Sunday, January 25, 2009


Ayutthaya was the Thai capital between 1351 and 1767 when it was ransacked by the Burmese and the Thais moved to Thonburi and then to the other side of the river, to Bangkok and the present Royal Palace.

Ayutthaya is situated on the confluence of 3 rivers and was a multi-national trading centre. It enjoyed an era of great prosperity and fine workmanship before the Burmese came along.

We came along in a coach! Shock horror but we thought it would be the most expeditious way to cover a fair amount of ground during one day. We saw three major Wats and a summer palace before going back downriver on a boat. There were 20 of us, we had a nice UN feel to our party with mixed nationalities keeping our party from being like a works outing. No one kept us all waiting by being late back to the coach, no one was sick, loud or demanding!

We started at Wat Chai Watthanaram. It was built by King Thong in 1630 to commemorate his victory over Cambodia. Keith climbed up to the top of the Chedi but the old lady running up to the steep steps left him standing!

Wat Phra Mahathat built in 1388 to house yet more remains of Buddha is perhaps best known for the Buddha face entwined by Bodhi tree roots.
Finally the grandest of all, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, constructed in 1448 to house the ashes of kings in rendered chedis. I think Keith still looks pretty fresh after a very hot morning tramping around amazing old sites. Although most look as though they were built of brick (presumably made on site from river clay) they would have been rendered and ornately clad, much like the Royal Palace today which is based on Ayutthaya.

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