The ruins of Ayutthaya

Before heading south to the Thai Gulf and enjoy the sun, sea and beach, we dive into the history of Thailand a bit deeper. After we have located the right bus in Kanchanaburi, we arrive in Ayutthaya five hours later. As the capital of Thailand from 1351 to 1767 the city developed into an important trading post and several kings built enormous temples and palaces. After the conquest of Ayutthaya by the Burmese the city was destroyed and abandoned, the uncountable Buddha statues decapitated as an easy prey for the jungle. Meanwhile, Ayutthaya caught a new vibe and lives happily along with its ruines and temples.

When we get off the bus, it’s the usual tout-stuff:

“Taxi sir?”
“No taxi.”
“Sir, where are you going?”
“We are going home.”
“Tuk-tuk? Hellóó sir?”
“No tuk-tuk.”
“Sir, you reading this book? You believe this book?” We are carrying The rough guide to Thailand.
“Nooo taxi, nooo tuk-tuk, nooo hotel.”

We have tuned our guesthouse tactics a bit over the past few weeks, meanings that one of us, without a backpack and fresh look, enters a guesthouse and tries to arrange a good room while the other one is waiting outside with the backpacks. It’s easier to negotiate and we quickly find a room close to the Ayutthaya highlights. That same afternoon we visit one of the largest temples of the city, Wat Phra Mahathat.

Next two days we visit one after another temple and temple ruin: Wat Na Phra Mane, Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, we have a lot of trouble keeping the temples apart by their names and the mythical stories to every temple add to  the confusion. But we like it, a lot! To visit  some temples outside of the city centre we rent two bicycles and before reaching the first temple we have the first flat tire. The last temple on our list is also one of the most impressive examples. The 50 meter high Wat Phu Khao Thong is a half-hour bike ride from the city in the open grassland. The mighty structure provides a beautiful view of the surroundings of Ayutthaya.

In recent days we have decided that we will spend the rest of our stay in Thailand on the small picturesque island of Koh Tao. At the railway station we arrange the train tickets for the night train from Bangkok to Chumphon, from where we will then set sail to Koh Tao with the night ferry. We drive back to Bangkok with the palm trees and coral reefs in our minds.