Always remember to change your watch to local time – every time you reach to a place with different time zone!
Day 4 – I had a feeling that due to late night and after party on the second night in Ayutthaya, there was no way my ears would catch the sound of the morning alarm. TRUE, enough!!! It was a bad feeling seeing time was almost reaching noon. I wanted to see more of Ayutthaya and by waking up late means I have missed breakfast and will have to less time to roam the city. After a quick shower, I immediately walk out the guesthouse vicinity. It was funny when I realized that I was not late, but I saw the wrong time on my phone (didn’t change time to reflect Thailand’s time).
Thanks to Tom & Aaron, two cute Londoners, I followed the direction heading to Chao Phrom Market, hoping to be able to see more action of Ayutthaya people. It was supposed to be 20-25 minute walk (according to them, it took about 10 minutes by tuk tuk) but since my walking speed is not that fast, it took me around 45 minutes before I see a sign to the market. While walking the area I saw the buildings which were on the opposite site of “something”. I quickly realized that behind the shop rows is the Chao Phraya River.
A quick pit stop at the bank (to get some local cash) also provided me opportunity to ask the bank officer of where to get a ticket for a boat ride. After walking for about 5 minutes, I saw a small sign “Boat Ride around Ayutthaya”. Looking at the map I noticed that I was on U-Thong Road. Although it was a small shop, I was greeted nicely and the owner of the place extended help greatly when I inquired about the boat ride. For a single ride of approx 2 hours tour, the charge was 500 Baht. The ride will make 3 stops at famous temples. This was my opportunity to the island of Ayutthaya on water. Later the evening I was informed by Gina, the owner of Moradokthai; that the guesthouse could arrange a similar boat ride for half the price I paid.
Anyway, for those who are extremely fussy about safety and comfort, the boat ride which I paid for perhaps would not be suitable for you. Along the way, I noticed that there are so many type of boat services with tourist; which I believed can be searched and chartered accordingly using a proper tour service.
I love the thrill and excitement of the ride. It was obvious that Ayutthaya is famous with old and new temples. Throughout the entire journey I saw many beautiful buildings and structures along the river side. In addition to it, there are so many houses in between the temples, with people living there. Several times I could see children playing and swimming in the river (which are behind their house, I supposed). Many of the traditional houses along the river side reminded me of many of the kampong houses back in Malaysia.
First pit stop was at Wat Chaiwatthanaram. Although it was only a 15 minutes stop, I could not help from being awed by seeing the beauty of this great old temple. The structure is pretty much similar to those temples I saw the day earlier. However, this temple showcased the most numbers of Buddha statutes as compared to the others (that I have seen). Everywhere you walk and see there are Buddha statutes (complete and partial) in different sizes.
After the old temple, the boat made a stop at another temple. This time is a new temple which is undergoing some refurbishment. My camera was focusing on a group of monks, who were cleaning the dock and stairs at the river bank. They seemed extremely happy doing the cleaning part – there was an event earlier in the morning, I was told. Besides Buddha statue this temple houses so many black rooster statutes – big and small. I tried to get some clarification of the roosters and its meaning but failed. There was not anybody who could speak English when I was there (in fact I was the only tourist walking). Well, at least I know a fact now that black roosters do have significant in Buddhism.
The last stop was at a temple which houses the biggest Buddha statue in Ayutthaya. I could not believe my eyes when I entered the praying hall. It is sitting in Wat Phanan Choeng. Before I got the chance to see the Buddha statue, I roam the temple vicinity and accidentally went to the tomb area (only when I saw pictures of people on the mini stupa, then I realized of the area and its function). Outside Wat Phanan Choeng (on the riverbank) is a floating restaurant. While the boat was making a turn, I saw people standing at the railing of the floating restaurant. Better, in the water there were so many fish swimming in complete chaos trying to get the food from the people at the railing. It was exciting moment.
Two hours on the boat with no breakfast to start with made me hungry. Mr Boat ride was also nice enough to ‘motocycled’ me to Chainam Restaurant (recommended by Lonely Planet). I had my breakfast and late lunch while Ayutthaya rained. The menu was bilingual so it was easy for me to choose the food. For a simple pineapple shake, fried mee with vegetable & egg and friend prawn cost me 335 Baht, I think it is reasonably priced.
The afternoon ended with me being pampered – an hour of traditional Thai massage. In front of the guesthouse is a Thai Massage house. An hour of whole body traditional Thai massage cost only 250 Baht. For a person who usually got bruises after any massage session, this session was nothing but relaxing and comforting. My eyes were closed but I can sense the effort and energy used by the lady masseur – and surprisingly she used almost all part of her body for the massage. Sound physical, eh? Well, it was not an abusive one J At the end of the day, I walked out from the massage place feeling relaxed and my body was surprisingly light.
Later in the evening I went to a bistro nearby with a young & handsome Danish guy, together with Gina and Samsee (the owner of the guesthouse) for dinner. There was live acoustic music at that place. The ambiance was nice. I was already exhausted after dinner (it was pretty late dinner) so I decided to go to bed early.
In total, the day ended perfectly for me. I have packed all my stuffs for my next route - A short stop at Bangkok before heading to Siem Reap.
See great pictures on my facebook here>> "Ayutthaya. This time on Water"