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Published: June 11th 2017
What a full day we had today! We were up at 6:15 this morning, had breakfast in the hotel, then our guide picked us up for our day tour to Bang Pa-In and Ayutthaya. It took about an hour or so to drive out of Bangkok to Bang Pa-In, which is the Royal summer residence. It was built mostly in the 1800s by King Rama V, who was interested in European style architecture. It is still used occasionally today. You can see from the pictures we were lucky with the weather again. It was a beautiful sunny day. The Royal summer residence is beautiful, with many different styles of buildings, in a lovely park-like setting.
From Bang Pa-In we drove to Ayutthaya, which was the former capital of Siam, founded 1350. It is mostly ruins today, having been destroyed by the Burmese army in 1767. We saw three Wats (temples) at Ayutthaya. They were all quite amazing and must have been incredible when they were in use. The Royal Palace complex at Wat Phiasisanhet would have been particularly impressive. The Wats are full of Buddhas, some left in the damaged state and some which have been restored. We saw an
enormous reclining Buddha at Wat Mahathat and an even larger meditative Buddha at Wat Phiasianhet.
We had lunch at the Krungsri River Hotel in Ayutthaya, which was included in our tour. Ok, yes, we shared a large Singha beer. Hey, it's hot and thirsty work touring Wats.
It was another hot and humid day and by the end of the tour of the three Wats we were happy to board a longtail boat for a ride on the river which surrounds Ayutthaya. It was amazing to see the different houses on the river, some new and fancy, and many old and rickety, seemingly made of corrugated tin.
We drove back to Bangkok (with a stop for an amazing iced coffee) and got back around 5. There are lots and lots of people riding motorbikes here. Though it is the law to wear a helmet, maybe only around half of the riders actually wear them. It is also common for whole families, complete with a couple of little kids, on one motorbike. They also have motorbike taxis for short trips, if you are brave enough to get on the back of one!
When we got back we
dropped off some laundry across the street and went for a massage. We both had the 1/2 hour foot massage (lovely and relaxing) followed by a 1/2 hour Thai massage (not so relaxing). Thai massage isn't like the massage we get at home. You are stretched, squeezed, and thumped, gasping, into submission. It feels good afterward though!
We had dinner a few doors down at Gun Thai (pad thai and veggie spring rolls), and yes, more beer (Chang - which means elephant). The street is very lively at night, so many people and vendors selling various things. One guy sets up a cart selling various cooked bugs and spiders. Yuck!
Tomorrow we have a 1/2 day tour - "Temple and River of Kings". We see the Grand Palace, Wat Pra Kaew, Wat Pho, then tour the "klongs" (canals) of Bangkok, then in the evening we meet our tour group. Can't wait!
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