Bangkok is probably the most visited backpackers hub when coming to South-East Asia. I’ve visited Bangkok around 7-8 years ago (roughly) and it still wows me after all these years. The people are still extremely friend, the food cheap and the tuk-tuk drivers still try to rip tourists off. However, eventhough I visited Bangkok some years ago, I didn’t exactly go sightseeing and find out what it actually had to offer besides the obvious nightlife around Khaosan road. Heck it was one of my first “backpacking” trips.
Khao San Rd is covered by Coca Cola these days…
Self made waterpacks with waterpistol
The main reason I come here was to celebrate Songkran, Thai new year. But I arrived a few days earlier, prior to the event itself to discover a bit of the sights around the center. I posted something on the Couchsurfing forums and some other travelers were more than willing to join me on a few excursions.
View of the Wats from the river
The first day we went with the boat-taxis on the Mae Nam Chao Phraya river to visit one of the Wats on the other side of river bank. Can’t remember exactly which one it was but I think it was Wat Arun. Amazing architecture and great view over the riverbank at the top of the Wat. The climb itself was crazy though, the steps were amazingly steep and not for the weak!
Detail of the temple gates
Walking up the steeeeeeeep stairs of the stupas
Great architecture in Bangkok of some of the temples and wats
Oh and I followed a local couchsurfer up to the Lebua at the State Tower hotel where they shot some scenes for the movie Hangover 2. The rooftop bar was just insane for words. They had a live jazz band playing on the top with the bar lit up and with an incredible view over Bangkok. Prices were amazing too…. we didn’t drink anything, but just went up there for the view. Make sure you go check it out whenever you’re in Bangkok.
View from State Tower rooftop bar from Hangover 2
Lying buddha in Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya was one of the “must-visit” places in Thailand, it is an ancient capital and modern city just 85 km north of Bangkok, making it a perfect day-trip destination. To those who care, the historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Just another one to add to the list I guess.
Huge leaning stupa in Ayutthaya
Eventhough I like to do things independently without the help of tours, I actually booked a tour to visit Ayutthaya and in the end I’m glad I did. The sights in the city itself are quite spread out and not exactly walkable. You’d have to rent a bike here and actually spend a night here, not that it’s a bad thing, but if you’re only in for the sights, it wouldn’t be really worth it in my humble opinion. The tour itself took half a day and included transport from and back to Bangkok.
Buddha head entangled in the roots
Amazing temple in Ayutthaya
So monks prefer Canon cameras…
The sights were pretty similar to eachother though. Eventhough I sound apathic right now, the remains of the old temples, wats and stupas were just amazing to see. Hard to imagine that they knew how to build these structures with very limited tools back in the days and not to mention the details.
Lying buddha in Sagat stage in Street Fighter
I’m not going to bother mentioning all the Wats. But one thing that some people (nerds) might (not) know is that Ayutthaya is the home to one of the most famouse game settings. The lying buddha in Ayutthaya is the scene for the in-game character of Sagat. Not really interesting for the average traveler I think, but the lying buddha itself was quite a sight itself.
Alex Yip is a web enthusiast who put his online marketing career on hold to travel around the world for a year. This blog is his virtual journal and logbook to keep people updated on his backpacking adventures on the road.