Saturday, August 26, 2017

SE Asia 2017 - Day 13 (8/26/2017) - Ayutthaya Temples and River Cruise

The bulk of today was the Ayutthaya Temples and River Cruise day tour (arranged via Viator), with a 7am pick-up at the hotel.  The van took us to a bus/coach, which departed around 7:45 on an hour-long ride to our first stop at the Bang Pa-In Palace.  Shorts were not allowed at this site, so I had to buy some pants at the store near the entrance; this only cost 100 baht ($3), though.  Our guide Donna spent about 30 minutes walking us through and then gave us about 35 more minutes to explore on our own before meeting to board the bus.  Over the course of the morning and afternoon I met a few other solo travelers, some from the States and some not.

Bang Pa-In Palace - rocking the pants I had to buy to enter because I was wearing shorts

Our next stop was Wat Maha That, which was a 30 minute drive from the first one.  We spent about half an hour there, with Donna again leading us for most of that time before some free time.  The most interesting thing about this site was a tree that had grown around a stone Buddha head.  I also tried durian ice cream at this stop - I am not a fan.

Wat Maha That

The third stop, Wat Naphrameru-Rajikaram, was 10 minutes away, and we spent 25 minutes there.  It was then another 10 minutes to Wat Lokayasutharam, where we spent another 20 minutes.  After the fourth stop we drove an hour to get to the river pier, where we boarded a (larger than expected) boat for a cruise back to Bangkok along the Chao Phraya River.

Wat Naphrameru-Rajikaram

The cruise lasted about 2 hours and 20 minutes, during which we were fed a buffet lunch and later given some afternoon tea/coffee.  We arrived in Bangkok a bit before 4pm, at which point our van driver from the morning took us back to our respective hotels.

Chao Phraya River cruise

Back at the hotel I cleaned up and then arranged to keep my room until 9pm the following evening (due to my midnight flight) for an additional 1500 baht charge.  I then headed out by tuk-tuk to meet up with Chelyn (from the river cruise) for dinner at the Siam Paragon shopping mall.  We chose a place called Peppery Thai Bistro, which lived up to the name.  My red curry and her green curry were both a little too spicy for our tastes.  I also partook in a Thai Iced Tea as well as a Chrysanthemum (I think they spelled it "Khrysanthemum" on the menu) drink.  To top it off I ordered the Mango & Sticky Rice for dessert, which was quite yummy.  We discovered that a steady rain had been falling when we left around 10pm.  I took a tuk-tuk back to my hotel, and was surprised that I didn't really get wet at all riding in the open cabin.

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Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/GBb3cDWVzQCR9oyFA

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