If you spend more than a couple of days in Bangkok make sure you get on a train/bus/taxi and go to Ayutthaya. The journey is not that long, and trust me it is one of the most impressive places in Thailand. As a future archaeologist is was mind blown by the ruins of the Siames capital city.
Let’s start with a short history of this amazing archaeological site. The city was founded in the 14th century and it became the second capital of the Siames Kingdom after Sukhothai. It was built on an island formed by 3 rivers, which also connected the city to the sea and helped it become one of the most important and cosmopolitan cities at that time. Sadly it was destroyed in the 18th century by the Burmese army, after which it was abandoned and the capital was moved downstream to Bangkok. Now the archaeological park is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and you can visit the monumental remains of the temples to really understand how spectacular the city used to be.
How do I get there ?
There are many ways to get to Ayutthaya. Because I love traveling cheap I chose to take a train, for which I payed just 17 baht (0.48 euro). That was for a 2 hours journey in second class, without aircon (but most windows were open). If you prefer traveling more comfortably and wanna skip the hassle you can easily book a tour .
Also if you want to check out other means of trasportatations click here . 12Go was a life saver while planning my trip to South East Asia, as I booked all my transportation from home months before and got the best buses/boats I could ask for with no stress.
What do I do after I get there?
When you arrive at the train station you will get a free map of the archaeological park, so it should be pretty easy to follow that or just go with the crowd. Anyways in the end you will have to cross the river by boat (10 baht=0.28 euro) and after that you can either walk, rent a bike or a motor bike. I would recommend a bike, as it is so affordable, starting from 50 baht up to 100 baht ( 1,42 euro to 2,85 euro) and it is so much fun riding on all the alleys and streets on the island. Also all the temples have a bike parking so no need to worry about that.
What should I visit and should I spend the night ?
If you have the time and want to see all the temples I would say yes. The place is HUGE! You can just walk around for half a day and not even realise. ( That happened to me, just riding my bike around and staring at the temples). I wish I could have gone to all the temples, as they all are amazing and unique, but I only got time for Wat Mahathat (famous for the stone Buddha that emerges from he roots of a tree) and Wat Chaiwatthanaram.
Here is a list of some other temples you should also check out: WAT PHUTTHAI SAWAN, WAT YAI CHAI MONGKHON, WAT SUAN LUANG SOPSAWAN, WAT PHRA SI SANPHET and WAT LOKKAYA SUTHARAM
If you liked this make sure to check out day 1 and day 2 of the itinerary.
Welcome to part two of my Bagkok Travel Itinerary series, if you didn’t read day one yet click here.
Now let’s get back to business, it is your second day in Bangkok, hopefuly the jetlag is not affecting you as much as the day before and you are ready for some serious exploring.
3 TEMPLES YOU SHOULD NOT MISS
There are of coruse a lot of things to do in Bangkok, but I think visiting some of the temples in the beginning of your trip will help you learn more about Thai traditions and history. Also you can visit them at a slow pace and enjoy the serenity. To respect the fact that they are not just tourist attractions but also places of worship, please dress modestly and pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you.
Entrance fee: 50 baht
Wat Arun, also known as the temple of the rising sun was by far my favourite temple in Bangkok. The temple was built during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, but the spires were added in the 19th century. The most amazing thing about this temple is that it is decorated by seashells and pieces of porcelain.
To get to Wat Arun you either have to take a boat to Prannok Pier (there is a market outside with lots of delicious food if you get hungry on the way or while returning) and then walk for 20-25 minutes or the metro to Itsaraphap station, which is 10 minutes away.
Wat Khrua Wan Worawihan
Entrance fee: free
The temple is also situated on near the Chao Phraya river , between Prannok Pier and Wat Arun. This is not a touristic temple, but a real place of worship. I decided to check it out on the way to Wat Arun and i was not disappointed. The temple was full of locals, and the atmosphere was just beautiful. I do not have any pictures of this one as people were praying, but I did enjoy it a lot.
Golden Mount- Wat Saket
Entrance fee: 100 baht
Wat Saket is another temple built in the Ayutthaya-era but it collapsed and formed a hill, on which the modern temple was built in the 20th century. Starting from the 1820s until 1880s cholera spread and at is peak it killed 10% of the Siam population. A large part of the dead bodies were sent to Wat Saket to be cremated, but due to the huge number some were left outside and eaten by vultures. While climbing the stairs you can see a sculpture of a vulture eating a dead body as a reminder of the outbreak. But putting beside it’s sad history, the temple offers the most amazing view over Bangkok and the hike up is made intresting by all the statues and the lush vegetation.
Still feeling tierd and not ready to explore on your own?Click here to find a tour.
