So Long Bangkok!!!! – Now don’t take this the wrong way, but I found Bangkok to be well, not my cup of tea to put it nicely. It is a city to visit at least once in your life, but being from Montana, people upon people is not my ideal city. Interesting enough Travel + Leisure just voted Bangkok as the #1 2011 Best City in the World, but I fail to see their basis. Anyway back to my story, we only stayed in Bangkok a couple of days and left on a Saturday, we had to get up to Chiang Mai for schooling starting the next Monday. When I say we left Bangkok, I mean we drove on a bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai!! It was 14 hours of interesting travel.
On a bus – which wasn’t so bad because it was a private bus for those in my group, but the picture on the right says it all, no room. To be fair, I am 6’6 so I don’t fit into a lot of places here in the USA, but basically I stood decapitated in the toilet. For those of you who have only travelled in the US on buses, ie sports trips, the bathrooms are nice and located at the back of the bus. This bus in Thailand is located basically where the luggage is stored. Their are two doors on the Thai buses, one being in the middle of the bus so you go down a set of stairs and the toilet is right there! Enough about space, travelling across the country is something I have loved since I was young. My parents used to load me into our van and drive 16 or 11 hours to Minnesota and Colorado, sometimes every weekend, but that’s another story. You can tell a lot about a country and the make up by seeing from the ground as opposed to in the air.
While driving I remember seeing Buddhist temples on the hilltops every so often. I was amazed at not only the number of temples between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but also the size. The Buddhas stuck out over the trees and vegetation like they were ants, and another amazing thing is that it seemed as though half the temples were in the middle of nowhere.
One Stop – We made a couple of stops along the journey, but the main site seeing stop was Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand. It was hurried so we were only able to make three stops in Ayutthaya, highlight being the Buddha statue in the tree at Wat Mahathat followed by a Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon and the pagodas filled with bats. At one of the temples near Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, we saw an offering to Buddha of a Washington apple, and having lived in Washington for the last 10 years thought it was interesting that an Apple would show up at a temple in Thailand.