Welcome all, to the third part of my trip!
This is a short one, but in my opinion an important part.
After 3 nights in Kanchanaburi it was time for me to pack my bag and go to Ayutthaya, for 1 night.
I wanted to leave early, because that way I had 1,5 days to explore.
A short history lesson:
‘The kingdom of Ayutthaya’ was a siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 till 1767.
The king at that time(Ramathibodi I) founded the city of Ayutthaya, their capital city.
t was a wealthy city and very friendly towards foreign traders(and they still are very friendly!).
Foreign country’s referred to the kingdom as Siam, but the people living there called themselves ‘Tai’ and therr country ‘Krung Tai'(The Tai country).
In 1367 the king also took over the kingdom ‘Sukhotai’ and quickly the Tai/Siam kindom became a large nation, almost covering all ground from Thailand now a days.
When the Burmese invaded and destroyed the city in 1767 that was also the end of the kingdom..
General Taksin and his troops escaped the kingdom just before the downfall.
After the downfall the kingdom was divided in six parts. Taksin controlled the east shore.
In 1767 he conquered back central Thailand, founded the new capital city called ‘Thonburi'(which is referred to as Bangkok now) and he was crowned as king!
So reading and knowing all of the Ayutthaya history you might guess what Ayutthaya is all about..
Temples! Old ruin temples, active temples, buddha statues..
There’s a relaxed vibe in ayutthaya.. very peaceful.
Not many influences from western country’s yet so it’s a great place to experience ‘real Thailand’. Just like Kanchanaburi!
First things first now..
HOW to get there!?
That was quite the puzzle, but when you figure it out how to get there from Kanchanaburi it’s actually really simple.
The Thai people know what they’re doing 😉
From Kanchanaburi there’s no direct bus/train/van to Ayutthaya.
First you have to take the bus(busstop B5) to Suphanburi. The first one leaves at 05:10 and I think there’s one leaving every hour..
When you arrive in Suphanburi the first thing you do is buy a ticket for the minivan towards Ayutthaya.
They leave from busstop 2.
Everyone on the van gets dropped off at the same location, and lucky for me it wasn’t far from my hostel!
After walking for a few minutes I arrived at my hostel and boy what a place! It’s called Allsum hostel and I HIGHLY recommend!
It was nicely decorated and looked very clean. Everything was well organised and there was a nice Thai boy behind the counter arranging everything for everyone. The hostel attracted other friendly backpackers it seemed.
The boy behind the counter gave me a map of ayutthaya, pointed out the highlights and told me how to get around.
The best way to get around in Ayutthaya is by bicycle! The hostel rents out bikes for only 50 baht a day.
My first (half) day in Ayutthaya:
The check in at the hostel wasn’t until 2pm, but I was allowed to leave my bag(make sure to put it in your flight bag and LOCK it).
I went out for lunch and according to Happycow(an app telling you where to find vegan/vegetarian food near you) there was a Jay restaurant near me. Only a 10 minute walk.
What’s a Jay restaurant you ask?
Jay restaurants are all over Thailand and are fully vegan.
Next to avoiding animal products they also avoid 5 kind of plants for health reasons, those 5 are:
Tobacco, garlic, onion and chinese chives.
There’s much more to this kitchen so I will dedicate a separate post telling you all about the Jay kitchen soon!
Jay restaurants or food stands are recognized by flashy yellow flags with a red sign on it which looks like the number 17.
Their food is offered in buffet style with some and very cheap!
A serving of rice + 3 dishes and unlimited water for 30 baht..
Most of them also offer very good mock meats made from soy or some sort of mushroom.
It’s like 10 baht for a piece of mock meat or anything else they offer next to the buffet dishes, Like springrolls!
After I checked in at my hostel I decided to visit the nearby temple ruins of ‘wat phra mahathat’ and did everything by foot.
The old temple ruins are located in a big park including more than just the ruins.
There are some market stalls selling clothes, food, fresh coconuts, ice cream and souvenirs.
Don’t be fooled by the busy crowd there! After buying your ticket(50 baht) and entering the temple area it actually gets really peaceful.
Well, not all parts. The temple is most known for the fascinating buddha head entwined in tree roots.
Nobody knows exactly how the stone head came there!
It could get a bit crowded in front of the tree, because everyone wants to take a selfie with it.
Be aware that you’re supposed to lower yourself when standing close the the buddha head or when taking a picture.
It was indeed a beautiful sight, but after taking a few pictures I decided to escape the crowd.
I wandered around the ruins, enjoying the sun on my skin, feeling peaceful and free.
Even saw some squirrels and of course I stopped for a photo shoot!