All three temple are pretty close to the Khao San Area and can be seen in a day. If you still have time and wanna squeeze in a few more attractions, you can add to the itinerary Democracy Monument that commemorates the 1932 revolution and Phra Sumen Fort, part of the Bangkok’s fortification system.
Today’s tip: Don’t buy water from the store. If you have a bottle just pay attention and everywhere around Bangkok you will find water machines where you pay 1 baht (0.028 euro) for 1,5l of water.
Planning your first trip to SEAsia? Most likely you will start with Thailand and fly into Bangkok. And even if it is not your first trip in the region, a lot of people choose to fly to Bangkok and start their travels from there. But even though it was the second most visited city in the world in 2019, a lot a people consider 2-3 days to be more than enough to get a taste. I read a lot of blogs and watched a ton of youtube videos before my trip to Thailand, and a lot of people where not impressed with Bangkok, but after going there I had no idea why. To this day I can easily say that it is one of the most amazing cities in the world. So as you probably guessed from the title I am going to share with you a 7 days itinerary for Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit(sorry, this is the full ceremonial name of Bangkok. What a fun fact!)
So let’s start from the beginning: Where will I sleep?
A lot of people don’t realise that Bangkok is HUGE. Also every neighborhood has it’s own vibe, one minute you can be in a slum, and the next minute you can be surrounded by skyscrapers. So you need to know what you are looking for. Wanna have fun? Go to Khao San area! Want something fancy? You can find loads of 5* hotels along Chao Praya river. Looking for a western atmosphere and rooftop bars? Sukhumvit is for you. Anyways, there are a lot more options, but I am cheap and I love having fun and meeting people so I choose the Khao San area. I stayed in hostel I really enjoyed, which I can not find on booking.com any more, but you can still book a bed on agoda.com. It is called Mint Hostel, and it is situated really close to Khao San Road but on a quiet street, so you get the best of both worlds… and I only payed 3€ per night (with breakfast included, haha). If you are not impessed yet, let me tell you that there is a restaurant on the same street that serves local food for only 50 bath ( 1,40€), two 7/11 a few hundred meters away and it has a beautiful hangout area downstairs.
Now that you have a place to leave you baggage and to lay your head to rest, it is time to explore! But wait, I forgot something, you most likely are jetlagged or tierd from traveling, after all it is only your first day, you can take it easy. So I can not stress this enough: GO FOR A THAI MASSAGE! There is nothing better after a day of traveling than a relaxing massage, and thai massage is simply the best massage. In the Khao San area you will pay around 150 bath(4,20 euro) for a half an hour massage and 250 bath (7 euro )for an hour. I can not recommend a specific place, but it is full of them and they all are amazing, so just go to the first one you fancy.
Now that you are relaxed and those muscles are no longer stiff it’s time to immerse yourself in the local cuisine, and oh boy you have many options. From the 50 bath Pad Thai and Thai Red Curry on Prachathipatai Rd, to all the BBQ soy and honey chicken, burned scorpions and bugs and the infamous Durian, you can find just about anything by walking around the Khao San area. So pick and choose what you like, because Bangkok is the place to discover that thai flavours.
After that relaxing massage and that great meal it is finally time to explore the area. And Bangkok would not be Bangkok without all the temples. For your first day I would go to the closest one, so I recommend Wat Bowonniwetwiharn Ratchaworawiharn ( of coruse I copy-pasted that name, in case you were wondering). The temple is the resting place of two former kings, Rama IV and Rama IX and it has a golden stupa. It is not the most mindblowing temple you are going o visit, but it is a very good begining.
Just outiside the temple you are going to find Banglamphu Market, where if you enjoy shopping and bargaining you can spend a good few hours. But even if you are not a big fan of that you still have to go and check out the atmosphere and get that elephant backpacker pants ( they are a must!!!).
So you had a pretty full day so far, let’s end it right, heading to Khao San road around sunset. First I went there during the day and it looked like any average party street/ tourist trap kinda place. And I am not going to say that it changes a lot during the night, it is still a party street/ tourist trap but IT IS CRAZY. So if you wanna sip a few cocktails at sunset it can be a nice place, but also if you feel like getting wild, you can totally do that after sunset. The most annoying thing about it is the constant influx of people that want to sell you crap you would only buy if you are wasted. ( I am not judging, after all I did buy and eat a scorpion). But yeah, if you still tierd for a night out, just grab a few beers from 7/11, go to the hostel and make some friends to share you adventures with.
To end this kind of post I decided to give the Tips& Tricks of the Day. So each new day we learn something, and after a few days in Bangkok I learned something I wish I knew from day one. Never, and i mean NEVER, trust a Tuk Tuk driver. If you wanna take one, that is completely fine if you get a good price, but if they offer to give you any info or if you wanna ask them how to get somewhere, be sure that they will lie to you to get you in the Tuk Tuk.
