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Ayutthaya, Thailand

Adventures by bike around the former Thai capital.

sunny 35 °C

Our bus journey to Ayutthaya included an unscheduled 45 minute stop as our minibus driver fixed his overheated broken down bus. At least this time we were at a service station and not on the side of a mountain after dark.

Ayutthaya used to be the capital of Thailand, and when they built Bangkok, they decided to try and replicate the layout of Ayutthaya. Other than the fact both have a river running through the middle, we couldn't really see the similarities.

When the capital was moved, a lot of the brickwork was taken too, to help Bangkok replicate Ayutthaya. Most of the temples have been left to ruin and are no longer decorated in ornate tiles. We spent the day going between the main temples and the Royal Palace until we were all templed out. Our mode of transport for today was the good old push bike.

It's very interesting riding a bike in Asia, and something which needs a bit of practise, a lot of courage, and a total lack of fear. Imagine sharing the road with not only cars and buses, but motorbikes with frame-like cart sidecars; mopeds galore, half ridden by hesitant tourists, the rest driven by daring hasty locals. Tuk tuks and weird 'truck buses'; random pedestrians evidently with a death wish and finally the odd food stall cart stuck out into the road for good measure. Oh and I forgot to mention the herd of elephants to whom everyone must giveaway. Yet surprisingly, it seems to work. Even taking the third exit off of a three-four lane roundabout wasn't too scary once you got on it.

At first it made a pleasant change to visit some rundown runs, but by about the third set, we felt we had seen enough. Ayutthaya is an exceedingly pretty city with some of the temples surrounded by water. Having elephants strolling through in traditional dress adds to the feel of the place, making it seem more authentic and set in the past.

In the evening, we enjoyed a lovely curry on some decking onto the river before catching a sleeper train to Uttaradit. This sleeper train was 2nd class which meant 32 beds in one carriage with no air-con, just fans. Chris didn't seem to sleep too badly; however the trains really do sway in Thailand and I kept being lifted up on one side. Plus their trains are incredibly noisy and seem to bang constantly. Aft one point I drifted off but had a strange half dream that I could feel my stomach banging into my intestines. When we alighted 7½ hours later at half 6, it took summertime for the motion feeling too pass. We then caught a bus to Lampang to go to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center.

Posted by Roaming Rolts 08:14 Archived in Thailand Tagged temples temple travel elephants

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Sounds like you are having a great time in Asia! Just seen the elephant shower pics and they look great fun - I guess you didn't need a shower that night Zoe!

by Steve Rolt

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