Day 43: Ayutthaya, Thailand. We had a chilled out day today – our last day in Ayutthaya. We were feeling a little ‘templed out’ so decided to go and take a look at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, to get some more historical context.
The museum is a sprawling exhibition of artifacts discovered during excavation works and restorations of the ancient temples around Ayutthaya. The pieces on display were fascinating, however the layout and supporting information was a little disappointing – perhaps our expectations were just a bit too high after the great museums in Kanchanaburi. It was still a worthwhile visit and we learnt lots, though taking our shoes off and putting them on again repeatedly as we walked from one building to another got a little tiresome after a bit.
Afterwards as we were walking back in the direction of our guesthouse, Lil spotted the tourist office and we popped in to have a look around. There were signs pointing to a history exhibition upstairs, so we headed up to the next level, and the display there was excellent. We haven’t seen the exhibition advertised anywhere, and we were the only two people walking around. It’s a huge shame as there was lots of great historical details on Ayutthaya and more contemporary information on places to visit, markets and local food, and it was all really well put together.
By now, Jim’s feet were killing him after walking around museums in bare feet all afternoon, so we decided to keep our shoes on and go for another caffeine hit. Last night when we visited the tiny bar with live music, the daughter of the musician invited us to visit her coffee shop, so we set off to try and find it. Lil had taken a photograph of the map the girl was showing us, which is just as well as the coffee shop was tucked away down a very small back alley. The girl from the restaurant was thrilled when she saw us and whipped up two great cappuccinos. By then it was late afternoon, and time to head home to change before wandering out for dinner.
As we walked into the town again, we saw a restaurant sign pointing down a small lane. We wandered down, and at the end of the lane there was an old rickety wooden bridge across the river. Lil decided to go and take some pics of boats on the water from the bridge. She was almost half way across when she saw an unfriendly looking dog just ahead, which stopped her in her tracks. At exactly the same time, Jim yelled “Lil – snake, don’t walk back!”. Which left her in a bit of a dilemma – as she was now trapped between a cranky dog, and a venomous snake. She decided the best option was to run crazy fast past the snake, which had already started to move.
We recognised the snake straight away from our visit to the snake farm in Bangkok. It’s a green tree pit viper (the pits are on its nose and are heat sensitive), and even the handlers at the farm gave it a lot of respect, saying they’d be in hospital for three days with blood poisoning if they got bitten. These snakes usually live in trees and when they bite they don’t let go for fear of losing their prey. Gnarly! The lady from the restaurant was standing at her gate and still hoping we might eat at her place. She said “oh yes, we get lots of snakes here”. We decided to move right along.
We had beers at an open air bar in the old town. While Lil de-stressed after the snake drama, we watched a couple of guys beating each other up at the Muai Thai Academy right next door. Never a dull moment.
We went back to Earls tonight for dinner – the eclectic restaurant resembling Aladdin’s Cave – which was fab. Then home for an early night. Tomorrow we pack up again, and head down south to the coast.