1 November 2014

  • General data:
    • We started our bike trip on Ayutthaya city island near Wat Maha That and ended the first day at the Chong View Resort in Thung Khok of Song Phi Nong District of Suphan Buri Province. 
    • The weather was cloudy. Maximum temperature was around 26,1 C with a NNW wind of 6 Km/Hr. Humidity was 89 % (Source: VTBD). 
    • Technical data of the trip was as follows: Total Distance: 92.18 Km; Moving Average: 22.2 Km/Hr; Overall Average: 16.9 Km/Hr; Maximum Speed: 33.5 Km/Hr; Moving time: 4 Hr 9 Min; Stopped Time: 1 Hr 18 Min; Total Time: 5 Hr 27 Min.
  • Number of participants: 3 (Pat, Sean & Steve) 

Steve arrived shortly before 0630 Hr at the RV and a couple of minutes later we were ready to take the road. We biked down to Ayutthaya, where near Wat Maha That we initiated our tracking device. At the roundabout we met Sean, who was accompanying us till Kanchanaburi. The weather was sunny and it promised to be a hot day.

Biking along the rice fields of Ayutthaya, we made our first stop at Wat Chai Na along Khlong Sali after 25 Km. The ordination hall of the monastery was still partly unfinished and apparently not yet consecrated as the "luk nimit" - stone spheres symbolizing unity, completion and perfection - were still arranged in front of the building; waiting the sacred stone burying process. We halted for about a quarter of an hour at the monastery and then continued our travel. Most of the track went through the rice fields of the Central Plains.

A second stop was made at a local shop after 43 Km. We were already nearly half our way, thus it was a "Magnum" moment. After taking the necessary time to enjoy our ice cream with Belgian chocolate we left for Wat Phai Rong Wua. We reached the monastery located in Bang Ta Then sub-district of Song Phi Nong district at 1015 Hr.

Wat Phai Rong Wua or free translated the "Monastery of the Bamboo Cowshed" houses, what is believed to be one of the largest cement Buddha images of the world. Its premises have been described as "a kind of Buddhist version of Disneyland without the rides". There is a large bronze Buddha statue called Phra Phuttha Khodom (Buddha Gautama), which is 10 meters wide at the lap and 26 meters high. The temple features replicas of the most significant sites in the Lord Buddha’s life. These include the places where he was born (Lumbini - Nepal), reached enlightenment (Bodhgaya - India), gave his first sermon (Sarnath - India) and attained nirvana (Kushinagar - India). There is also an imitation of the Buddhist hell with hundreds of statues showing punishment in theafterlife for Buddhist rules broken on earth. The monastery grounds houses the world’s largest bronze multi-spired building, known as Phra Wihan Roi Yot, and the largest bronze Wheel of the Doctrine or Dhamma Chakra.

After having pushed at least a hundred shutters on our cameras, we continued our trip from there slightly after 1030 Hr. About 5 Km further we stopped to replenish the water bottles and ordered some drinks at Café Amazon as Pat was in for a coffee. From there it was only a good hour of biking and Chong View Resort, our accommodation for the remaining part of the day and night, turned up at 1215 Hr.

We had to wait a while before the rooms were ready. After a quick shower we were on the hunt for a restaurant. Though Thung Khok could be called "developed" as it had a 7-Eleven, we didn't find our prey and had to content ourselves with Isan food at a local shop. The meal hardly stilled our hunger and far from the necessary fuel to recover from the trip. On our return way we brought a visit to the 7-Eleven to buy additional snacks and our breakfast for the morning. The remaining afternoon was used to  rest.

At 1800 Hr we were back on the streets of Thung Khok in search forsome food. We visited the center of the "town", but with exception of a noodle shop or two, there was not much to quench our hunger. We asked and walked around finding us later on the return way to our resort on the other side of the main road. We remembered passing a local food shop just before arriving at the resort and decided to head that way. Finally we found us seated at a table in a completely empty place. It was not 5-star food, but after all it was not that bad and we could appease our stomachs. After the dinner, we returned to the resort as we planned to start off at 0630 Hr, welcoming a good night of sleep.

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