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Published: December 15th 2007
Cheaper than the average Western Family Transport.
Ayutthaya started in 1350, by 1372 it had displace Sukothai and the most powerful Thai city. By 1440 it had become the most powerful city in south east asia after displace Ankor. capital of thailand for over 400 years until 1767 is located about 80kms north of Bangkok. It can be reached by road, boat or train. I chose the train. An air conditioned second class seat for 315baht taking 1.5 hours. As my guide book stated 2.5 hours I almost over shot my destination. While in transit a small bento style meal was served consisting of curried chicken, vegetables and steamed rice.
Outside of Bangkok the country was a big flood plan with water extending to the horizon on both sides. Avoiding the guantlett of tuk-tul drivers I walked to the river and took the ferry across which cost the princely sum of 3 baht.
Modern Ayutthaya located on the east side of the island is built on a square pattern, making navigation easy but lacks in character. Most buildings do not go over three stories and the ascetics in marred by the use of over head power lines. Like all asian towns it has the usual collection
The street wih is low rise buildings and overhead power wires is like many in Ayutthaya.
of street eateries ,treets clog with the ubiquitous step through motor cycles and some interesting forms of family transport. Depressing was the amount of rubbish lying around in the streets, gutters, footpaths and even in the water ways. It really needs a clean up day.
Not knowing where the guest houses were I followed another group of backpackers whose knowledge of course was vastly superior to my own. Well I suppose it was because they lead me to a guest house which cost 450baht/night for a private room with double bed and private shower. Have been a bit under the weather with a cold.
A new day and sites to see. How, walk - to slow, motor cycle, too expensive, so the bicycle, which can be hired at several locations for a few baht/day is the chosen transport. Most of the historical ruins are located on the eastern side of the island but they are somewhat intermeshed with the modern town.
Peddling away in a humid day I arrive at Wat Phra Samphet, built in 1491 for three 15th century kings. That is the one with the triple chedi which is on almost every poster of Aythuyya.
The old city of Aythayya located on the west side is a quiet relaxing place which the locals use as a local park
Being a royal chapel it had no monks.
Way back in 1424 a king, King Intharaachathirat died. He had three sons. Two of them feeling that they were worthy successors fought each other for the throne. As they each killed one another the winner was the third son, who didnt participate in the combat. As a thank you for their generosity he ordered Wat Ratchurana be built in the area where his brothers fought, died and were cremanted. Chedi were contructed to house their ashes. Inside the main Prang (Khmer style tower) is a two level crypt. Inside it were many budda images and tablets.
Located in the grounds of Wat Mahathat is a budda head tangled in the roots of a Bodhi tree. How it got there is a mystery. Building on the wat commenced in 1374 and was completed in 1396. During its period of use it was restored several times,, the last time being in 1758, just in time for the Burmese to destoy it in 1767. No further restorations were considered necessary.
After being delayed by some person who insisted that I should honour him by taking his
broken, burnt, mended, sitting amongst ruins but still serene.
photograph I arrived at Phra Chedi Sri Suriyothai. From the well manicured gardens in the grounds of her chedi it is obvious she is a much loved person in Thai history. In the period around 1550 when Burma was in one of its expansionist moods the Burmese king was on the warpath trying to avenge an earlier defeat. She was killed trying to protect the king.
Returning I noticed that much of the northern part of the city was flooding. People were busy building up levees and sandbagging in an attempt to kept the waters at bay.
Dilema, should I stay here and witness the Loy Krathong, or should I move on to its birthplace, Sukothai.
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