Our trip to Ayutthaya on January 16 was packed with palaces and pagodas. We were told that Ayutthaya served as the capital of Siam beginning in the 15th century and continuing until the Burmese invaded in the 18th century.
The first stop on the way to Ayutthaya was at the old royal summer residence. It features buildings in the Thai style, as well as those showing Chinese and Swiss influences.
Not only are the buildings and grounds impressive, there are a number of examples of beautiful wood carvings like these.
After touring the royal summer residence, we took a long-tail boat to Ayutthaya. We again were captivated by sites along the waterways. Tugboats pulling strings of barges, other long-tail boats and smaller personal craft shared the canal with us.
And houses large and small lined the banks.
Overhead we saw flocks of Asian Openbill Storks. Common in the area, these are huge wading birds with dramatic white and black plumage. We saw them in the rice fields as well.
Arriving in Ayutthaya, we visited three Buddhist temples. The first was Wat Phanachoeng, with this magnificent golden Buddha.
The second, Wat Yai Chai Mongkul, has a large outdoor reclining Buddha and the central tower is completely surrounded by a host of others. We were told that the number of Buddha statues helps to make the lines shorter for those wishing to pray and make donations.
Our last stop in Ayutthaya was at the Wat Mahathat ruins, located in the heart of the city. Built in the 1300s, many of the structures are crumbling.
However, we saw one of the site's most famous features, a Buddha sculpture that has been almost completely swallowed by a banyan tree. I don't know if there is a complete sculpture under there, or only the head. The literature on site didn't say.
After a morning full of temples and pagodas, John took a short nap in the van en route to where we boarded a cruise ship back to Bangkok.
We enjoyed the trip back to Bangkok, especially the views of the bridge from the deck of the boat.
But upon our return to our hotel, we could no longer resist temptation and opted for a dinner of hamburger and french fries.....our first since leaving Texas!