Day 1 - part 2 - Bangkok
We landed in Bangkok around 04:30 after almost 17 hours after we left Israel, in which we hardly even slept (not including Tomer who can sleep everywhere and anytime). After the cold weather of Kiev (approx. 0 degrees celsius), facing the heat and humidity of Bangkok wasn't a joyfull experience.
We were not so sure what to do next - leave Bangkok to Ayutthatya and then sleep, or the other way around, so we decided to go to the train station first in order to check the trains' schedule. A short glipmse to the train schedule showed us that there was a train to Ayutthaya around noon, so we decided to go to one of the hotels near the airport for a short day-use. We returned to the airport, while avoiding all the taxi drivers and other possible cons, and since the TAT office was closed we went to book hotel rooms in the "hotel reservation" window, assuming that it is not possible that an "official" service in the airport can be unfair (mistake no.1). They told us there that the only place we can get a triple room is in the Ebina hotel and that a room shall cost us 1500 baht for staying until noon (including transportation to the hotel and back). We were relly tired, and 50 shekels per person doesn't seem a lot so we agreed (mistake no.2). We arrived to the hotel (which was indeed nearby the airport) around 08:00 and went to sleep after a short shower. To be precise, Tomer went to sleep. Oren and Einav counted airplanes landing and taking off.
We left the hotel in 12:00 and went straight to the domestic airport to book flights for the rest of the trip. Since our schedule was pretty tight, we decided to book the flights in advance, so that we don't have to waste time on it later. We booked the flights in Thai Airways which is one of the more expensive options, but on the otherhand as far as we know it has fewer delays which is important for a short trip. Another important reason for choosing Thai Airways is that we wanted to fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket and other companies didn't have direct flights in this route.
After a short walk we came into the train station just in time to see the train entering the station. Tomer started running to buy tickets, and the rest of us knowing how it goes in Israel shouted at him: "you don't have a chance,we'll never catch this train - give up..". Tomer is stubborn (this time it was on our behalf) and ran to buy the tickets (11 bahts per ticket). The train started to move, and suddenly there was a wistle and the train stopped moving. The usher noticed us and stopped the train. Four Israelis buying tickets, the train awaits, and no one complains - people were just wondering what our destination was and why we don't get on the train.
We finished buying the tickets and went aboard. Maybe there is something nice about Thailand after all...
Day 1 - part 2 - Ayutthaya
The train was a 3rd class one, since it was a relatively short line, a simple train with fans hanging from the ceiling which didn't work, and we were almost the only foreigners on it. Next to us there was a local woman sitting who didn't know English at all but kept trying to talk to us with her hands.
The view was changing rapidly, and instead of crowdy Bangkok we saw wide areas covered with water, plants all overs, and in general - the trip suddenly looked nice. It was funny to see how the Thai people treat teir country, and throw empty soda cans out of the train's window without blinking. On second thought, if we could open the windows in the trains in Israel, I probably would have been the same...
We got off the train, but the Thai woman next to us tried to get some money from us before we do (she told us when we got to Ayutthaya, no?). We found ourselves surrounded with "muggers" on tuk-tuks. The "lonely Planet" suggested we should cross the river in a boat, so we did it, and for 3 bahts per person we were on the other side - in town. We met a woman tuk-tuk driver and asked her to take us to a specific guest house. She claimed it was full, and whenever she thought we didn't believe her she pulled out a certificate from the tourist authority to show us she is honest. We eventually cracked, and let her take us to a guest house she recommended (after she led us to a smelly guest house first). We took her offer and decided to take a tour around Ayutthaya in the evening to see all the wats surrounding it - a 4 hours tour for 600 bahts (4 people). It may be not expensive in "western" perspective, but in Thailand prices it seems she made a nice deal that day.
Our first stop was a wat called "Yai Chaya Mongkol" which contains a number of big shrines and a giant lying buddha, all surrounded with a beautiful garden.

wat Yai Chaya Mongkol
Later, we continued the tour towards "Wat Chaiwattanaram" which is a large compound of temples in ancient khmer style, and then in some other wats which were lit when it was dark and looked very impressive.

