23/9 Ayutthaya


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September 27th 2016
Published: September 27th 2016
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Wat Rachaburana showing the prang that you can climb into to see the frescoes.
Just 250 years ago Ayutthaya was the biggest city in the world with a million inhabitants, it was a huge trading centre and any trading nation worth its salt would have had offices and interests there, the city was said to rival anything seen in Europe at the time. Then in 1767 the Burmese came and totally sacked the city leaving it in ruins and causing the capitol to be moved to Bangkok.

I didn't have the earliest of starts, still feeling the effects of the night flight, but still had all the afternoon to explore the temple ruins before catching the night train to Chiang mai at 19:45. First stop was Wat Rachaburana, built by an Ayutthayan king to house the ashes of his two elder brothers who had fought to the death in a duel to gain the succession to the throne. Admission for foreigners here is 50 baht. The temple is very ruined but the Prang is one of the best in Ayutthaya and a climb up and inside it reveals frescoes of kings, warriors, and previous Buddhas adorning the walls of a very tiny room.

Across the road is Wat Mahathat, this temple is in
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The frescoes inside the prang of Wat Rachaburana.
even more of a ruined state than Wat Rachaburana but is the home of the famous Buddha head in the tree roots, the story goes that a Buddha head fell on the ground and a tree grew up over time and carried the head up into its roots. It does look suspiciously like it has been put there while the tree was growing but however it got there in the roots it does make for quite a cool photo. Admission here is also 50 baht.

Wat Phra ram was the next temple visited, again it is 50 baht for admission. This temple also has a prang that you can climb up the steps and into but the frescoes are in very poor condition and no way near as good as those in Wat Rachaburana. Finally there was just enough time to visit Wat Phra si sanphet, this was said to be the grandest of all the temples in Ayutthaya but all that is really left now are three chedi that contain the ashes of three kings. Once again the admission here was 50 baht.

It was now time to pick up my backpack and start walking towards the
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Ruins of Wat Mahathat.
train station, stopping for food and a beer at pub street and taking the 5 baht ferry across the river. Before I knew it I was on the train and heading north, next stop Chiang Mai.


Additional photos below
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The tree root Buddha head of Wat Mahathat.
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The prang of Wat Phra ram, the frescoes are not worth the difficult climb up the crumbled steps.
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The three Chedi of Wat Phra si sanphet.
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Inside the night sleeper train to Chiang Mai.


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