I guess it is only appropriate to start this new journey by talking a bit about myself and what I want to achive with this blog. Let’s start in the present and then go back to where it all started. My name is Maria, I am a 24 years old (soon to be) archaeologist, based (for now) in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. But now , because of the Coronavirsu pandemic, like a lot a people around the world I am stuck in my hometown with lots of time to remember the days when „the grass was greener and the light was brighter”.
Because I had so much time to reflect on the past I started wandering where it al started. Why do I love traveling so much? What is it that makes me want to spend my last penny on a trip rather than buying something nice? Why do I have the guts to jump on a plane to the other side of the world all alone? And most of all, why do I find it strange when people seem to think it is an act of courage rather than something completely normal ?
To answer all this questions I guess we have to go backto where it all started, my first trip. Actually, my second trip. My first trip was back in 2005 (so I was 10) in Austria. And of course I loved it! Just think about it, take a child that barely left their hometown and let the roam around Vienna during Chrstimas, I was mesmerized! The lights, the colours, the food, the smells, everything was new and amazing. But I feel like the stepping stone for me was my trip to Crete, Greece. There where a lot of firsts on that trip. First time flying, first time on an island, first time traveling around by car, first time visiting ancient ruins. And looking back on it I feel that those two trips kinda shaped my trivel wishlist till this day!
Advancing a little further into my travel timeline, to my first trips outside Europe, and that is Tunisia (2007) and Egypt (2009), I can’t seem to get over the fact that I was so lucky to first discover Northern Africa as a child. Not only because it is so different from what I was used to, whitch I think led me to me a more tolerant and open minded person, but also because it is such a magical place. Traveling on the Nile, seeing the majestic temples still standing, hearing all the stories about pharaonic period, it was like living in a fairytale. I guess that was the point when I realised there is so much more to this world than I thought before.
Now, before everyone gets bored, I feel like I have to talk about one of my favourite coutries in Europe, and the place where I grew as a person and where I learned a lot about traveling and about myself: Czech Republic. I first went to Prague in 2012, and I had the same feeling I had about Budapest, it was so beautiful that it seemed unreal. I mean I saw gothic buildings before, but Prague is something else. Still this si not the trip I want to talk about, but my second time in Czech Republic, back in 2017. So this is after finishing my second year at uni, when I decided to apply for an Erasmus Placement and luckly I got accepted, so I moved to Hradec Králové for the summer. This is the first time I realised I can be independent and do the things I really wanna do. Living in an international environment changed me as a person. Actually staying in the same building with other people form all around the world and working with some of them facilitated communication, and because of that I got to learn a lot about them, and about the places they come from, and also got to visit Poland for the first time, thanks to my polish friends, which were nice enough to host us and show us around. (Lukas and Sylvia, if you read this, I miss you guys, and thank you for the good times we had.). Another important event that summer is my first solo trip! (hurray!). I remember it like it was yesterday. I really wanted to go to Dresden one weekend but all my colleagues had planned a trip to Terezín which was a concentration camp during WWII. For some reason I was really stuck on the idea of going to Germany, but no one wanted to join me, so in the morning we were supposed to go to Terezín, I woke up, booked a hotel in Dresden, took the first train to Prague, then jumped in another one to Dresden and that was it. It was easy, it was fun and I gotta do it my way.
Since my Dresden trip, I traveled solo to 10 more countries, and God knows how many cities, and I fell in love with it! A lot of people wonder why. Some assume I have no friends, or even worst, that I hate being around people, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am lucky enough to have friends all over Romania and the world, and every time I travel I get the chance to gather a few more. I love my friends, and I do enjoy traveling with them, but I also love meeting new people, which is way easier when you travel alone.
But enough about the past, let’s talk about the future. Because I had the chance to see so many beautiful places and meet so many intresting people, I decided I had to try and tell their stories. I want to share my travel itineraries and tell you about the places I love the most. In part because I feel that at this point I have enough experience with traveling and I can give good tips and trick, but also because I don’t want to ever forget it. Also because I miss and admire the people you saw above, and a lot more I did not get to mention now, I want to start a series of interviews so you all get the chance to meet them, learn about their travels and hopefuly like them as much as I do. And last but not least, I wanna talk about food. I don’t know abut you, but whenever I get home from trip, it is not long until I start missing the local food. So I will talk about the best street food places ( sorry, I am not fancy) and how to recreate that food at home.
So guys, if you made it this far, I wanna thank you, and I hope you will enjoy future posts. And to my friends, I miss you all, and after the world gets back to normal, we need to meet again!