After being out in the country of Thailand I was excited to get to a city and tour some ancient Wat’s (temples) and night markets. We traveled from Khao Yai by private car to Ayutthaya, about a 3 hour car ride. (I love traveling like this, you get to see the countryside, and ride in comfort.)
Ayutthaya is the second capital of Siam, after Sukothai. From 1350-the mid 1700’s it was one of the most important and cosmopolitan cities in the world. In 1767 the Burmese army overtook the city and burnt it to the ground. We started our visit in the remains of the historical city where there are plenty of Wat’s and Buddha statues. In some spots signs of what was there before were left and it was really incredible. The workmanship of laying each brick, planning a city that can survive all it has and still take your breath away left me feeling very humbled.
A Wat was being refurbished and we were able to buy ceiling tiles to help the cause, then write a message and pick the placement of the tiles on the temple. As we wrote our messages we were both really moved to now be part of the history of Ayutthaya forever.
Ayutthaya was the first night market we visited and wow was I amazed. There was over a mile of people cooking any kind of meat and sweet you can imagine. As a vegetarian it was interesting, the first stall we saw was full of crickets and other bugs for people to eat.
There was a lot of grilled squid, maggots, whole fish and prawns and things that I have no idea what they were. Even as much as I hate to see and smell meat cooking it was still a sight to see. The noodle dishes, and curries in huge pots with people stirring and adding spices, herbs and noodles was really incredible.
J, being the meat lover he is, couldn’t get enough. He sampled things he was sure was chicken or shrimp, and loved every bit of it. Then we discovered clay pot dinners, a meat eaters delight. They bring a clay pot with liquid and a fire underneath to your table. Then they bring a huge plate of herbs and veggies and another plate of meat. As J continued to stare at it, in our western world ignorance, one of the staff came, dumped it all in the clay pot, said “Wait ten minute” and walked away. In ten minutes J removed the lid and thought he had gone to heaven.
While in Ayutthaya we also toured, Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, a great museum to check out the treasures left from the war and destruction. It was absolutely fascinating and I would highly recommend the museum if you are in Ayutthaya (it is also a nice respite from the heat). These Buddhas were ALL found in the arm of one of the great Buddhas in the historical park. That is how big the Buddhas around Ayutthaya are/were.
The people in Ayutthaya continue the kindness and generosity we are seeing throughout the country of Thailand. We were given a ride by a local archeologist, J was invited to dig with them the next day, and lovely locals who made sure I saw the one thing I couldn’t leave the city without seeing…(If you want to check it out it is located in Wat Mahathat, turn right as you enter the area and you will see it there.)
There were other very cool Wat’s and more ruins to see around the city, and on the other side of the river, that were off of the beaten path but definitely worth it. They were either part of the ancient history of the city, as monasteries or have been built as the city has grown into itself again after the Burmese war.
We also stayed in an amazing hotel in the middle of everything in Ayutthaya, right on the river with a gorgeous view of an historical Wat. If you go to Ayutthaya I would highly recommend the iudia hotel.
I was very impressed by the sites and the people in Ayutthaya. When in Thailand take a day or two journey to this ancient city. It is easy to get there from Bangkok, either by bus or private car. Getting around is easy in Ayutthaya. We walked most places or hired a Tuk-Tuk to take us around. One day we had a Tuk-Tuk stay with us for most of the day and drive us to the outlying sites, which he charged about 700 baht, a great deal.