From the South to the North, Bangkok to Chiang Rai. We decided to rent a van and drive north through the ancient cities of Ayutthaya, and Sukhothai for our first week
The tourist van we rented. They actually let us drive it away ourselves....even though we drive on the wrong side of the road!
Elephant ranglin' in Ayutthaya
He was goin' for my wallet!
Ayutthaya has its own style...even the tuk-tuk's were different
Ruins at Ayutthaya Historical City. Built around 1350, destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. It's estimated that Ayutthaya, by the year 1600, had a population of about 300,000, with the population perhaps reaching 1,000,000 around 1700. Making it one of the world's largest cities at that time
Wonder how long that's been there?
He didn't look happy having his lunch interupted
After checking out the ruins we went for a boat ride on the river. The city is basically an island surrounded by the river. In the old days it was used as a defense system. The food was great, cooked on the boat, with a few cold Chang beers
We had a great time...especially after it got dark and our lovely captain ran out of diesel. We had to tie to a piling in the pitch black night, refuel with the spare can she had on board, and then bleed the system. She was worried. We told her she had three guys, all who had had boats, all with diesels, and all have run outta fuel in the dark! We just laughed and thought it was funny! Made her feel a lot better. Good thing I had a flashlight handy.
Giant Monk statue on the way to Sukhothai
Real live pig butt! A bunch of em, all numbered and ready for market
Now there's somethin' ya don't see everyday!
We stopped here for lunch. Chicken wings and beer!
Giant Golden Buddha on the way to Sukhothai
Had to maneuver our van down some pretty small roads to get to some of the temple cities
The ruins at Sukhothai and surrounding cities were just as impressive. A little older than Ayutthaya, around 1238, and spread out over a much larger area.
I climbed to the top of one temple for pics. I asked first
The town was all decked out for a festival. Perfect time to be there!
Bring on the Festival!
Lots of fun, music, dance, food, and fireworks!
Headed out the next morning for Chiang Mai. Mostly superhighway, nice Morning Glory
Back in Chiang Mai. Spent the night, and then headed for Chiang Rai, and Ban Lao, where Nattaya's family lives
Breakfast at our guesthouse
Cute little car
Chiang mai is full of beautiful temples
Orchid nursery, Chiang Rai
Wat Tham Pla, the Fish and Monkey cave near the Myanmar border. They don't tell ya about the crocodiles!
Apparently the monkeys and crocodiles are pals
The 'fish' part of Fish and Monkey cave
The cave temple was wonderful, and quite the hike up the mountain.
400 of these.....
Which leads to this....
And gets you here. to the entrance
Buddha image in the cave
Buffet in Chiang Rai near my guesthouse. There's a new idea, pay by the minute!
Yum, live crickets, you could get them live, or have them deep fried.
I opted for the squid! Deeeeeelicious!
The roaches were next on the menu
The scenery on the way to Ban Lao
Back at my favorite restaurant, Haad Chiang Rai (Chiang Rai Beach)
Just tryin' to relax!
Great temple tucked away from the beach on a hill overlooking the river