After my dramatic, and potentially dangerous, feud with the Bar Mafia, I left Bangkok to move northwards to Chiang Mai, stopping over at a few interesting places along the way.
I started off with Ayutthaya, which used to be the old capital of Thailand – before it was razed to the ground by the invading Burmese. The area (or what remains of it) is fairly spread out, and either a bicycle / motorbike is the easiest ways to explore the old city. I decided to go with the bicycle, which was generally fine, save that I am now a few shades darker, and my butt still hurts…
I stayed at this guesthouse, a 5 minute bike ride from the area that hosts the temple ruins, that was run by this adorable Thai family. The old man was the friendliest and nicest – made my think of my old grandpa. He even cooked me this delicious ham and pineapple pizza (it’s delicious people – get real).
The following day I made a day trip to Lopburi, which was an hour and a half by train from Ayutthaya – tickets were only THB 13!
The old town of Lopburi is this tiny little town – and I think I covered the whole town on foot in a couple of hours. They have a few temple ruins, obviously dedicated to Buddha, but also some that have an Indian influence. They had an active temple dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu!
One of the temples in the old town, the Pran Sam Yod, also happens to be a monkey mafia stronghold. They are literally everywhere, ready for a sneak attack. A couple of them even tried jumping on me when my back was turned, but little did they know that I already had mafia experience. They were no match.
As I stepped out from the temple, one monkey, unscrupulously jumped onto a passing truck and stole a pipe. I don’t know what use he had of it, but here are pictures of him looking at the pipe, and then chewing the said pipe.
After Lopburi, I moved further north to Sukhothai – which hosts the Sukhothai historical park, a park that has 193 ruins! I only had a few hours, so I hired a motorbike this time (my butt was most grateful), and only covered the ruins that interested me.
And then came the highlight of the park (for me anyway), the Wat Si Chum. The little description at the ruin tells me that back in the day, when the Burmese army invaded Thailand, they crossed this temple, saw the Buddha and fled. The ruin looks absolutely amazing even today – so it’s not hard to imagine how powerful that image of Buddha was back in the day. There’s a narrow slit in the structure itself that gives you a glimpse of the large Buddha on the inside. Warning: I don’t know what the people in the second picture are doing – so please ignore them and look at the Buddha.
From Sukhothai I took a long, long bus ride up to Chiang Mai – where I have been the last couple of days, and dealing with the loneliness of solo travel. More on that later…