In the end of the evening we set up a meeting with the tuk-tuk driver so that she'll take us to the national museum "Chao Sam Phraya" in the morning.
When we got to our rooms we found out they were full of mosquitoes, so we took out the mosquito nets we brought. The problem was that there wasn't any way to set the nets, so we glued them to the heads of the beds with some bandaids,and spent the first few hours of the night trying to set the nets just for them to fall on our faces 5 minutes later... Conclusion - other than mosquito nets, one should also bring a propper gear to set it up.

Day 2 - a trip in Ayutthaya, and going to Pak-Chong
In the morning, when the tuk-tuk driver took us to another museum we realized she didn't understand us. As we learned later on, tuk-tuk drivers understand what they want to, and take you where they want to, even if you show them the exact location on a map. We made sure she understood we didn't plan on hiring her for the entire day, and let her go catch some other tourists.
During breakfast in a restaurant on the river's bank we found out that Aviv forgot the business card of the guest house in his room, and that none of us knew the guest house's name. Aviv thought he knew the name and we decided to continue our tour in the town.
After breakfast we went to the nearby museum - chantharakasem - which had a relatively small exhibition of artifacts from different periods in the history of Ayutthaya.
From the museum we took a tuk-tuk to the center of town where there is a concentration of ancient wats that can be easily traveled on foot. The fact that almost in every place you see signs saying that the ancient remains that were recovered there can be found in the national museum encouraged us to go to the museum.

wat Ratchaburana
Luckily, during the tour in the wats, we met the tuk-tuk driver from the previous day, and she gave us a note with the Thai name of our guest house. We were lucky because it the name Aviv remembered wasn't even close to the name of the guest house.
We finished our tour in Ayutthaya in "Chao Sam Phraya" museum, where we saw all the beautiful artifacts that the Thai authorities gathered from the wats. Of course that according to the "Thai tradition" we couldn't take pictures there (we could only buy postcards), so you'll have to trust us when we say it was really impressive.
We went back to our guest house, took our gear and continued to the train station to catch the 13:30 train to Pak-Chong. Five minute before the train was supposed to get into the station a crew of workers started taking gravel from the railway. Then the train came in, even though the workers didn't finish their work, and we left to Pak-Chong. The train was a 3rd class train, again, since there are no other trains between Ayutthaya and Pak-Chong, and it was full of local people who didn't know a word in English.
The journey to Pak-Chong lasted about three and a half hours, and the railway went through amazing view of jungles, plantations and mountains. There is no point in counting the stops the train makes on the way, since it stops in a lot of stations that are not listed in the schedule you buy in Bangkok. One thing is certain - it doesn't matter how remote and secluded a village there is, its train station is very pretty, with beautiful gardens.
Tomer took out a Hebrew-Thai phrases book, and started talking to a nice local man who sat near by. It was enough for Tomer to say words like "bird" and "tree" in Thai to make the man amused. The highlight was when Tomer gave the Thai man a wet wipe for refreshment and show him how to wipe his face with it, which made the man especially happy.
In the rest of the time, when we were not looking at the view, we were trying to avoid eye contact with the people going through the train selling weird creatures, which their stench you could smell five minutes before and after they come near you.
It was funny to see the ceremony that took place in the train whenever another train passed us by in the opposite direction, when the local people in our train started pointing at us, showing the people in the other train the "wonder" in their train (us).
When we got to Pak-Chong we didn't see tuk-tuks or cabs to take us to the guest house the "lonely planet" recommended("Green Leaf") so we went with a woman who took us to "Khao Yai Garden Lodge" instead. They had rooms for 4 people, so we decided to stay there - all of us in the same room. In the guest house we finally met other tourists, which were mostly Dutch. We also met a couple of nice dutch tourists (Jetty and Sander)who told us they were also planning to take an organized trip in the park on the next day.
Since the "lonely planet" recommended taking the trip of the "Green Leaf" rather than the trip of the "Garden Lodge", we decided with Jetty and Sander to go together to the "Green Leaf" guest house and to book a trip with them. Later on we found out this was a good decision. We believe that the trip of the "Green Leaf" guest house which we took was better (same course, but the guide seemed much better), while staying in the "Garden Lodge" was really nice and the food there was great - so in our opinion this was the preferred combination.
We finished the evening in the swimming pool (cold as ice), and the warm sauna in our guest house.
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