Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day trip to Ayutthaya

It's day 3 of our Bangkok Adventure and Ayutthaya is on top of our to do list! Even before going to Bangkok, I googled must visit places and Ayutthaya is on the list. Upon reading I found out that Ayutthaya was a capital city until the Burmese destroyed it during the war. So now the city's ruins is a historical park.

We were picked up by the car service at 7:00 am and we were greeted by the infamous BKK traffic. 

And this photo was taken just a few meters away from the hotel! Sheesh! almost an hour to get out of Bangkok! but once you get to the freeway, roads are clear! =D 

We actually wanted to go to Ayutthaya right away but I don't know if the driver didn't understand or he really wanted us to see most of the sights there but he took us to Bang Pa-In Palace. It's the summer residence of the royal family.

Inside the place is so serene. It's so clean and the lawns are all well kept. 

The architecture is a literal mix of cultures! Of course there are the golden spiked roofs that best describes Thai buildings and houses, there are also Chinese and Colonial houses in the compound too! =D

The vast compound can be explored by walking but since we were in a hurry, we rented a golf cart and I drove it! Haha! there was no horn so we had to shout "Beep!Beep!" so that we can pass through..=P

After exploring the Bang Pa-in Palace, We were off to Ayutthaya proper. First stop is...

Wat Yai Chaimongkol. It used to be a royal monastery back in the day. I had fun exploring here! We climbed the steps to go inside the temple where you can drop coins and say a prayer.

And the place is surrounded by smiling Buddhas! So cute! =D
Near the Chedi (Pagoda) is a HUGE reclining buddha.

After, we wanted to go to the most famous Wat (Temple) with the iconic buddha head embedded in a tree.

You can find it at Wat Mahathat. It was once a monastery where their Supreme Patriarch lived and it was a very sacred place. The ruins left are awesome! 

I had fun exploring this site too! So many photo opportunities! LOL! =D
The statues didn't have heads so I let them borrow mine! =P

Even though the place was packed with tourists, the grounds is so vast it's easy to lose your companions so stay close! =D

Hehe! now time for a travel destination Jump Shot! =D

Wat Mahathat is easily my favorite place to explore in Ayutthaya. Though I regret that we only visited 2 Wats bacause we were in a hurry to get back to Bangkok for some shopping! 

Tips for an enjoyable visit to Ayutthaya:

-Though it's cheaper to take public transport to Ayutthaya, it would be more easier of you rent car service because the Wats are quite a distance away from each other. You can also rent a tuk-tuk to take you to the famous sites but the scorching heat will drain your energy fast.
- Bring a hat with you to protect you from the sun and please wear sunblock!
- Be prepared to walk, walk, walk so wear comfy shoes that you can easily remove since some temples require to remove your shoes before you can enter.

I loved our visit to Ayutthaya that I was even willing to give up shopping just so I can explore more! That's saying a lot from a shopaholic like me! =D Though you have to shell out more money if you're planning to visit here then opting to stay inside Bangkok because of the car service but I highly recommend that you check it out. 

Happy Trip!!

The Damnoensaduak Floating Market

Hello!! Say Good morning with my face! Haha! Day 2 of our Bangkok adventure and we decided to check out the famous Floating Markets of Thailand. The most popular that's near Bangkok is the Damnoensaduak Floating Market. (Don't ask me how to pronounce that! =P)

The floating market is a bit outside of Bangkok and the trip usually takes an hour and a half.

You can take public transportation to the market but it would take you longer to get there so we decided to hire a car to take us there. We hired "Lucky Kabayan Tours" and it's great because the company is owned by Wisut, a thai national with his wife a pinay! He can speak really good tagalog! And our designated tour guide is Gemma, the sister of Wisut's wife so she is also pinay! =D

When we got to the docks, I was surprised to see that it was just so small and a bit secluded. I was expecting a huge dock with lots of people and boats to choose from but I guess since we took a tour, they had a dock that they were affiliated with. But no complaints here since the boat is motorized and with a roof! Then off we went through the canals...

It literally smelled like a Kanal from back here in manila! LOL! It took quite a while for us to get to the main khlongs (canal) but I knew that we were near when I saw this...

First glimpse of the shops! yay! =D It's fun because when the boat gets near a shop, they call you and hook your boat so that you can take a look at their merchandise!

Ooops sorry! I caught her at a bad time! =D They sell all kinds of souvenirs like elephant bags, statues, key chains and all those usual stuff but sadly it's EXPENSIVE! and not unique at all. So we decided to just look around instead. =D
They also sell lots of spices and loose leaf tea by the gram! cute!
Then a fruit vendor suddenly floated by and we bought green mangoes! I like our green mangoes better though..
I just had to take a picture of this stall with the cute metal figurines and the vendor who serenades the tourists to come buy his stuff! (Janno Gibs is that you?? =P)

And if ever you do find yourself wanting to buy an expensive item, no worries if you don't have enough cash since they accept Credit Cards! Haha this cracked me up! =D

But what we really came for is the FOOD! My dad who has been there before warned us not to eat at the floating market because it's not clean but what the heck! Do as the locals do right? =D

First stop, Fried anything on a stick! We figured the heat of the frying would kill the bacteria so we fearlessly ordered away! =P

Since we can't speak Thai, we just pointed at what looks good!

We got hotdog wrapped in wonton wrappers! Haha! but it tasted so good! we also ate a lot of fish cakes, squid balls etc. I love that the sauce it was served with was not too spicy.

Now we have another fruit vendor. Check out those red fruit that looks like bell pepper! It's actually Macopa! (Wax Apple in English!)

And this food is the one I miss in Bangkok! The Grilled Sausages! I don't know the Thai name of this street food (In this case, khlong food!=P) but it sure is super tasty! 

It's like a hybrid of our local Longganisa but with garlic and vinegar taste!Then grilled till it's a bit charred and crispy!

Best part is that inside the sausage, it has rice and vermicelli noodles! It's like a complete meal in a stick! My mouth is watering now that I'm thinking about it! =D

And this is a funny scene! We wanted to try the coconut cream crepes but the vendor's boat is trapped! Then she used this contraption to give the food and then you will put the payment in the basket!

This looked too yummy that I took a huge bite before I remembered to take a picture! =D

The Floating Market is fun if it's your first time in Bangkok but I personally won't visit it again. I think that it doesn't show what the floating markets true essence and it is more like a tourist trap. They sell overpriced items and part of the tour is that you have to stop at this coconut farm where they will also try and sell you more overpriced souvenirs. But it is a great experience! Go ahead if you're visiting for the first time but just be wary of the overpricing.

A tip if you're planning to visit this place is to come very early so you can see the actual market come to life! We got there at about 9:30 am and only a few boats were left selling.

Happy Trip!

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