Ruined by the heat
23.05.2012 - 28.05.2012 33 °C
Famed as the ancient capital of Thailand, there is plenty of history on offer just a short distance north of Bangkok. Ayutthaya is a city, but felt quiet enough compared to bustling Bangkok. The centre of town is an island, with 3 rivers coming together to form a natural moat. This gave it the feel of a walled city without the brick and mortar.
We managed to get some admin done in Bangkok while we had access to speedy wifi and international consulates for arranging advance visas for later in the trip. We had an easy minivan ride from Bangkok to Ayutthaya given that we were staying right near victory monument which is where the vans originate.
Dan and I found a cozy little home stay and hardly wanted to venture out of the safety of the air-conditioning! But we managed to brave the scorching and muggy conditions to find the brand new tourist information office. The staff were incredibly helpful and loaded us up with maps and brochures before suggesting we visit the free exhibition on Ayutthaya. Well , an air-conditioned exhibition was a very exciting prospect in itself and turned out to be very worthwhile. It gave us a good understanding of the city and its place in Thai history.
The following day armed with our maps, brochures and hired bicycles we set out to explore the historic ruins. First we decided to make a detour to book some onwards bus tickets. Over 2 hours later and some scary freeway cycling we had our bus tickets sorted. It would have been handy to know that our maps turned out to be not quite to scale once you leave the old town area.
Fairly tired by now, we started at the Wat Mahathat ruins. These were spread over quite a large area, so we wandered around through the ruins. There was quite a bit of restoration going on and you could see places where Buddha’s had been propped up against old walls ready to be fixed into place again. The most impressive feature in these ruins was the image of the Buddha head entwined in the tree roots.
We summoned up enough energy to do some more exploring. We passed a number of Wat’s and historic ruins and escaped the traffic for a break in the park.
Just what you want for 1.5 hour bus rides, karaoke the whole way!
Pimp my ride, Tuk Tuk style
Offerings of favourite softdrink is very common
Wat Phra Si Sanphet was an impressive sight with the 3 aligned chedis.
We had seen an elephant walking along the street when we arrived. While cycling around we found where they had come from. We cycled along the back of this place, and found these poor little guys putting on a show. I assume the rest of the audience had paid although we just cycled past on the road.
We kept pushing on fitting in a final few temples, Buddhas and ice cream breaks into the day
We set off again heading further north in search of what would hopefully be some cooler conditions.
Tanya – Despite being hot and tiring work seeing Ayutthaya by bicycle, it was an interesting little stop none the less. It was incredible how the modern city is built right in amongst so many historic sites.
Daniel – It’s good to see some ruins that show the power that was in these parts of the world! I was really interested to read that a lot of the European powers had consulates here on the island during the height of the Siam power in the 1600’s and Europe tried to find a foothold in South East Asia.