22/9 Bangkok to Ayutthaya


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September 26th 2016
Published: September 26th 2016
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Wat Traimit, home of the golden Buddha.
There wasn't a great deal of time until the train to Ayutthaya, definitely not enough to do the Chinatown area around Yaowarat road justice. I had spent an afternoon getting lost in the street markets there last summer but didn't realise at the time that the shiny new white temple on the start of Yaowarat road was Wat Traimit, home of the Golden Buddha statue. With two hours before my train and with the rain bucketing down it was the perfect time to go and pay this temple a visit. The temple also contains the Chinatown heritage centre and a ticket for this and the golden Buddha costs 140 baht. The heritage centre covers the first floor of the temple and tells of the history of the Chinese immigration to Bangkok and the influence they had on the economy and culture of the city in the 19th and 20th centuries. On the second floor the story of the golden Buddha is given, several hundred years ago it was covered in plaster to protect it from being looted by the Burmese and was then almost forgotten about, ending up at the present site that was an unimportant temple in the city. Whilst
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The golden Buddha statue.
moving the statue during building work in the 1950's it was dropped on the floor and some of the plaster broke away to reveal the golden Buddha hiding inside. On the top floor is the actual golden Buddha statue, at over 3 metres tall and weighing 5.5 tons it has a value of more than 250 million dollars.

It was time now to get the train to Ayutthaya, the 3rd class train is fairly comfortable and takes just under 2 hours. The ruins of Ayutthaya are situated on an island made by the confluence of three rivers, most of the accommodation is also on this island and so you either have to get a tuk tuk, for which drivers were asking 150 baht, or take the small ferry across onto the island and then walk, which is what I decided to do.

To take the ferry you walk out of the station and down a road opposite that leads to the river, here you will find a small pier where the boat picks people up and drops them at a similar pier on the other side for 5 Baht. Once on the island its about a ten minute
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Ferry across the river to the island at Ayutthaya.
walk to where most of the accommodation seems to be.

Ayutthaya has a problem after dark with stray dogs, these roam in packs around the area of the temple ruins, as I found out myself when I was there last year, and so decided to leave the ruins until morning and have a drink at Ayutthaya's pub street on Naresuan soi 2. This street is not exactly the Khao san road, but that's a good thing, there are 4 or 5 bars and a few hostels in the space of about 50 metres and this seems to be the backpacker heart of the city.


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Pub street Ayutthaya.
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This street is the heart of the backpacker scene in Ayutthaya.


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