traces of civilizations / head in a tree! – Ayutthaya, Thailand

architecture, Asia

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, also known as Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam. Taking the slow train from Bangkok, we pass Thai countryside at a mindboggling speed. Mindboggling because the train may have a maximum speed of a slug on sleeping pills. Somehow, we do arrive after 2 1/2h instead of the promised 1h and take a tuk-tuk to explore the temples. Tuk-tuks do a fixed price negotiated beforehand, not cheap, but the most convenient way for a day trip. Still, the THB800 compared to the THB20 for a train ticket from Bangkok are out of proportion. It’s a tourist place…The tuk-tuk drivers are quite friendly (compared to BK), communication is done via pictures. There are so many temples to see but we don’t want to overdo it and settle for four temples.

First stop, Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon. Buddha statues dressed up nicely and the fact that their heads are still attached is a unique feature of this lovely temple.

buddha statues and matching monks

Wat Maha That. Beautiful ruins of something grand. Statues with no head, lots of fractured statues and statue fragments. Also home to the most famous photo spot of the whole city: the buddha head in the tree. Historical park is nice to walk around in.

worn and torn

stone buddha

most famous photo from Ayutthaya – buddha head in an ancient tree

Our driver asks us if we want to ride elephants at Wat Chang and we kindly decline. Please, don’t ride the elephants and contribute to their misery. There are other things to do.

Next up, we pass the corn cob shaped Prang of Wat Phra Ram to visit Wat Phra Si Sanphet with its three giant Chedis and hundreds of small once.


pattern of chedi matching the patterned sky

chedis and ruins

Our last stop is Wat Chai Watthanaram. Beautiful and relatively undestroyed (see header picture) with big grounds and sheltered statues.

We are outwatted, outtempled and catch the train back. The ride back is about as slow as the ride before. We are getting hungry! Well, I am anyway. Time for some streetfood…

buddha in his cave

May 11th 2017

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