day fifty-two: november 20, 2015: 27+ hour travel day
Today was a pretty long travel day. We flew Nadi > Auckland > Sydney > Bangkok, totaling to 30 hours of travel door to door. Crazy, yes. We could have gone from Auckland straight to Bangkok, but went the money saving route. Atleast we got fed on the plane?
Nonetheless, we finally made it to Bangkok!
day fifty-three: november 21, 2015: autthaya + jj green market
We decided to explore one of the (apparently there were a couple) old capitals, Autthaya, just outside of Bangkok. We caught a mini bus (more like a mini van) from Victory Monument to Ayutthaya and it only cost 60 thai baht ($2 USD) for the ride. Once in Ayutthaya, we rented a tuk-tuk for 4 hours (200 thai baht per person, per hour) that took us to a number of wats (temples) in the area.
Autthaya Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site as it covers the development of true national Thai art, over three periods in history: The Early Ayutthaya Period, the Middle Period, and the Late Ayutthaya period.
Wat Yai Chaimongkol is situated to the southeast of the city. The large chedi there can be seen from far away. It was built by King U-thong in 1357 A.D. for the use of monks who had returned from Ceylon after studying under Phra Vanarat Maha Thera. Rows of Buddha images surround the central stupa. There is also a large reclining Buddha in the complex.
Wat Mahathat is believed to be built during the 14th century A.D., where the Supreme Patriarch or leader of the Thai Buddhist monks lived. The most famous site here is the Buddha head intertwined in the roots of a tree.
A huge reclining Buddha image is located at Wat Lokayasutharum, called Phra Bhuddasaiyart. It is 121 feet long and 26 feet high.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram was built in 1630 by King Prasat Thong during the later period of Ayutthaya. The main prang is surrounded by many lesser prangs and towers in eight directions. This was a royal monastery, where the King and his descendants would perform religious rites here. It was also a cremation site for members of the Royal family.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet is believed to have been built during the reign of King Trailok, middle period of Ayutthuya. The three chedis here are believed to keep the ashes of three Kings: King Trailok, King Borom Ratchathirat III, and King Rama Thibodi II, as well as Buddha relics.
Chedi Phuktao Thong is a 150 feet chedi, or Buddhist tower, in the village of Phukhao Thong near Ayutthaya.
We got back to Bangkok at about 6:30pm, took a quick shower, and went to check out the JJ Green Market. We were amazed at just how many people were out, locals and tourists, eating drinking, and shopping!
day fifty-four: november 22, 2015: bangkok + sky bar + nahm
We were able to spend a good chunk of the day with one of my really good friends from college, Taya, and her mom, Urai. We met for brunch at Roast Coffee and Eatery at the EmQuartier Mall and just caught up, eating yummy food and two rounds of dessert. :)
We made our way to the Sky Bar at to catch the sunset with other friends of ours from LA, Kristina and Aida, who we used to work with. The bar was packed at sunset, but not too long after the sun went down, we pretty much got to enjoy the deck to ourselves. After drinks, we all went to dinner at Nahm Restaurant, which was rated in the Top 50 Restaurants in Asia. It was really good and surprisingly not to expensive for nine people!