21 Nov

We booked a bus in Chiang Mai for Ayutthaya, a city a few hours north of Bangkok, figuring it would be a good final stop on the northern part of our journey before hitting the south. The capital of the ancient Kingdom of Siam is known for its numerous temples and is often described as a smaller Angkor Wat. The bus, we were told, was going to Bangkok but would stop off at Ayutthaya for us. We were also told that they were picking us up between three and four PM because the roads would be closed later for the lantern festival. Now, we thought this meant that we would be getting on the bus at this time. However, we pulled into a gas station lot where the bus was and were told the bus wasn’t going to leave until 8:00 PM. We literally had to sit on the concrete of a construction site and wait four hours for the departure time. We ate the dinners that we had luckily brought with us and afterwards Angela and Josh went over to the 7 Eleven next door to get some beers. I wasted time writing while they drank and then we assembled some toy airplanes. At the stroke of 8:00 PM we got on the sleeper bus, where I got exactly no sleep. At around 1:40 AM the bus stopped off for the free “dinner” in a bug infested place and finally around 5:00 the bus pulled over to the edge of the main road to drop us off. We had no idea where to go and when we asked the driver he pointed to another road and told us to get a cab there. Safe to say there were no cabs on the road at 5:00 AM. I noticed a few people standing under what seemed to be a bus stop so we decided to act like the locals and waited for the bus after the few standing there confirmed that it does indeed go into Ayutthaya.

After a few short minutes a mini van pulled over and a lovely lady told us that was the bus to get on. We paid a mere 15 baht and somehow they knew exactly where to drop us without us saying anything. We arrived at the hostel after a quick 7 Eleven run and found that it was closed until 8:00 AM, forcing us to sit around outside with the flies waiting around for them to open.

When we finally got sorted at the hostel we went off to rent bicycles to get us around to a few of the main temples. We spent the day sweating profusely and doing some off-roading style bridges on the shakiest bikes, which had Angela and I cracking up and signing along to Rocket Power. Since we were fairly exhausted and sleep deprived we didn’t last very long and ended up back at the hostel to soak up some AC and watch a movie. However, we did decide that we would go to a temple further out to watch the sunset. We set off on our bikes and after about a twenty minute ride we arrived at the temple after the most impressive part of the sunset had already occurred. We figured we would walk around the temple and locked the bikes only to realize that we were missing the key for the lock. It must have fallen through the bike basket while we were riding. We set off walking in search of it which was ridiculous given the distance we had biked. We walked back to the temple and asked the security guard there if he had a lock cutter, which he did not, and then proceeded across the street to ask some shop owner, who also did not. The security guard and Josh took turns smashing the lock with a hammer. After that failed, the guard called up a friend, who showed up with a sledge hammer and a dull massive pair of scissors. The two of them worked together to attempt to cut the wires in the lock chain, with one guy clamping the scissor on it and the other hammering the scissor down on top of the sledge hammer. While it wasn’t the most artful procedure it ended up working and we raced back to the bike shop to get the bikes to the lady before it closed. In the end, she only asked for 70 baht for busting up her lock and chain, which was fine by us. We all were cranky, sweaty, dirty and exhausted. After a shower and dinner we crawled into bed to sleep off that night bus hangover.

The following morning after breakfast, we headed to the train station to take the local train to Bangkok. Although hot as all hell the train could not be beat at 20 baht for the hour and a half journey. We rolled into Bangkok in the early afternoon and headed to our hostel for our second time around, Baan Bangkok. The hostel was a steal at 190 baht a night and was an overall decent hostel minus the cockroaches that frequented the bathroom area at night. We were back in Bangkok for three nights and, since we did most of the touristy things to do in Bangkok, we had no plans other than meeting Shauna, Emily and Josh’s friend Dom and drinking a lot. Dom arrived late on our first night there, and we only saw him once we came back from the bar. The girls arrived the following morning to the four of us hungover heads sitting outside the hostel attempting to get our lives together. We sent them off to see the temples while we headed to a mall by taxi to buy a few necessities before heading to the south. Of course, we did not buy anything we needed and I bought yet another tank top which I definitely do not need while Josh bought himself a loud t-shirt that he also did not need. As most things seem to go with us, we spent the majority of our mall time at the food court, which had so many options. I got a beef noodle soup followed by mango with sticky rice. After the mall we headed to a bar Dom knew for a single drink and round of cards before heading back to the hostel. Of course, we were in central Bangkok during rush hour and no cab would take us. We finally found a tuk tuk driver who would take us and we bartered it down to 200 baht.

On our last full day in the city we decided to take the water taxi, the existence of which we were unaware of until Dom mentioned it. For 14 baht you get on a long boat that goes up and down the whole river, stopping at multiple ports on both sides. It was such a unique way to get around the city and for a price that was next to nothing. Instead of getting off at the temples we took the taxi down further and showed the girls Lumphini Park. Since we had gotten such a late start there wasn’t much time for activities, aka we couldn’t ride the swan boats like we wanted to. Shortly after, we headed back to the port and luckily caught the last boat back pretty seamlessly.

That night we finally had a proper night out on Khao San road, drinking buckets from a street side pop-up bar and playing cards, before ending up in a ratchet night club that a local got us into for free, where we remained until it closed. After a Burger King trip we arrived back to the hostel and didn’t get to sleep until the sun was risen.

In typical last minute fashion, we didn’t book the bus to go to the south until after brunch the following morning and managed to book a hostel just before we left for the bus. The day was spent eating and walking around Khao San to finally find flip flops and bathing suits before embarking on yet another night journey, which involved a bus and a ferry, to Koh Tao, the first island stop on our list.


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