I had a big day today, visiting Ayutthaya to check out the temples and ruins there. Ayutthaya is about an hour and a half north of Bangkok, so a pretty good distance for a day trip. Having explored the city for the last few days I was ready to get out of town and see something different.
Today I made my way across the city to visit the Grand Palace, and neighbouring Wat Pho. The Grand Palace used to be the official residence of the king, although now it is only used for official events. It’s a large complex of buildings built on Rattanakosin Island, a man made island created when a canal was built which separated that piece of land from the rest of the city. From Victoria’s apartment, the best way to get there was two trains to Central Pier, then the Chao Phraya Express Boat to the Tha Chang stop which is just across the road from the Palace.
After a busy week, I had a slightly lazier day on Sunday. We’d been pretty not stop in Chiang Mai, and spent a lot of time on our feet yesterday exploring Chatuchak market. Today we slept in, then went for a lazy coffee with Marwan (it was his one day off work for the fortnight). We went to a nice coffee shop, that reminded me of the sort of place you’d find back home. After coffee we wandered a shopping centre for a little while, then Marwan decided to head back home while Victoria and I continued on to Wat Saket on the Golden Mount.
This morning after breakfast, we went across the road to a shop which rents bikes for 50 bhat per day (that’s only $2!). We had pulled together a list of temples we wanted to visit and decided that cycling would be faster than walking and better value than constantly jumping in and out of a songthaew. It also turned out to be a great way to explore the city.
Yesterday was our first full day in Chiang Mai. We had spent some time on Tuesday working out the various things we wanted to see while we’re here. Towards the top of our list was Doi Suthep, a temple located on a mountain just a short way out of the city.
We had breakfast at Elliebum at 8am then walked to the north gate of the Old City to catch a songthaew. These are a form of taxi, basically a red ute with a special canopy built on the back providing bench seats and shelter.
After the excitement of Disneyland the night before, I was a bit lost for something to do today. I felt like I’d covered just about every corner of Tokyo and didn’t know where to go next.
I had a look at Lonely Planet and read through some of the brochures from the hotel and Odaiba sounded interesting. It sounded like a touristy area with quite a bit to see. I took my time getting ready because I wasn’t really in a hurry, and found a cafe near the hotel that had great reviews for its coffee. The coffee was really good, and I had some very nice pancakes there too.
After breakfast, as I had done every other day that week, I made my way to Shibuya station. Ron had made a good choice with our accommodation, because we weren’t far from Shibuya station, and so many train lines go through Shibuya that it’s not very hard to get anywhere.