After several days of bad smells and wat‘s overrun with tourists in Bangkok a side trip was most defiantly in order! A quick read through the Lonely Planet‘s [lonelyplanet.com], Southeast Asia on a Shoe String and it was off to Ayutthaya the next morning.
About two hours north of Bangkok, by train, Ayuthaya [wikipedia.org] was once the capital of Siam [wikipedia.org]. The train ride north was refreshing, sitting in the air-conditioned second class car watching the scenery change from slums to rice fields.
Ayutthaya was hot! I mean 38 degrees Celsius (that’s 100.4 Fahrenheit) with no shade and the sun beating down on you like nobody’s business. It was HOT. Deciding to *walk* across the island from the train station to the temples was, in retrospect, not the best idea. It was so hot that after seeing a couple of wat’s it was time to go. No elephant rides thank you, just a tuk-tuk to the train station.
Because it was so hot all the pictures are from a couple of wat’s and are no where near an exhaustive sampling of what wat’s are at Ayutthaya. Since I’ve been back I have seen some pictures of some other wat’s at Ayutthaya that I wish I had seen. Oh well.
After the tuk-tuk ride to the train station there was a 40 minute wait for the next train. At least there was a place to sit and some shade at the station. Unfortunately the ticket guy gave me third class tickets—though I think everyone had third class tickets. And third class is everything you imagine it to be in rural Asia. Hot and sweaty masses pack like cattle into non air-conditioned antique train cars for a long, slow, trip back to Bangkok. And then some dude walking back and forth down the middle of the car with a cooler trying to sell drinks. Oh it was painful.