Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Thailand Day Two. Ayutthaya, and a human head hanging from the brige in Bangkok.

It is very unusual for us to go on organised tours, we normally sort out our own tours using books like the Lonely Planet, Rough Guide ect. We had been very lazy and booked a tour with 'River King' at a desk located in our accommodation, my main motivation for this was that I was assured that the tour included a fantastic lunch, the plan was to drive to Ayuthaya then come back to Bangkok on the river.
It was from our accommodation that the Taxi picked us up at 06.00, an early start to the Day Trip to Ayuthaya. Straight away I was reminded of why I don't like these organised tours, as we spent over 1 1/2 hours driving from hotel to hotel picking up other tourists. Finally at around 07.30, the 12 seater mini bus was full and we started the drive from Bangkok to Ayuthaya.

Located approximately 85 km north of Bangkok, the city was the Thai capital from 1350 to 1767. During this period Thai culture flourished, and Ayuthaya became a centre for international commerce. The present day city is located at the confluence of the Chao Phaya, Pa Sak and Lopburi rivers. A canal joins them and encircles the town. Ayuthaya has many historic ruins, unfortunately we only visited a few of them. The ones we visited were very interesting.

The tour then went to the Kings Summer palace. This was an odd place and I would have rather had more time in Ayuthaya.

We were then driven by coach, almost back to BKK. To join the river boat that was taking us back to the city, lunch was served on the boat. The vessel we boarded was very luxurious, with a lovely meal laid out, I was pleased with the lunch. However, our guide quickly told us that we were on the wrong boat! He showed us to our River Cruiser...more like an old Thames Boat and our lunch, that looked like left overs from a Chinese Take Away!
The meal was OK and after it I went out onto the back deck to get some air and enjoy the river view, we were approaching the Rama VIII Bridge, I wanted to get some good photos of the bridge. As I looked I could see something was hanging from the bridge. It looked like a rope with an old sack attached to it. As we approached and looked closer, we saw that it was a severed head! The head was hanging by the rope, the neck all torn and shredded where the body had ripped from the head, but very little blood. As we were on the top deck, and the rope was long, we were really close to the head and got a good look at it, (almost to good!). It looked like on Old Thai Monk, with a very close shaved head. It has been reported in the Thai press follow this link
When we told our tour guide, he got a little flustered and told us that a film was being made! He went to great pains to tell us the head was not real, and wanted us to go inside the river boat. The reports in the news say it was a westerners head. It was not. We have had some odd experiences on holiday before but this is the most bizarre thing to date. I was so shocked at what we saw that I forgot to take a photo! Anyway, the river trip continued!!

This photo is of The New Siam Riverside Accommodation, the latest in the New Siam Stable.
On getting back to the Rambutri Road, we indulged ourselves in some pampering, having a facial, manicure and pedicure at a local parlour.
Then it was off for some serious tourist shopping on the crowded Khao San Road, as well as eating dinner while a Hill Tribe woman was chirping a wooden frog in your ear. But at least we had kept our heads!