Ayutthaya, A City of Past Splendor
If you love seeing architecture from hundreds of years ago an easy trip from #Bangkok is the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of #Ayutthaya Historical Park. It is 2.5 hour drive from #Pattaya, and an hour from the center of Bangkok. It was founded in 1350 A.D. and became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. According to UNESCO foundation, From the 14th – 18th century it “grew to be one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a center for global diplomacy and commerce.” Check out the UNESCO website for more detailed history, as it is fascinating! If you don’t have time to do some research before your visit, they have a historical center on site before entering.
Seeing as we only live 2.5 hours from the site, we knew it was one of those locations we needed to see while living in Thailand. If you’re looking for the top 10 list of things to see while in Ayutthaya, I’ll have you check out this website or this website
Before entering the historical park there is a visitor center where you purchase your tickets, and they provide a map of the area. Before we visited, we researched and chose the top few ruins we wanted to see in the time we had, and made a route to touch on as many of those as possible. It was a hot, hot day… so we drove from site to site. Some people walked between them, or rode bikes, but we chose to stay with our airconditioned van. As a rule, ancient ruins are not stroller friendly, so our ergo baby carriers were very useful.
It was not a very busy day, and you could wander around the ruins for as long as you’d like. There isn’t a ton of shade, so be prepared with hats, umbrellas or hand-held fans to keep as cool as possible. The ruins were really fascinating. Besides the fact that we were walking through structures that are nearly 700 years old, many of the reliquary towers, monasteries and statues were still standing. We could see that they are all made from burnt bricks and appear to be nearly solid constructions so they remain stable for centuries. The structures that have fallen have mostly been due to the ground settling and shifting below them.
The buildings used to have plaster covering the bricks and much of that has been washed away by the rain. However, there are a few that still have significant portions of the plaster remaining which can help you imagine how the whole complex used to look. It seems like each king was on a mission to out-do their predecessor in building projects and so the complexes kept getting bigger and more grand with each generation. The parts that didn’t survive where the massive wooden roof structures. All that’s left of those great halls are the pillars, some walls, and the floor. With a little imagination you can quickly grasp how impressive this city was at its peak. Many of the detailed decorations have been eroded over time or carried off but one unique piece is the stone head of a Buddha statue that fell and was wrapped up and protected in the roots of a tree. The whole place was fascinating, and we love learning more about this country that we call home for now.
There are street vendors near the entrances of the different ruins to purchase drinks, ice cream and street food. And a few public toilets that cost about 10 baht (if I remember correctly) to use. Whenever we travel we pack lots of snacks for the kids just in case! Overall, we would encourage everyone to visit if you have time, just to grasp the history of this amazing country.