World Travel 2013-2014, Riding around Ayutthaya and Birthday Wishes to the King

Today we headed out to Ayutthaya to visit the old capital of Thailand, known for having a large number of temples and structures around the island. We caught the train to Ayutthaya from Bangkok, which was a reasonably easy trip; however, a one hour train trip did turn into a two hour + journey on the way back which wasn’t so fun. It could be that we were so delayed due to the Kings Birthday celebrations occurring in Bangkok as we were returning. Not only was the road traffic mayhem, but there were also quite a few trains around.

It had been a while since I’d ridden a bicycle (probably a good 10 years), and we had decided to see the town by bike. It didn’t cost much for the rental (40 baht a day), and was surprisingly easy to get around once I got used to riding again. Would have to say that the maintenance on the bikes leaves much to be desired though – we hadn’t even reached our first temple when the chain on mine slipped off and it wasn’t possible to get it back on without tools. Fortunately for us, a stranger was passing by and saw what had happened. He fetched his tools and proceeded to pull apart the bike and put it all back together. Not only did he fix the chain, but he also tightened the back wheel and chain as well as all the screws (which ensured that the problem didn’t reoccur as there was a bit too much slack in the chain). The bicycle worked beautifully after it’s roadside service, and we definitely appreciated his help!

Our first stop was probably the most well known temple, Wat Maha That, which is known for the Buddha head embedded in the roots of the same type of tree the Buddha meditated under. It’s rather special as the majority of the Buddha statues were beheaded a long time ago, and yet this one not only survived but also found it’s way into a rather special location for those who follow the Buddhist faith.

We then did a bit of a loop, wandering around the park and some temples which had barely any tourists around (always nice when you can enjoy the scenery in peace). If you’re interested in seeing Ayutthaya, I would definitely recommend hiring a bicycle as it’s a great way to see not only the temples but also the streets and areas around the temples. That said, make sure you know how to ride, as you’ll be heading into some traffic to get to the island and you won’t be given a helmet with your rental bike!

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