Juanito’s Travels 50 yr backpacker – Ayutthaya, near Bangkok to Lonely Beach, Koh Chang pt24


Ayutthaya Thailand

It’s our last day in Koh Chang (the picture above is Ayutthaya, Bangkok, just so you’re aware, I’m trying to right about now, and the last few days, and I’m doing it over several days so even I’m confused, so good luck to you!) we’ve been staying at the Oasis hotel up a very steep hill (if you stay here, and it is wonderful! make sure the bloody taxi driver will take your luggage up the hill, it almost killed us as we haven’t exactly packed light given we’re heading right round the world), perched close to the jungle. We’ve had a shower in our outdoor bathroom and were lucky to see some monkeys foraging this morning. One in our neighbour’s rubbish bin. They ransacked ours a few nights ago to find old chocolate wrappers (view from the bathroom below).

Oasis Lonely Beach Koh Chang

We’re waiting for our taxi to take us up the road to the ferry and then across to Trat where we’re flying to Bangkok to stay the night and then head to Chiang Mai. Our Chiang Mai leg has been growing smaller and smaller. Originally scheduled for four nights, we’re now there for just two nights as we had to cut our stay in Thailand a bit shorter due to my wife, who is travelling on her Mexican passport,  only being allowed a 15 day visa. I also thought I’d booked a flight from Trat (closest airport to Koh Chang) to Bangkok and then onto Chiang Mai in the one day. Turns out I accidentally booked an overnight stay in Bangkok, so there you go, poor old Chiang Mai is down to two nights. So much for plans, this has totally left my google sheet spreadsheet in disarray. But as my friend Howie says, ahhh… all wonderful things to worry about – spending more time in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Luang Prabang? Well, we’re now in Bangkok again! Kind of doing the time jump thing they do in the movies with LATER. And also the ‘A few days earlier’ thing, as I haven’t even really mentioned Ayutthaya.

A Few Days Earlier

ayutthaya buddhia statue thailand

Ayutthaya. We went on a day trip to Ayutthaya. It was very, very spectacular. Also very, very hot. Still around 38 degrees C max. Sometimes it became unbearable and I’d just find a sprinkler, that the gardener had on to try and keep the grass green, to stand under. Ayutthaya is a large site, spread out over what seems a few kilometres. It used to be the old capital – there may have been several old capitals as I think I heard the same of Sukhothai – which we’re not visiting now due to time limitations. We travelled by mini bus between the locations and had a wonderful bunch of people with us. There was a French woman Jenane, or Jeneane, something Jenish, who was travelling with her parents for a bit after being in Laos, Malaysia and a bunch of places. She gave us good tips for Laos and also northern Thailand, which meant we decided to spend a few more days in. Chiang Rai and Luang Prabang, and potentially skip the town of Vang Vieng altogether as she described it as a ‘bunch of concrete’ and a place where your scooter will get stolen with great frequency and gay abandon. It’s 6.51 a.m, and we’ve been up since 5 a.m. so my metaphors or whatever you call those describing things are worse than usual.

Ayutthaya Buddha statue Thailand

We also had Pad, or Patricia, on our trip. She was from a small village in Spain – the glam instagram type – like us. She didn’t even have a hat. Not sure how she survived the day. We had good chats with both Jeneane and Pad, and also a few words with some Venezuelans. Good for my wife to be able to speak Spanish with people.

I’ve put some pictures of Ayutthaya around the page – you’ll have to guess which ones are Ayutthaya and which ones are Koh Chang. It’s such an easy trip to organise from Bangkok (Ayutthaya not Koh Chang which is a 7 hour plus bus and boat trip which usually leaves Khaosan Road around 5am) and we paid around 600 baht each, including a fairly decent basic lunch. The highlight on all the tourist brochures of Lord Buddha’s head in a tree is a little underwhelming and the guard there is constantly having to tell women to cover their shoulders in respect for the Buddha and all genders to sit and not stand when taking a photo with the enlightened one. I enjoyed climbing the temples, which I might post on my instagram so I can do a story or video, which I don’t seem to be able to do with my blog posts. I have one where I’m casually strolling up the steps which was an ominous sign as on the way down with the heat and loss of salt and potassium and the like my legs cramped something horrid. Bring bananas and electrolytes on those scorching days! I also enjoyed the well thing at one site where you drop money down for good luck, see below. In any weather it’s well worth a trip. But if you have a choice, don’t go in April, or probably September, but at least in September you’re likely to get a refreshing drenching of rain, where in April you will be slowly baked over the course of the day.

ayutthaya thailandwishing well Ayutthaya Thailand

A Few Days Later – and 28 years earlier

So I’m back now, sitting at Bangkok airport waiting for the plane to Chiang Mai after spending a few days on Koh Chang. Koh Chang was interesting, for me not amazing, I remember my first trip to Thailand in 1995 (which I said I’d park mention of until the end of this 50 year backpacker trip, though it may pop up organically from time to t time) where I visited Koh Samet which was a cute and fairly quiet island (at least back then) with crystal clear water and isolated beaches, where I had to swim in my underwear as I hadn’t packed any bathers or traje de baños as I call them now. Where I rocked up without a booking and ended up sharing a room with an American girl I’d met on the boat, and where I ended up cold sleeping on the floor as I was a gentleman and gave up the bed for my travelling companion, and I’d left my sleeping bag in India to save weight as I figured Thailand was so hot that I wouldn’t need it, and yes, when I had visited Thailand in March that would have been true but in December when I visited the 2nd time, and then, it is cold at night. Back in 1995 when the American’s friend arrived we found a nice quiet beach in the north where we got separate cabins, and for me, at least enough bedding to stop me from freezing.

I still have the card from that place:

bungalow tubtim koh samed thailand

In April 2023, freezing was not an issue on Koh Chang. Very sweaty, and it was the one time we booked a hotel without air conditioning. And I have to pause writing this blog as we now have to board the plane, lucky my wife is paying attention as I’d just sit here typing away until they called my name to make me come on board.

To be continued…