunning…um…picture thingies. I want to say frescoes? Like paintings on the wall, but worded far more fancily. Like Thai versions of Roman frescoes. Let’s call them Thaiscoes. Yes. …the walls were adorned with stunning Thaiscoes.
We also had one of the scariest moments of our lives just outside of Wat Phra Si Sanphet. While walking around the grounds, which housed the footprints of old palace buildings, we saw a couple of dogs. We kept our distance as usual, and kept walking. Then, out of nowhere, a very large black dog charged at us, growling, baring teeth, and genuinely threatening to attack. – this wasn’t a dog barking to not come close. This was a dog fiercely protecting its territory. After running away far enough for it to stop chasing us, we cursed, and quickly made it back to the Wat. Perhaps that was why no one else was in the grounds!
The rest of our time was spent around the city park, which also housed several small ruins, and walking around the town and along the river. It was a nice place, but not the nicest in Thailand really. Perhaps the dog incident and extreme heat caught up with us a bit too much!
Next up: Nakhon Ratchasima, and into the Isaan province of the northeast.