Wandering and Wondering in Ayutthaya

June 25, 2016 ASEAN Backpacking

Just an hour north of Bangkok lies one of the world’s greatest ruins and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayutthaya Historical Park. It served as the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam, showcasing an archaeological site rich with palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries, and statues. This historical gem is one of the three remnants of Siamese Cities, alongside Sukhothai and Lopburi.

As we arrived in Ayutthaya, the grounds were still damp, with the sun attempting to pierce through dark clouds. Although the lighting wasn't optimal for our photographs, we didn't mind. Our purpose was to wander and wonder.

It rained on our way to Ayutthaya, but it was okay. I find great comfort in sleeping to its rhythm. Rest was much-needed after a morning of temple-hopping in Bangkok City and a lively night on Khao San Road.

Once we purchased our tickets for 50 baht each, we set off in our own directions. While our common goal was temple-hopping, each of us had a unique approach to exploration.

During our visit, the site was relatively quiet, with few tourists and guards around. It felt like stumbling upon an ancient city, allowing my mind to vividly imagine its prime. The only beings competing for attention were the dogs, raccoons, and birds that had made the site their home.

We explored three significant sites: Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, Wang Luang, and Wat Phra Ram.

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, nestled within the grounds of the Royal Palace, stood out as the most crucial and sacred temple in Ayutthaya 

Its three magnificent stupas stand as iconic symbols, capturing the essence of this ancient city. 

These three stupas enshrine the remains of Ayutthaya's kings, while smaller chedis dot the surroundings, cradling the ashes of other royalty. Notably, the temple served as a prototype for Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaew and Royal Palace.

To the north lies the remnants of the Wang Luang of the Royal Palace, though little remains visible today—a poignant reminder of the impact of war

Adjacent to Wat Phra Sri Sanphet and Wang Luang, nestled in a swampy area, lies Wat Phra Ram.

Originally constructed in 1369 to commemorate the cremation of the first Ayutthaya king, the temple underwent restoration in the 15th century. We paid an additional 50 baht for entrance, and as we reached this site, the lighting improved, allowing us to capture better pictures.

We didn't have time to explore the other sites due to our scheduled departure via train to Chiang Mai. As soon as we boarded our van, a heavy rain shower began. We felt blessed to have experienced that brief journey back to Ayutthaya's grand past.

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