Mon 1 Feb 10 - Mon 1 Feb 10 31 °C
After meeting yet another Internet friend this morning, we all headed out to the ancient capital of Thailand - Ayutthaya. We decided to take the slow train, which was only 15 Baht (about 50 cents) per person as opposed to 350 Baht (about 10 dollars). The trip took about 2 hours, but we had stunning views of the Thai countryside along the way.
When we arrived in Ayutthaya we were immediately bombarded with tuk-tuk drivers offering tours of the city. We declined several offers until we found a guy willing to take us to our hostel for 100 Baht (about 3 dollars). He wanted to give us a tour of the city afterwards, but we just wanted to settle down for a while before taking off.
Our hostel, Banbua House II, is located right on the river. It's a homestay, so there are two buildings: one is the hotel, and the other is the family's house. Awesome place.
Directly across the street from our hostel is a pile of ancient ruins. That might sound cool at first, but then you realize this entire island is littered with ruins, each one more stunning than the last. We decided to take a stroll around the nearby park just to get a sense of what we were in for.
When we got back to our hostel we hired a tuk-tuk to drive us around the island. A three hour ride cost 500 Baht split between the three of us, plus 50 Baht per site that we visited. All in all, we spent very little money, but got to see some of the most beautiful ruins in the world.
Wat Ratcha Burana
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Many of the Buddha statues are decapitated or completely destroyed. It makes the ruins just that much more eerie realizing that much of the destruction was intentional. After seeing the Grand Palace in Bangkok, it makes me wonder just how incredible this city must have been in its' prime. The scale is much larger than the Grand Palace, but much of it is rubble now. Regardless of the destruction, Ayutthaya is still breathtaking.
Tomorrow we are going to try and ride some elephants. It should be an interesting day.