Crumbling in the heat

Trip Start Apr 21, 2012
Trip End May 06, 2012

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, April 26, 2012

We took the train to Ayutthaya first thing. At first glance Ayutthaya isn’t what we expected. The city was the capital until it was sacked by the Burmese and the power moved to Bangkok. It is famed for its ruined temples and palaces. Crossing the river – Ayutthaya is basically an island, surrounded on all sides by rivers – it seems busy and urban.

After checking into our hotel, with great views of the wat across the river – we hired bikes to explore the temples. The busy road outside the hotel was pretty nerve-wracking. We found our first couple of temples - Wats Ratburana and Phra Mahathat. We explored the fromer with its picturesque crumbling  stupa.

Headless Buddhas and roofless buildings litter the place – with only the odd tree providing shade. You can imagine how impressive it would have been. To get a better picture we rode to Wat Na Phra Manc, which just off the island it survived the attack pretty much unscathed.

By now the temperature was once again skirting 40C – hot hot hot – and the maps we had didn’t agree with each other or the actual road layout. When we found the wat we were blown away particularly by the smaller temple with its ancient Buddha, which we think the man was telling us was cast either in the time of or by Alexander the Great.

After a bit more cycling (and a bit more getting lost) we found our way into Wat Phra Si Samphet – famed for its three chedis – which even covered in scaffolding were impressive.

At this point the heat got the better of us – we were both very pink, possibly not the best temperature for cycling – and we retreated to our room and air conditioning.

We ended the evening with beers on the main tourist strip and some wonderful food from a street ‘restaurant’ – butterflied prawns with a very hot chilli, garlic, lemon and nam pla dipping sauce and chicken and cashew nuts – scrummy.

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