After my wat phra mahathat visit I wandered around in the park.
I kept on walking and walking making a stop ever time I saw some sort of ruin or anything else worth to look at.
At one point I had a really nice talk with a Thai guy who wants to visit the Netherlands really bad, he’s a fan of the dutch soccer team Ajax haha!
Aaaall the way on the other side of the park is the famous, enormous reclining buddha statue(wat lokayasutharam).
A reclining buddha is a statue that represents Buddha lying down on the right flank, his head resting on a cushion or relying on his right elbow, supporting his head with his hand. This is how he lied down during his last illness, about to enter the parinirvana.
When I arrived the only people there were some locals burning sandalwood incense and it was a peaceful sight.
It was getting darker, I was getting hungry and I didn’t know where I was exactly.
My internet connection was failing me and I think that was because the surrounding looked very poor and old.
I asked a local lady on a motor bike about a certain restaurant, showing her the address on my phone.
She told me to hop on the back of her bike and took me to a tuktuk driver with more navigating knowledge.
He didn’t know either. I thanked them and decided to start walking back to where I cam from. A one hour walk.
After walking about 2/3 minutes the tuktuk driver catched up on me and offered to drive me(for free!) to the night market!
How generous, I was so grateful!!
The night market is more in the centre of Ayutthaya with some restaurants close by.
I found a restaurant offering vegetarian food and I ordered a pad thai without egg and fish sauce. Jum!!
After that I went to the night market and had my first ever mango sticky rice.. JUST WOW!
What at treat! I was hooked ♥
My second full(and last) day in Ayutthaya:
After a good night rest I took a refreshing shower and ate fruits for breakfast.
I packed my day bag, put on clothes to cover my knees and shoulders, rented a bike and went out exploring for the entire day.
But not before I let the boy behind the counter fix me a ticket for the night bus to Chiang Mai the next day!
The ‘centre’ of ayutthaya is surrounded by a river and there are some temples located on the other side of the river.
I dedicated this day on visiting 2 of them. These are ‘active temples’ with monks walking around, people burning incense and sometimes a ceremony going on.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon(20 baht):
It was a long bike ride, but WORTH IT!
I loved this temple complex!
It was relaxed and alive at the same time.
There are some buildings, huts where monks live in(they live in some sort of community there), lots of intact buddha statues and a very high Chedi. It’s worth to climb it for the view and also just to challenge yourself!
The crowd is mostly where the statues and buildings are, but I found myself in the peaceful gardens with small path walks.
My guess was that the gardens are for the monks to do their walking meditation etc.
Around the complex you’ll see signs with the thirty-eight blessings on it , like this one here on the picture.
Wat Phanan Choeng(20 baht):
This temple is known for the big golden buddha statue.
I was glad that there was a ceremony going on, otherwise it would’ve been a waste of the horrible bike ride haha.
There was.. a strange vibe and I felt like it had something to do with the location. It was weird.
After watching the ceremony I left, because it wasn’t really an enjoyable place.
What I did enjoy was the barefoot walking there!
I don’t know what kind of ceremony it was, but the people there all had an orange cloth and at the end the monks collected the cloths + money and they clothed the big buddha statue. It was a nice experience to see something like that!
Food tip on the other side of the bridge:
Somewhere in between those temple visits(or after, I can’t remember) I had lunch.
I did my research of course and I started looking for a restaurant called Jintana service.
I think I burned off all the calories I ate after my search by bike for this restaurant!
First I crossed the bridge back to the other side of the river. It’s a big uphill bridge with busy roads so quite intense.
Google maps was all over the place and told me to go back over the bridge. So I did.
I crossed it a few times, because everytime I was on one side it looked like I had to be on the other side.
I. WAS. ONE. BIG. HOT. SWEATY. MESS, but determined to find this restaurant!
And I did. I asked some locals and they pointed me in a direction.
First it looked like I wouldn’t find anything there, but all of a sudden.. a street with lots of restaurants, hostels, shops and other travelers!
Yes! I found Jintana service and they knew exactly what veganism is.
I had a delicious curry, rice and spring rolls with peanut chili sauce.
After my adventures I went back to the hostel and met some nice people at the hostel.
One of them was a dutch guy and we went out for dinner together, at ‘tony’s place restaurant’.
A restaurant with a really nice vibe and good music!
They made me a pineapple fried rice without egg and fish sauce + a mango coconut milk smoothie ♥
Back at the hostel we sat outside in the dark with more travelers, talking and laughing.
Until I had to head off to catch the night bus towards the next chapter in my trip.. Chiang Mai!