Bernd and I like to think we can make our way around in most places – reading maps, deciphering public transport systems, negotiating taxi and tuk tuk fares etc. Sometimes, though, we’ve chosen an easier way – the dreaded tour bus day trip.
I say “dreaded” because when you’re sightseeing on your own, quietly exploring a tranquil temple, seeing one of these behemoths pull up outside brings on a sinking feeling. You know you’re about to be surrounded by a big group of tourists taking selfies and their guide shouting instructions about when to be back on the bus.
When we wanted to visit the ancient Thai capital Ayutthaya from Bangkok we were faced with a choice:
- Independent: Take the sky train/metro to the train station. Catch a train to Ayuttyaha. Negotiate with a tuk tuk driver to show us the sites. Find somewhere to have lunch. Catch the train/sky train/metro back to our hotel.
- Day Trip: Be picked up from our hotel, driven to Ayutthaya, fed, put on a boat back to Bangkok and then driven back to our hotel.
We felt tired just discussing the logistics of option 1 so we went with option 2. Option 1 would have been cheaper but a lot more hassle. Basically we’re lazy.
We didn’t regret it. The pickup was punctual, the bus was cool and comfortable. Ayutthaya was interesting but seeing three temples was enough. We could get out of the bus, check out a buddha and a stack of bricks then pop back into the bus when it got boring.
We could also sleep on the journey without fear of getting lost or having our stuff stolen. We’ll probably do more of these day tours on our trip. They definitely have their place in our opinion!