Hello! Just got back from a great trip to Thailand! We went to three cities: Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Chiang Mai in 6 days. A lot of culture and history and a LOT of temples and golden Buddhas 🙂 Bangkok: A big metropolitan city but saw a good balance of the old and the new. The city (and country in general) reminded me of India with the chaos of the streets and the lack of general order. But that makes for a fun time in my opinion 🙂 The tuk tuks (similar to an auto rickshaw) also added to my comparison between the two countries even more. One of my favorite things to do in India is to sit in a rickshaw and just drive around. I love the open air and the wind (especially when it’s hot). For some reason it’s really relaxing for me and I felt the same way in Thailand even when we were stuck in horrible traffic or we knew the tuk tuk driver was taking us a longer route than he needed to! One of the prettiest sights was the Grand Palace, the former residence of the royal family. The place was beautiful in both architecture and the vastness of the place. I loved seeing both the Hindu and Buddhist influences in Thai culture. Some of the cool things about the palace were the depiction of the epic Ramayan around the entire outside corridors of the palace and the combination of the European style buildings with the Thai style roofs. Much of SE Asia was colonized by the British, French and Dutch but Thailand managed to remain neutral during the wars and introducing Western influences voluntarily. Apparently King Rama V liked this style of architecture when he visited Europe (the first Thai King to do visit the West) and so incorporated the different styles together.
Ayutthaya: Next we took a day trip to Ayutthaya. The train ride took about 1 hour from Bangkok and we hired a tuk tuk driver for 200 Bhat an hour to take us around all the old sites. Ayutthaya was the old capital of Thailand, a strategic point for traders between China, India and Malaysia. Sometime around 1700, Burma invaded and burned the city so many of the sites/temples were actually ruins. The name Ayutthaya comes from the city name of Ayodhya, which is the birth place of Lord Ram which I thought was pretty cool. It got pretty hot during the day so we took a break in the afternoon for some amazing Thai food, massages and a quick nap. In the evening we set out again to see more temples during sunset. There were about 97 total temples, I think we only probably saw about 10-12! Our train for Chiang Mai left around 9pm.
Chiang Mai: We took a 14 hour overnight train from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai. The first 7 hours were ok but the last few hours were pretty annoying after being on a train for so long! And it was freezing inside. To the point where it was hard to fall asleep! We got into Chiang Mai around 11 am and had some brunch and relaxed for a bit. In the evening we took a cooking class! It was really fun because we got to go to the market to see which ingredients were the right ones (there are so many different types of basil and ginger!) Then we came back and cooked 4 dishes: Thai spicy basil soup, Chicken and Ginger stir fry, Pad Thai and Penang curry. The scariest one was the stir fry because of the huge flames! Everything was delicious though! I’m such a good cook when someone puts the right ingredients in front of me and tells me exactly how to cook it 🙂
The last day was reserved for relaxing. It was kind of a weird day because I had the most amazing spa treatment for 3 hours but it was followed by the worst pedicure of my life (at a different location) which was then followed by some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. So random. All in all, a GREAT trip though with a lot of memories! Then I found $10. Literally. Usually that’s the ending to a bad/awkward story but this time I really did find $10 when I stepped out of the cab in Singapore! I thought this was hilarious and actually started cracking up. I think the cab driver thought I was a little crazy!