Waking up to the news about the attacks in Hua Hin, Phuket, Trang and Surut Thani was very sad. Our thoughts go out to all those who may have been affected. It seems that the world has become a place where nowhere is particularly safe anymore- it could have happened anywhere. We will continue to travel and explore, as should others, but our ears and eyes will be more acutely aware. Living in London for nine years taught us that. There are so many wonders of the world to be seen, and we will go and find them…
Our last free day before our induction week begins. We have been in Bangkok for nearly a week now, being expats more than tourists, so something ‘touristy’ was on the cards. Will wanted to set his alarm for 6am, so that we could go and explore the local park. So this is how our day began. A run around Lumpini Park at 6:30am. In London I can run for about twenty minutes before breaking into a full on sweat. In Bangkok this took about five minutes- and I could only manage 3k. The heat and humidity really was a killer! However, the park itself is beautiful and there is a real sense of community. As we ran around we saw three or four group exercise programs where you can just join in for free. People from all walks of life were joining in, as the music blasted through the trees and ponds around the park. On the running track, we wove in and out of people jogging along. Quiet? No. This park at 6:30am was booming and it was great to be a part of it (even for 15 minutes!) I don’t have pictures, I’m afraid. The grey vest I was wearing in that heat is descriptive enough…
The real touristy part of our day started at 9am, when we made our way to ‘Victory Monument’ station on the BTS sky train. This stop is slightly North of the centre but very easy to get to. Here, you can buy a ticket for a mini van to loads of different places in Thailand. However, finding the right stand selling the tickets you want is a bit of a nightmare. There are so many! We meandered around all the vendors, asking people for ‘Ayuthaya’- the fact we couldn’t even pronounce this place didn’t really help. Ai-u-thai-ya. Finally we found the right vendor who, for 60 baht each (£1.10), gave Will two pieces of red foam. These, were our tickets. We were then directed to the long line of people waiting for mini vans to Ayuthaya. Must be popular, we thought. We waited for nearly half an hour to get on the van, which if anyone knows me, was hard. We were the last ones to get on the third bus. Will probably got the worst seat, squashed in at the back with a Spanish family. I, however, had a nice little single seat to myself. Perfect for a nap! It took about two hours to get to Ayuthaya. For just over £2 each, it was an absolute bargain- you get air conditioning and everything.
When we arrived, we walked down the street and hired bikes for 40 baht each (around 80p). These rickety old things helped us tour most of the sights in the area. It would have been impossible walking.
Ayuthaya used to be the capital city of Siam. It is now a UNESCO site and extremely beautiful- and clear to see why it was so popular at Victory Monument station. The structures of the buildings are fascinating and give you a real sense of the past. It was the perfect place to test out our new ‘Go Pro’, despite some teething problems. We also visited a temple where flowers were being laid out for Mother’s day and prayers were being made to the Budda.
The heat and humidity of Thailand strikes you at times when you least expect it, and the need for water and food is suddenly essential. As we just needed to sit down and didn’t want to ‘grab and go’ at the food stalls, we stumbled into a road side restaurant… Our first real taste of street food. I ordered Pad Thai and Will ordered stir fried chicken and rice. We also ordered water and coca-colas. Too hungry to care about getting a tummy bug, my Pad Thai arrived and I ate like a horse, shoving in mouthful after mouthful with my chop sticks to try and blend into the crowd. The verdict? Delicious. The best part? The price. 150 baht for our food and drinks- and a tip. That, everyone, is about THREE POUNDS. The need for capitals is really necessary. I’m not shouting, I’m just excited.
Our day in Ayunthaya was really chilled out, hot, but chilled, and we are glad we made the effort to do something a bit more touristy. After getting back on the mini bus, we worked out that we had spent around £20 for the whole day. That included our travel expenses, hiring bikes, paying for some of the sights and lunch. So, we would definitely recommend going there for a cheap and leisurely day out of Bangkok.
As the Bangkok skyline began to light up, our last free day finished with dinner and some drinks at Cloud 47- a rooftop bar in the United Centre, described as being ‘casual’. That, it was. You could turn up in flip flops if you wanted to. However, the drinks and view are like being somewhere a bit more upmarket. Looking down on the streets below, the city is really quite magnificent.