Commuting from sandy beaches to ancient cities

For the last two days, I was on an island off of the coast of Thailand, known as Koh Samet. I picked this island not only because it is the closest to Bangkok, but surprisingly, despite its distance – it is also minimally commercialized.

Now – my pictures will show the beauty of this island and indeed there are many interesting stories that come from it. I, however, want to concentrate on transportation and making my way from this island to the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Not only did I get to ride some vehicles that I’d never ridden before – the whole travel day was spent in a long adventure!

The day started off as wonderfully sunny – with Koh Samet’s emerald waters glittering in the sunlight. I was expecting a calm ferry back to the mainland – where I would catch a shuttle back to Bangkok. Ah, was I mistaken! The sun soon gave way to menacing dark gray clouds that thundered and roared and drove the calm sea wild. To catch the ferry back, I had to hop across three floating boats with my backpack while the downpour cascaded on me. Our ferry then went straight into the eye of the storm – and now our small fisherman’s boat crashed against the waves – drenching me even more. It helped that this journey was passed with a few British blokes – some who I’d met earlier in my time at Koh Samet. We swore, we squinted and then we finally saw land.

I then took a shuttle back to Bangkok and literally passed out. On my brief awakenings, all I could see was thunderous rain.

Got dropped off at the Train Station in Bangkok. Had to catch a 2hr train to Ayutthaya but didn’t know which one or what time. Managed to figure my way out and was on the 5.15pm train, third class (wonderfully clean with wide, open windows). The rain had stopped by now and I excitedly awaited the journey. I was the only non-Thai in a jam-packed commuter train.

A Songthaew

The vistas that the train presented were some of the most beautiful I’d ever seen. The city of Bangkok gave way to lime-green rice field pierced by small Wats (temples) and archaic wooden bridges. The sun was in all its majesty as it set behind these fields – the sky awash with orange and pink hues. The World was Beautiful.

Finally, I took a funny lil’ songthaew when I finally arrived to the save haven of my guesthouse, Bann Lotus, named after the beautiful lotus garden it houses in its backyard.

Whew, indeed a journey to remember!

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