Ayhutthaya

An hour and a half north of Bangkok lies Ayhutthaya, capital of an ancient kingdom (wikipedia knows more about that than me). I hadn’t been before and when local couchsurfer Goi offered me to come along for a daytrip on Sunday, I happily jumped at the opportunity.

For Goi it was a bit of a worktrip, as she earns money on the side with travel photography. First stop in the area was a small temple with a big pagoda. The top part of the pagoda houses the main place of worship where locals stick small pieces of gold paper to Buddha statues.

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Next stop was lunch break (did I ever admit my addiction to Thai food?) and once we were refreshed, we headed on to the ruins of a formerly large temple area.

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Final destination was another temple, the shape of which reminded me of what I had seen in the Angkor area. The plan was to stick around for sunset (best time for pictures) but first we had to seek shelter inside when a tropical downpoor soaked the area.

The rain cleared in time to get a few shots of the temple.

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This one is Goi’s work (more on fb), showing me taking pictures.

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Silom and Chinatown

During the day, Silom is a business district with office workers filling the streets. At night it’s still a business district but the industries have changed. One of the sois is home to the infamous Pat Pong sex tourist haven and the whole main road is lined with small shops selling… pretty much everything. Souvenir t-shirts, fake Rolex, dildos, knuckle-dusters, hand-carved soap, …

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I had to ply through there every time I wanted to catch the skytrain (BTS) – which basically means a couple of times a day/night.

On Saturday evening my destination was Bangkok’s Chinatown where couchsurfer Goi took me for some local food. The main road of the district is incredibly busy and every single building is decorated with countless neon signs.

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The sidewalks have been turned into restaurants and from sweet to savoury, from sour to salty, every square-inch of the palate is covered. Some food is really hot!

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Areas like this are a main reason for why I love Southeast Asia. There is so much to see, hear and smell. The food is good, fresh, diverse and cheap.

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Bangkok to Yangon

Can’t believe I’ve already left Bangkok again. I had a couple of really good days and (as usually) was reluctant to leave Thailand. But with Myanmar calling, it was much easier to leave. I had an 11:30 flight out of BKK’s old airport, Don Mueang, which in terms of facilities isn’t exactly up to speed with Suvarnabhumi. Still, getting there is easy enough and the longest part of the trip was waiting for AirAsia to check people in at glacier speed.

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The hop over to Yangon was really just that, a hop. Don’t know if the plane even climbed to cruising height.

Now it’s been a few hours in Myanmar and so far I really like it. Immigration at the airport was smooth, fast and reasonably friendly (for immigration officials’ standards). Taxis to the city are arranged by airport staff with the price declared up-front. That’s so much better than many other countries in the area, where being ripped-off by dodgy cabbies is often the first experience visitors have. But not so in Yangon.

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The hostel is top-notch so far. I think it’s the priciest in town but it easily blows my last accommodation in BKK out of the water. So far I’ve only had a short stroll through the neighbourhood and it seems fairly relaxed. Locals are friendly and I haven’t seen any other westerners.

My schedule for the country (got 3 1/2 weeks) is nearly non-existent and I’ll need to have a think about possible destination in the next couple of days. Didn’t really get around to that in Bangkok, thanks to busy and really cool days. Will write more on that later.

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