As predicted, I have fallen behind with my blog! I have been moving about quite a lot and have spent very little time relaxing, I think I will need a day by a pool soon.
So after saying goodbye to my lovely host Nice, I caught the train to Ayutthaya, a small temple town that once upon a time was the capital of Thailand. The train was an interesting experience, as people wandered up and down selling all sorts of things – I was very tempted to buy some curry and rice purely because I never have the opportunity to on a train! Much better than Southerns sorry excuse for a ‘refreshment’ trolley and at a quarter of the price. The train was also on time and arrived EARLY! Miracles do happen.
After a bit of a trek hunting down my hostel, I eventually found it and dropped my stuff off before heading to the night market.The next day, I woke up early and rented a bike to explore the temples. The best thing happened when I got there – I was actually approached by some monks from Myanmar and they were very interested in speaking to me in English. When I told them I was from England, one of them said ‘Ah, Wayne Rooney – he very famous footballer!’- hilarious! I soon realised that one of the monks spoke very good English so took the opportunity to ask him about Buddhism. He told me that the main principle of Buddhism is to believe in yourself and that they do not fight with other religions. It was difficult to get a more in depth explanation from him but it was so great to learn about Buddhism from a monk, and I will definitely be reading some more about it.
In the afternoon, I met up with two Canadians, Greg and Rachel, and we went for noodle soup and some more cycling. Greg decided that he fancied Sukhothai too so we booked the bus for the next morning. Sukhothai used to be the capital but it was then superseded by Ayutthaya. Upon arriving in Sukhothai, I immediately preferred it to Ayutthaya – it was much more chilled out and less commercial. We rented a bike to explore the historical park and the temples were very impressive. I really liked the elephant temple, photo below!
In the evening, we went to the walking street to try some local delicacies and have a beer. It was really funny being with Greg at the market because he is 6 foot 9 and most Thai people are about 5 foot 5, so they can’t help but look at him and their faces are priceless. They don’t mean it to be rude, you can tell that it is pure fascination. It was great for me because I couldn’t get lost as Greg was so easy to find, he was even taller than the food stall tents!
Now that I have been here a few days, I now have a good feel for the culture and people. Thai people love to smile and unless they don’t speak any English at all, they want to speak to foreigners and help them whenever they can. I do realise that they often charge us foreigners more for things, but it is still ridiculously cheap and in my opinion it’s no different to England where cities that tourists visit are disproportionately more expensive. I am happy to pay a bit more if it means supporting local people with their small businesses, and it does annoy me a bit when I meet travellers who moan about things being expensive. Take my word for it, nothing in Thailand is expensive! 140 baht for some curry and rice at a restaurant is equivalent to £2.70 – where in England could you eat for that cheap? You can’t even get a sandwich for that in most places.
Next stop – Chiang Mai! It is definitely my favourite place so far, please read my next post to find out about this wonderful city in the North.