My last trip to southeast Asia would end with three days in Bangkok. I believe this was my 20th or 21st trip to Asia. In Bangkok I enjoy going to my tailor to have clothes made within 24 hours, dining at some of my favorite restaurants and doing some last minute shopping. Bangkok has really changed over the years and it is definitely one of my favorite cities in the world. Prior to arriving I arranged a private day tour to Ayutthaya, the former ancient capital of Thailand.
My private guide Kai was waiting for me in the hotel lobby. The tour companies I have used over the years in Southeast Asia always arrive early for pick up. I can not recall when they have showed up late for myself or any of my valued clients.
Traffic was lighter than normal departing Bangkok and we arrived at the city of Ayutthaya in about 90 minutes. During the ride we talked about Thai history and politics. I asked Kai many questions about his family and daily life. We exchanged stories about our cultures and Kai was quite surprised when I told him I have traveled to over 100 countries. Of course he asked me what was my favorite and I answered without hesitation it was Thailand. This brought a huge smile to Kai’s face.
Our first stop in Ayutthaya was at the Royal Palace , also known as the Summer Palace. The home to the king was originally constructed in the 1600’s, and later restored in the 1800’s. It features vast gardens and buildings with a mixture of European and Asian design. King Rama loved Venice and he designed his palace with Europe in mind. It was very peaceful and beautiful as we strolled around for the next 45 minutes.
For the remainder of the morning we visited many temples from this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I was surprised there were not too many tourists. Perhaps it was the higher than normal temperatures. I find the Buddhist culture very fascinating. After touring the ancient sites of Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Viharn Phra Mongkol and Wat Phra Mahathat it was time for lunch. We would have lunch on board a 60 passenger boat . This was the only part of my tour that was not private as other passengers from Japan boarded the vessel. Kai joined me for lunch and the 3 hour cruise down the Chao Praya River heading back to Bangkok. Traveling by boat is a nice slow way to view the lifestyle of the local people on both sides of the river banks.
We finally arrived back to Bangkok adjacent to the Shangri La Hotel on the banks of the river. My tailor’s shop was around the corner. I asked Kai if he would like me to introduce him to my tailor before our private driver would take me back to my hotel. Kai eagerly agreed and we enjoyed some spiced tea with my long time friend Thanin. I purchased my first custom made suit from Thanin in 1990.
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