Ayutthaya

The Ayutthaya historical park was another stop on our day trip away from Bangkok.  Ayutthaya was a city founded in 1350 and was the second capital of Siam.  It was one of the world’s largest capitals by the 1700’s but it too was destroyed by the Burmese army in 1767.  The ruins that remain are truly stunning.  Hubby and I are used to seeing castle ruins in Germany but this was a completely different style of architecture and very interesting for us to see.

Still rockin’ the “happy new year” look!

Look closely, we’re on the stairs 🙂

Buddha in the tree.

When the Burmese army went through the area destroying everything, they would chop off the heads of the Buddha statues.  This Buddha wasn’t found until the 1950’s.  No one is sure how it became entwined in the tree’s roots.  One theory is that the roots grew around it while the area was in ruins and unattended.  There are several rules posted at each of these sacred sites.  One of those asks that people not place their heads in the place of a missing Buddha head on a statue, it’s considered very disrespectful.

Even though the day was sweltering, it was great to get out and see these different places.  They are so different than anything else I have seen.  Apparently these kind of temples and ruins are easy to find through out southeast Asia, probably similar to how castle ruins are found all over Europe.  It really added another dimension to our trip and I think it was well worth it to go out and do this day tour.

Day Trip Around Bangkok

After several relaxing days on Koh Mook, we went back to Bangkok for a few more days before our trip came to an end. One night we went out to an elegant and unique restaurant, the Medici Kitchen & Bar at Hotel Muse.  The interesting part about this place besides the high quality, delicious Italian food was the intermittent opera performances right in the dining room.  Every so often a professional opera performer would come out and sing a piece of music.  The performances built as the evening went on, and the final performance we saw was performed by a quartet of singers and was absolutely show stopping.  It was dinner and a show in one.  It was really fun to be in such an intimate setting with such powerhouse singers.  I’ve never seen an opera but these vocalists made me want to.

Not a great picture, but you can see one of the singers performing behind our table.

After dinner we took the elevator up to the top of the hotel to enjoy some drinks with a view.

 The next morning we had a big day trip planned.  We hired a private van to take us around to several different spots.  The first spot was Ba Pa-in Palace.  In several of the palaces in and around Bangkok, women are not permitted to wear shorts or tank tops.  If you show up in inappropriate attire, they will happily rent you a sarong so you can enter the grounds without being offensive.  They were actually really pretty!  This palace was originally created in the early 1600’s but was destroyed by Burmese raids in 1767.  The palace was rebuilt and restored by a couple different kings in the late 1800’s.

Matching Thai sarongs!

After a stop in the gift shop, and some fresh fruit slushies, we were all wished a happy Thai New Year with swipes of white powder on our faces.  Feeling refreshed and laughing about our new facial decorations, we were ready to get back in the van and move to the next stop.

Bangkok

Two days before we were scheduled to fly out to Bangkok, I got a text notifying me that Lufthansa had cancelled our flight!  I had no idea why and spent the entire afternoon trying to call Lufthansa’s German and American numbers to get a new flight.  Turns out the Lufthansa pilots were going on strike, so there wouldn’t be any Lufthansa flights for a few days.  I couldn’t believe our luck that we finally were ready to go, and this little hiccup was threatening our trip!  Luckily we were able to book a whole new flight, and we actually were able to leave the next day.  This was great news because we gained a day in Bangkok, but did make for a bit of a last minute scramble because we were not packed or ready at all.

Our flight to Thailand would’ve been about 11 hours if we had been able to take our original nonstop flights.  We ended up having to take a connection through Amsterdam which added a few hours of travel time onto our journey.  We flew through the night and arrived in Bangkok in the morning.  I wasn’t able to sleep that well on the plane (imagine that, not sleeping well while holding a sleeping baby for 10+ hours…weird).  We were both pretty tired when we got there, so it was a mellow first day for us. K was waiting for us at the airport and helped us get a taxi back to her condo in Bangkok.

Our eyes were wide trying to take everything in.  Bangkok is a massive city, and is bustling night and day.  There are taxis, tuk tuks, and motorcycles zipping through the streets at all times.  We were so lucky to be with J and K who are locals now.  It was nice to just follow them and not have the stress of trying to navigate a new city.  They took us out for a nice lunch and a delicious Thai dinner later that night.  That was about all we could muster for our first day.

The rest of our group arrived the following day.  Our friends all flew in from Philadelphia.  It was so exciting to see everyone, we haven’t seen them for 2 years since they came to visit us in Germany.  Our first stop was lunch in one of the many malls around Bangkok.  It seemed like almost every other building was a mall.  I honestly couldn’t tell you which one we went to, but it was huge and really nice.  Most of the malls we went to there were very upscale.  Much nicer than any mall I’ve seen in Europe so far, but honestly I haven’t visited that many so maybe I’m just inexperienced.

Lunch at the mall next to the huge koi pond.

After our lunch the guys and girls split up.  We went back to the condo to freshen up and give the kiddos a little break.  The guys headed out for their muay thai fight.

Taking a little break for Thomas the Train.

After a little regrouping, we hit the sky train and made our way over to the river docks to catch our boat to Asiatique.  Asiatique is a large outdoor night market and restaurant area.  It’s very modern, established, and nice.  It reminded me of outdoor shopping centers in the U.S.  We had fun shopping around, bargaining for clothes, and having some drinks and dinner.

The guys spent a long time in traffic to get to and from the fight but they all said they had a good time!

In the morning it was early to rise as we set out to Chatachuk or J.J. Market.  This market had everything you could think of and we barely saw any of it.  You could easily spend all day there if you can take the heat!

After spending some time shopping for treasures, it was time for a cold drink and a break.  We sat down at an open air bar to people watch and relax.  We all really enjoyed the market, I wish we could’ve spent more time there because I would’ve loved to keep shopping!  Some of the things our group walked away with were purses, local made soaps, art, T-shirts, dresses, picture frames, book ends, and probably more that I’m not remembering.

The dancing chef in charge of the paella.

That night we went out for another fabulous Thai meal.  Thanks to J and K, we ate like kings and never had a bad dish.

We capped off our night at the rooftop bar at the Hotel Muse.  It was great to sit outside, sip on a cocktail, and take in the view.  Next stop for us was the beach! It was flights from Bangkok to Trang in the morning.