Spending two weekends in a row in Bangkok has got to be a new record for me since arriving in Thailand in January. For the past eight weeks, my friends and I have been hitting up a new city or country most weekends. This past week, I realized I was much too pale for someone living in a tropical location for two months. I’ve spent a lot of time covering my skin with pants and sweaters, which are required when touring temples. No school on Friday, a pool day seemed like the perfect idea to get a nice tan. I spent all day relaxing at the pool, which I had to myself for the most part.
A little “crispy”, I gave up my last hour of sun rays to share pizza with my friend Val (although it was ketchup sauce pizza, it was better than no pizza). On Friday night, we went to a concert at school. After the concert, some of the people in our house convinced us to go with them to Khao San Road in Bangkok.
With eight people squeezed into a cab, we made our way to Khao San Road, known for its carnival-like atmosphere, markets, and nightlife. We spent the whole night dancing in the street. Although every tour book would tell you to skip Khao San Road because it is very touristy, we had an amazing night. The people were a good mix of Thais, Europeans, and Americans out for a fun night. Before heading home to Salaya, we shared one of the best burritos I’ve ever had—it was sooo delicious and the perfect way to end the night.
On Saturday, we headed back into Bangkok to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art. When we got there, I thought it was closed because absolutely no one was there. It wasn’t closed—we just had the museum to ourselves. The art was beautiful, and we enjoyed taking pictures in front of the art pieces. They even had a temporary exhibit with the art from the Black House that we had toured in Chiang Rai. I was glad to see the art from the Black House since when we were actually there, I couldn’t see very well because of my eye patch!
After the museum, we went on a search to find the rest of our friends who were meeting us in MBK, a 2000 store shopping mall—a shopper’s paradise—too bad Thailand has made me cheap and I don’t want to pay $10 for a shirt anymore! When we finally found them at the Burger King (apparently there are in fact two Burger Kings in the mall), we went to the Jim Thompson House, a museum in central Bangkok, housing the art collection of American businessman and architect Jim Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the World renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company.
We arrived, all sweating in the intense Bangkok heat, only to discover that there was no air conditioning at the house. Bummer! Despite the heat, we enjoyed the house and the surrounding garden. Finally, it was the time we were all waiting for—Margarita Storm! We had all been looking forward to tacos and salsa. We stuffed ourselves with amazing Mexican food and great margaritas.
On Sunday, the exploration continued. After days of searching for transportation, we finally found a cheap van to take us to Ayutthaya, an ancient capital and modern city in the Central Plains of Thailand, 85 kilometers north of Bangkok. Six of piled into the van for the journey. On our way, we stopped at Wat Muang, home of a giant gold Buddha statue, beautiful Chinese New Year animal statues, statues depicting hell (which we all thought was pretty funny), and lots of fish to feed bread to! The gold Buddha statue was gorgeous, and we looked minuscule when we stood next to it.
We were miserable from heat and thankful to get out of the sun as we continued the 40-minute ride to the ruins of Ayutthaya. The fan I bought at the temple was the best purchase of the entire trip so far—a true lifesaver and (bonus) a great wrist/arm workout.
Before we got to the ruins, our super cool driver took us to lunch—although we had just eaten insane amounts of fried bananas and some other weird fried thing (that even though I didn’t know what it was, I ate a lot of it). For lunch, I had the best Thai food I think I’ve had since being here. I didn’t know it could get any better since it was already amazing!
When we finally made it to the ruins, it was cloudy (thank God!), allowing us to explore the ruins somewhat more comfortably. We were all sweating insanely though, but then again—that’s the one thing you can count on happening in Thailand!
The ruins were incredible—so much to see and learn about while we were there. Ayutthaya was much different than Bangkok or Chiang Mai, making it a very unique and memorable experience. All the ruins got me excited for my upcoming trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
I have way too much fun posing with my Marquette sign!