|Took a shared mini-van from Bangkok to Ayuthaya and arrived around 10am. Found a room and rented a bike. I don't know why/how I think I can ride around one gear bike in foreign country when I don't even do that in American parks. More interestingly, I don't know how I end up managing riding around town. Anywho, it was a very hot day and I am glad I rented a bike. After all, other people can just go around me :-)
Pictures are worth thousand words for this Ayuthaya historical park journal entry.
From what I gather, Ayuthaya used to be a powerful and wealthy country before today's Thailand. And this city, Ayuthaya, was the capital of that country. This was one of the major trade route and this city/country thrived. But with lots of rivalries between royal families and political upheavals with royal/throne succession, leadership weakened. (The king had the absolute power and was the God.) Finally, the country collapsed with invasion of Burmese army. It was this Burmese invasion that burned and ruined Ayuthaya and today's Ayuthaya is only small remnants of what used to be a powerful country.
At first, the ruins doesn't seem like much. It's hot and humid and all I see is broken bricks and dirt. But as I walk around and pay semi-attention to audio-guide, I can see the mysterious beauty in these ruins. The flower scented air and butterflies add the charm to this once mighty city ruins.
I had booked an evening boat tour. This is about two hour boat tour visiting 3 temples around and off the island. The cool river air in the long tail boat itself was quite a treat not to mention sightseeing around the river front neighborhoods. The first two temples were working temples. They were great, but they didn't leave much of an impression. (It hasn't even been a week, but there are so many temples and they are starting to look all the same to me.) The third one, however, took my breath away. Wat Chai Wattanaram had the GRAND look with tall pillars and large Buddhas up high. It had the mysterious look with surrounding greens. (Just 40 years ago, this temple was immersed in thick jungle.) The sunset behind added another layer of charm - the auburn hazy light almost made this ruin glow in my eyes. Too bad I'm here with a group in a boat tour. The boatman is only allowing 30 min for this site. I guess he sees this everyday...