We decided to spend our last full day in Bangkok on a tour to Ayutthaya, the old capital of the Kingdom of Siam, and a floating market. We had originally planned on venturing out on our own, but we discovered that trying to manage all of the transportation on our own wouldn't be easy (this is a pattern we've discovered in Southeast Asia in general), so we decided to pay a little extra and let the experts handle it!
The first stop on our tour was the Summer Palace in Ayutthaya. The current king of Thailand still visits this palace sometimes, so security and the dress-code are pretty strict.
The palace grounds had an interesting mish-mash of buildings, all in different styles based on what former kings wanted.
We got to climb to the top of this tower, which gave us some good views of the other buildings
The palace grounds also had bushes shaped like animals. Our guide let us know that we were allowed to walk onto the grass to take pictures up close... so we did!
After visiting the Summer Palace, we went to the nearby Ayothaya Floating Market. This isn't the biggest, most touristy of the floating markets. People still sell food and products on boats, but you can access them by pier rather than just by boat. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but still neat to see!
We went on a quick boat ride around the market. Here's Dylan and our boat driver.
And here's someone selling stuff from her boat.
We ate lunch here and tried some snack-cake things that this guy had just made in his boat.
The third and best stop on our tour was the ruins of the historic city of Ayutthaya. This area has been designated as a World Heritage site.
Next to the first set of ruins is a famous buddha statue head that a tree has grown around it.
Our tour guide got a good photo of us with it!
Here's Dylan with the model of what the temple and palace complex we were visiting used to look like.
And here's us with the actual temple ruins.
It was really interesting to notice similarities between the ruins and current temples that we had been visiting. All of the basic features, like a row of buddha statues along the inner wall, were the same. The new temples are just much newer and intact!
This is where the former palace was... There's hardly any remnants to be found. But we got to see some dogs who hang out here and get fed by locals. Some temples even have donation boxes that help pay for food for stray dogs.
We visited one more set of ruins before heading back to Bangkok. There was a ceremony going on here for people who had just become monks. It was pretty cool to see all the new monks sitting in front of the ruins.
After taking the metro from our tour drop-off point, we walked through Chinatown back to our hotel. This time we got to see more off the hustle-and-bustle of the dinner time street food scene.
We also saw the outside of the Temple of the Golden Buddha, which our guide had told us about earlier in the day.
We detoured through a park near our hotel around sunset time, which was pretty and finally not so unbearably hot!
We decided to finish the day (and our time in Bangkok) strong by going back to the restaurant that we went to on our first night and really liked. We did try new dishes this time - including traditional Pad Thai, which is noodles completely wrapped in an egg omelet, and mango with sticky rice and coconut ice cream for dessert. It was all tasty!