BarclAysia Day 5: Ayutthaya

(posted by Emily)

23 December 2014
Ayutthaya and Bangkok 
Step Count: 18,263 according to Pacer (was probably higher, knowing how much we walked on Tuesday)

There are lots of day trips travelers can take from Bangkok and we decided to spend Tuesday at the ancient city of Ayutthaya. The city was the ancient capital of Thailand, and is about and hour  and a half outside the city by minibus. We picked up a quick breakfast (coconut, pomegranate juice, and pineapple with chili) and head to Victory Memorial where we could catch the buses, which only cost $2 per person. 


Stray animals everywhere--this pup was just chillin in the street, not bothered by anything
We got on the bus, and settled in for the ride. The vans hold 16 people, including the driver. 






Rick, as always, had done a fair amount of research about the day trip and learned it is very common for these buses to drop tourists off on a remote location, in order to convince you take a tuk tuk the rest of the way for an exorbitant amount. Well, that happened to us, and I was uneasy so got off the bus before we should have. So, we ended up walking the last mile and a half or so, because we refuse to get scammed :) 

The ruins are spread out over an immense park area, and are even interspersed within city buildings. There are temples and religious sights all over, and our first stop was a temple with a giant Buddha. 









Just to the right of the temple is the sight of the main part of the ancient city. We walked all around the old stone stupas (and even up them) and there were many crumbling Buddha statues as well. These are draped in yellow fabric, to let you know they are religious icons. It was fascinating to see all of the old brick structures and mentally compare them to other ruins we've seen around the world. 
















One of the things we absolutely wanted to see was the ancient statute of Buddha reclining. Any statue of Buddha reclining represents him during his last illness, before entering parnirvana. They are more rare then regular Buddha images, and the one at Ayutthaya is one of the largest. 

In true Barclay fashion, we walked. I think Rick could walk to the ends of the earth if it meant not paying for unnecessary transportation :) 


Stumbled upon some other smaller temples and shrines, while walking through the parks.



The reclining Buddha is huge. He's draped in yellow, just like the other images of Buddha in the area. It's fascinating to see him all stretched out, and walk up close to such an enormous statue. I really liked that this statue was outside, so you could take in the whole thing at once. 






As we wandered our way toward the minibuses to Bangkok, we stopped in a few more temples along the way. 








Hard to see, but this statue was surrounded by rooster statues. We have no idea why!
We stopped for lunch at Coffee Old City, when we spotted "vegetarian" on their chalkboard sign. Pad Thai, veggie stir fry, and Tom Yum soup with great views of the ruins. 










Finally, it was back on the minibus and into Bangkok. We hit the beginnings of rush hour traffic and we were pretty hot and sticky by the time we got off. We headed back to the hotel for some water and showers before heading back out again. 


We decided to head back to Khao San, to see what the area was like at night. Rick found a way to get there on another boat, which has easily been one of my favorite experiences of the trip. It's a fast, subway type boat which we accessed from an almost hidden pier. It cost about 50 cents per person, and when you are the only white people on board, you know it's a form of transit the locals definitely rely on. The whole ride was fascinating. 




Sorry it's so blurry!
Dinner was at a great vegan restaurant called Ethos. We had homemade kombucha, Rick had coconut noodle soup and fried kale, and I had falafel, despite my vow not to eat falafel on this trip. Boy, was I glad I did! 









Ethos is down an alleyway with an assortment of vegetarian restaurants. 



We walke over to Khao San Road, which was teeming with people, loud music, and street vendors. It is quite the party! 


We walked over one block to our favorite street, which is a bit more subdued. Lots of foot traffic but less loud music. It was time to stop by Shewa Spa for a foot rub. After all the walking in Ayutthaya, it was well deserved :) 



After our massages, we opted for some cocktails and people watching. A local beer for Rick and a caipirinha for me. 




Next to Shewa is another bar, which had great live music during our massages. We decided to sit down and enjoy a beer, and listen. The boy singing did some of the greatest hits of the 90s, which was fun. 





Another great day! 

Massage Count: 3

--E&R 

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