Thailand, We Have Arrived
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
Its hard to believe that two weeks ago we were days away from boarding a plane to Thailand and suddenly, it's come and gone.
We had such an amazing time on this trip and explored so much from Bangkok to Koh Samui and everything in between.
1// After a long 24 hours of travel time, we landed in Bangkok around mid evening. We were exhausted, but didn't want to waste a minute. We hit the ground running and snagged a tuk tuk to Koh San Road for our first snippet of Bangkok. Koh San Road is a hot tourist spot, so we couldn't pass up taking a breeze through the bustling street. The 400 meter stretch of road was full of young backpackers and Thai street vendors peddaling scorpions on sticks and plastic bags full of laughing gas. There was also a partially eaten alligator circling over top a grill. (We stopped back by nearly two weeks later and the same alligator was still roasting over the grill, only this time, there was much less of him!)
2// The next day we unintentionally woke up early - like 4 AM early. We were way jet lagged, but couldn't wait to start our first full day. Our first hostel, Siri Poshtel, had the best guest house breakfast of the whole trip. On this morning we had jelly toast, some sort of chocolatey cereal, fresh fruit, juice, and veggies. Just what we needed for a busy day.
After breakfast, we hit the ground running and headed to The Grand Palace and The Temple of The Emerald Buddha. This was my first time seeing Asian architecture in person and I was instantly mesmerized by the attention to detail and rich colors.
Fom the Grand Palace, we walked to Wat Pho, home of the 150 foot reclining Buddha. I didn't really grasp just how long he was going to be until I tried squeezing him into a photo.
The flower market was a short walk away and was just as busy as any other market, filled with locals searching for flowers and garlands to be given as offerings or displayed in hopes of bringing good fortune.
Later we found ourselves near the river contemplating taking a boat ride down the canals. We had a train to catch later and were uncertain on time constraints. As we were mumbling about whether or not to go for it, the small Thai woman in charge of the operation exclaimed "500 Baht! Final offer."
We hadn't even tried to haggle, but for 1,000 Baht less than her listing price, we couldn't say no - and I'm so glad we didn't because this boat ride was definitely a highlight of the trip for me.
We floated down the canals in between rows of homes. Some elaborate and notably expensive while others were on the verge of collapsing into the river beneath them due to water damage.
About 45 minutes later, we slowly drifted up to a small dock and were given 30 minutes to wander around the floating market. There were older women cutting fruits, small plastic pools of turtles for sale, clothing, plants, and bags. I bought a coconut ice cream treat that was so good I considered ordering one for the road.
On our way back, we asked if our boat driver could drop us off at our next stop, Wat Arun, which was right on the river anyway and saved us a bit of time.
Wat Arun may have been one of my favorite temples. It had steep steep stairs and a wrap around porch feel. The tiles were made up of soft mint, pale pink, ivory, and lilac hues. Overall, it just felt more calm and airy than any of other the temples we saw.
By now we were wearing out from the heat and had a train to catch, so we headed to the station for a short ride to Ayuttayah. For experience, we took a 3rd class train, which is the least expensive and what the locals typically take. The cabin was old, dark, and didn't have air conditioning. It felt like being in a different time period, but I didn't mind. Part of why we travel is to experience things outside of our "norm" and to get a glimpse into other people's lives.
I struggled to keep my eyes open most of the train ride and was so grateful when we finally arrived in Ayutthaya.
We took a tuk tuk from the train station to what would be our B&B for the night - Ban Boonchu . Initially, I was hesitant about the tuk tuks but I quickly learned to love them. They're a little wild and a little freeing.
Our host for the night was an older Thai woman who was very kind and grandmotherly. Her and her family lived in the lower, open air section of the home while the top floor was for guests, although tonight it was just us.
Before bed, we found a small market nearby and had our first taste of authentic veggie pad thai. It was definitely better than what I make at home. Leigh Anna even ordered a second plate.
3// We only have this one day to explore Ayuttaya. Luckily we woke up bright and early - again, and were able to get a jump start on our day after a cup of coffee.
Our host hooked us up with a private tuk tuk driver for the day which was incredibly helpful and saved us a lot of time.
(I highly suggest hiring a driver if you only have a short time in Ayuttaya as most of the main attractions are wide spread. It cost us 1,000 BAHT for the day and we were able to cover much more ground)
The main thing to do in Ayuttaya is visit wats. They're nearly all unshaded and more ruin like than the temples in other parts of Thailand that we visited. If you're short on time or not into architecture, I'd say Ayuttaya is a place you could skip.
By the end of the day all but one of us were hungry, hot, and tired of looking at temples. I'll let you take a wild guess as to who was still rip roaring to do more.
(Hint: It's Leigh Anna)
That afternoon, our tuk tuk driver kindly took us to the train station, which was a piece of cake in itself. We just walked in and were directed to our proper train. No nerves. No fuss.
4// Our overnight train to Chiang Mai was a major success. We rode second class on a newer train and overall, it felt kind of like being at summer camp. There were bunks with curtains and we could giggle and talk with our friends Kiana and Olivia across the aisle.
We were exhausted had 11 hours until Chiang Mai; Fortunately, the white noise and soft shaking of the train made falling asleep that much easier.
Keep checking back for the next leg of our time in Thailand where we make it to Chiang Mai, hike Wat Doi Suthep, get Thai massages, see a ladyboy show, and visit an elephant sanctuary.