Shortly after we were engaged and just before Spring Festival in 2007, Jia and I took a trip to Thailand. We headed around Bangkok, Ko Samet, Chiang Mai, and Ayutthaya during our two-week visit.
After seeing quite a bit of Bangkok, we hopped a train to the ancient capital city of Ayutthaya that dates back to 1350. The capital was later abandoned when the Burmese invaded in 1767. We had to take an un-air conditioned ride about an hour and a half north of Bangkok. Our tickets were not numbered and we were not guaranteed a seat, as we discovered after two stops when someone told me to move from the hard seat. Jia got lucky and no one came to claim her seat.
We arrived in Ayutthaya before noon and had to take a ferry across the moat that surrounded the ruins of the old city. Upon entering the city, we saw bikes to rent, but I thought we should walk around a bit first and find a cheaper rental--big mistake. There were no other bicycle rental shops the entire time we walked through the streets. Under the intense sun on a fairly clear day I cursed my judgement--and I'm fairly sure Jia silently did the same.
As we approached the ruins of Khmer-style architecture, we found that all the sections of the ancient city require individual entrance fees for foreigners. Most of the tickets were cheap, so we didn't mind paying--we just wished there was an all-inclusive ticket to purchase. A few times we walked into parks without realizing there was a ticket booth, but no one stopped us.
All the sites were filled with tourists and Thai school children, yet there was very little noise as the people were very respectful toward what was once a mass of temples. It was rather peaceful wandering through the parks--spending most of the time in the shade of banyan trees. We passed through most of the parks in the center of the city, but there was plenty we didn't manage to see as we had to make it make sure we didn't miss the train back.
We were exhausted by the time we arrived back at the train station of Ayutthaya--we had walked for at least six hours. Fortunately, we had seats on the train back to Bangkok.