Leaving the beach is hard. But onward to Bangkok and all the craziness that is associated with the city. Bangkok is a huge city and like any other city it has a few common characteristics: traffic, pollution, and a lot of people. Taking a cab through the city in the middle of the day was interesting. Our cab was weaving in an out of traffic, 3 lane roads were now 5 lanes, and every empty space was filled with a motorcycle, scooter, or some other wheeled vehicle. We were staying on Khaosan Road, the infamous backpackers party street. We arrived at sundown and the street was already bustling with vendors selling everything from t-shirts, phones, suits, and fake identification cards. If you need a fake degree you can get one from York, University of Toronto, McMaster, you name it and they will make it. We checked in and went out for 40 baht street food dinner. As always it was delicious.
Ayutthaya is the old capital city of Thailand and it remained the capital for over 400 years. It looked like a cool place so I added it to the list of things to do. The following morning we walked from Khaosan Road to the Hua Lamphong Railway Station. We walked through a few districts including a bit of China town were people were preparing for Chinese New Year. The train to Ayutthaya is very cheap (20 baht) for third class tickets. The trip takes about 2-2.5 hours and takes you through the city and countryside. It was a wonderful way to travel there and would happily do it again.
The train station and trains were old, but clean. The ride was comfortable even without air conditioning and the train was not packed like Seoul on a weekend. I wanted to find bikes to rent but could not find any. We walked from the train station to the Wats and it was hot. The dry heat had turned any green grass into coarse yellow straw strands, the trees looked withered, it was a dusty down and it was not busy at all. It was surreal walking around after just leaving the chaos that is Bangkok. You have to pay to go into any of these Wats which is kind of a joke considering how run down and dirty the grounds are. You know the money is just being pocketed.
We checked out a few of them and then headed back late. The sun had gone down and by the time we reached Bangkok is was past 9 pm. We asked 8 cab drivers to use the meter and all of them laughed as we stood there. Finally one did and we went back to Khaosan Road…