We were up early again for the 8:59 train. Time for a quick breakfast, check out and walk to the station. We had about a 4 ½ hour journey from Phitsanoluk to Ayutthaya. The train journey was pretty uneventful - couldn't see a lot as we were in an air conditioned carriage with filthy windows. We arrived at Ayutthaya, crossed by ferry to the town (it is on an island) and found a place to stay.
Ayutthaya is another old capital - this time more recent. The place is still mostly ruins although they look in better shape than Sukhothai. We decided to explore a little bit after lunch and walked to the first set of ruined temples. These were impressive - still a bit Indian in appearance although you could go inside the structures (if you ignored western health and safety standards). They originally had lots of treasure inside them but this had been looted - mainly in the 1950s.
In the evening, we took a tour by Tuk-Tuk to see the ruins at night when they were floodlit. This seemed like a good idea as it would take us to ones we might not get to see tomorrow as the site is very large. The first stop was a large structure outside of the city it was quite impressive and it was supposed to be a good place for sunsets - the sunset was not too impressive. Just outside it was a modern monument to one of the kings - nothing unusual except it was surrounded by lots of chicken statues - some quite large and some in disco colours - couldn't understand the significance of the chickens and the Thais gave their normal shrug and said they were lucky. There were lots of other stops to see a very large reclining Buddha and the main temples all lit up at night. The trip was quite worthwhile and gave us a good look at the place so we can look at a few places in detail tomorrow.
The next day, we hired cycles for seeing the rest of Ayutthaya as it is somewhat spread out. We managed to get going early and were at the first site by 8:30. The first set of ruins were also impressive by day and were set in a parkland setting that made it pleasant to cycle round. From these we moved on to the Royal Palace area - this included a large Buddha plus the ruins of the palace temple with the iconic view of the 3 stuppas.From here we moved on to the only temple the Burmese didn't destroy when they sacked Ayutthaya - containing a very expensive large statue covered in gold leaf. We then had a ride past a few more ruins before heading back to pick up our bags and go onto Bangkok.
We reversed the journey on the ferry back to the station to find that a train was leaving right away. We got a ticket and jumped on. The train was all 3rd class wooden benches - OK for the one hour journey but quite squashed (a bit like the 7:19 from Tunbridge Wells to London!). We arrived at the hotel we had booked only to find that they had made a mistake and the hotel was full - but they had found us a place down the street in another slightly less savoury place.
We went off to the Canon shop - the main purpose of the Bangkok stop was to get my camera fixed (good news it was working and just needed a clean inside). Less good news about the hotel we were in - it was very noisy and I suspected they rented rooms by the hour!