So since leaving Bangkok our feet don’t seem to have touched the ground.
From Bangkok on 9th we went North via the train (2nd class – see below) to Ayutthaya which used to be the capital of Thailand before Bangkok was formed. The city is an island and there is a small shuttle ferry that takes you from the outer to the inner island. The first night we had a tour of the island by boat which is the other way to explore the island (the main one being by bike, either man or petrol power). One thing I have learnt in this short period of time is that the Thai nation love their reclining and sitting Buddahs, and the bigger the better.
So taking our life in our hands we hired two very old bikes (they did the job though!) and went exploring. We saw a fraction of the 49+ ruins that the city has to offer but what I can say is that we managed to negotiate the madness that is the traffic system (or what passes for it) in Thailand and still lived to tell the tale.
Before I go any further I should explain how the train system in Thailand works. There are three classes, 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
Third class is the cheapest, there is no reserved seating, air con or free food. The air con is provided by all of the windows being open and fans on the ceilings in the isles and the food is purchased from sellers that come up and down the isles.
Second and First class are very similar, both have reserved seating, air con, a free meal , soft drinks and comfy seating (although the seating in 1st is better than in 2nd ), they are also a lot quicker travelling times that the 3rd class but you pay for the privilege. Saying that 1st & 2nd class are still way cheaper than travelling cattle class on the train in the UK!!
On the morning of 11th we again headed north, to Lopburi. This time we braved 3rd class as the journey was only just over an hour, and to be honest it was more than fine. So, Lopburi is a tiny little city, the main attraction here isn’t the temples or the fact it was the Kings second residence when he was not in Bangkok, but the monkeys that inhabit part of the inner city. There are 2 specific ruins where they congregate (split by a very busy main road) and walking along the street near the ruins they just roam free. It is very funny though watching them navigate their way through the traffic heading from one ruin to the other or just heading onto the pavement in search of food.
You can go into the ruin and get up close and personal to the monkeys if you want (so we did). There is food you can purchase to feed them with, but all this does is encourages the younger monkeys to use you as a climbing frame and they are also more than happy to go looking through your rucksack for more food.
Today (12th) we are on the move again, this time heading further north to Sukathai. We will spend 2 nights here and have a tour of the city booked for tomorrow (13th) morning by mountain bike – wish me luck!
Photos below for your perusal.
(This was posted the day we left Sukothai and G will post about that).