After a short 2 days in Bangkok it was time to head to our home for the next 3 months, Chiang Mai! The bus picked us up early Saturday morning at our hotel and as we drove North, I couldn’t help think that this metropolis was New York on steriods!
Our first stop was Wat Phra Mahathat in the original Thai capital of Ayutthaya to see the Buddha head embedded in a tree. Next was a visit to Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon. constructed in 1357 AD with the Chedi (stupa) being constructed in 1592AD. This amazing structure still standing as much of Ayutthaya was by the Burmese in the 1700’s. This is evident at Wat Phra Mahathat as most of the grounds are ruins lost in time.
After our stop in Ayutthaya, we were on our way to Chiang Mai. Our drive took us Route 1 and it was my trek a the left side of the road. It was also the first time I saw so many other modes of transportation along the busy high way, there were people on bikes, motorcycles, scooters, tractors, and some even walking on this busy stretch of road.
As we drove along, a Buddha statue would peak out of the trees along the hilltops, it was one of the most interesting things along the trip as it appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. The statues were ornate, even from a distance, mostly white
After quite a while driving we pulled over at a local rest stop, which was just a big fancy convenience store with gas. There I ordered lunch, which consisted of kaew moo grob (pork and rice), and given this was a truck stop, I wasn’t expecting what I had eaten. It was the best pork dish I had eaten to date and was happily surprised by my lunch choice.
Back on the bus, it was a couple hours til our next stop, which was Lampang. Our professor’s ex sister-in-law owned a restaurant on the Wang River. As we arrived, the sun was setting over the river. It was amazing food and an interesting experience. It was the first time I noticed all of the lizards, as there were 10 on the ceiling of the open-air restaurant.
After dinner, there was a short drive to Chiang Mai, our home for the next 3 months.