I feel like I’m part of my own version of The Amazing Race. The plan is to get to Hualamphong train station on foot, bypassing another Wat (Buddhist temple) including a Buddha statue of solid gold. I could take a tuk-tuk, which would be less than two euros, but it’s a principle thing.

Let’s face it, the maps in the Lonely Planet are worth shite. And even less considering that they are in English. The map from the Guesthouse is little help, either. In the absence of a standardised romanized spelling street names change within the course of 200m, and needless to say they are never matching the English equivalent on the map. That is, even if you found a street signs (non-existent in Chinatown, for instance). It’s almost impossible to keep track of where you are. Most likely, you are lost in an incredible maze of little alleys and walk-ways.

Asking people always carries the danger of running into someone who just happens to know a tuk-tuk driver. The problem with those drivers is not that they charge an astronomically high price for the trip, they take you to dodgy travel agencies or tailor shops and receive a commission for bringing in a farang, a westerner.

But with a good sense of directions (luckily I was screaming loud enough when God gave away orientation skills), I finally managed to get to the station. I got a train ticket to Ayuttaya (again, I’ve come across five different spellings of that town) for a whopping 15 Baht, about 32 cent. Travel local!

Well, I said that I was fed up with Bangkok. I was in a way, although this city is such a wild and interesting place. You’d go from barracks to high-profile areas, from the poorest to the filthy rich. Tuk-tuks share the roads with massive Mercedes SUVs. It’s a fascinating mix I’ve never experienced before. One minute you’re swarmed by millions of Thais trying to get your attention for whatever reason. The next they practically ignore you.

It just seemed right to get away from it. And comparing the dive I was staying at in the big smoke (quite literally), the guesthouse I’m writing this from in Ayuttaya is a seriously nice place. Bamboo-hut style enterieur, a room with fly screens, a fan that actually deserves that name and staff that speek rudimentary English.

Smart move.

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