Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ayutthaya, Thailand

As our three weeks in Thailand are coming to a close, we take one last day trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, which was the capital of Thailand back in the 15th century.  

Mr. C has read up on the various ways to make this journey, and has decided that we will hire a guide service for the day, primarily because it includes transportation ~ up the Chao Phraya River by boat, and the return to the city by car.   We also like the idea that the trip will look differently going to than coming back from this historic site.

Once on the boat I discover, much to my dismay, and I am still dismayed to this day, that my camera has failed.  We try everything, including banging it on the table, but it will not come back to life.  I am nearly in tears, to think that we are going to such an ancient sacred sight, and I will not have photos to capture the time we spent there.

I am even more dismayed, and I am still dismayed to this day, that Mr. C does not have the back-up camera along.  What good is a back-up camera if it's not along for the journey, I wonder?   The day is saved, though, by his cell phone camera, so all is forgiven.  Well, almost.  

We first stop at the Bang Pa-in Palace, also known as the "Summer Palace".  It seems most countries have one of these for their royalty.  A place where it is cooler in summer,  where there are gardens and lakes to be enjoyed.  

 This is the obligatory Buddhist shrine, placed in a pavilion on the lake.   It is a required presence in every public place, private residence, and business, and varies in size and splendor accordingly.   This one looks pretty fancy, and you can see the spires that are so unique to the traditional Thai archetecture.  They are called "cho fa", which means "tassle of air", and are thought to have derived their shape from a fierce bird featured in Hindu mythology.  The Pavillion has a long Thai name which translates "divine seat of personal freedom", and you can see behind it the Phra Thinang Warophat Phiman, the "excellent and shining abode".

 The grounds are perfectly groomed, and are quite lovely

 This is their national flower.  It's name translates to 
"Shower Flower", which I though was appropriate

Interestingly enough, this particular Monarch had traveled to China, and was enthralled enough with Chinese architecture to come back home and re-create an entire Chinese mansion.

 Some really beautiful artifacts to be seen here.
And no, I am not touching the artifact!

 We wander the grounds a bit, and are approached by a group of elementary age school boys who want to know if they can "interview" us as a way to practice their English.  We have encountered this several times in Asian countries, sometimes they are college-age kids and actually offer to act as a free guide for whatever site or attraction you are visiting.  We were wary at first, but have since learned it is a common practice.   These kids were darling, asking where we were from, what places we were visiting while in Thailand, etc.

Next stop is Ayutthaya, where we receive a warm welcome.

It's hard to describe how massive these ruins are.  
There are acres and acres of land that you can roam at will ~ 
in fact, you can even rent a bicycle or ride an elephant 
if you want to give it full coverage.   
We do not have that kind of time, 
so we are just hitting the highlights today.

An added benefit to having a guide 
is that you have someone to take pictures for you.  
We certainly felt small in the scale of things.

There's Mr. C ~ always has to climb to the top.  
I followed close behind

There are fabulous ancient artifacts just lying about

With a caution to take care

Because the damaged constructions are nearly out of order

And sure enough, some of the ruins are crumbing

Which makes the remaining ones all the more treasured
Isn't it just so beautiful?!?

 This is one of the three remaining "Chedis", 
which houses the ashes of the king, 
along with the royal regalia and the
precious Buddha images of their time.

But alas, it's time to go, our guide and car await.

As we leave, we exit through a small market, where goods and foods are being sold.   

I get my first taste of a traditional Thai sweet made from spun coconut milk.  She poured it out onto a big flat round grill (Oh, I am still lamenting the loss of my camera!), and briefly cooked and then flipped it, finally rolling it up to be eaten by hand.  It's sort of like our spun cotton candy.   

We end the day by traversing about a few little shops back in Bangkok, I am looking specifically for a dinner bell.  We have one in our kitchen at home, but it does not belong to us.  The grandbabies, however, love to ring the bell before we eat, so I'm on a hunt to find one to bring back as a working souvenir.  

It takes a bit, but we are ultimately successful.  This lovely bell now resides in my kitchen, and we fondly think of our love for Thailand every time it calls us to the table.


  1. Love your Thailand story...The pictures are still good...I loved it all but especially the plant elephants oh and the spun coconut!!!

    1. Aren't the bonzi elephants somethin'? Pretty cute! And the spun coconut was really tasty, I won't lie. Every culture has it's sweet spot.....

  2. I think the photos are just great! I love that the two of you are in so many of them! So many beautiful structures and so much history there!

    1. There is something sacred about things so ancient, like Ayutthaya and the Colosseum, there's a feel to the grounds and the artifacts and the space they occupy. I particularly enjoy these kinds of ruins. It makes me anxious to see some of the others on our list, like Machu Picchu and the Pyramids.
      As far as the pictures go, on a normal day, I will usually shoot an average of 200-300 ~ but I'm just happy to have a few here. And it is nice, on those rare occasions that we have a guide, to have someone take pictures of the pair of us, otherwise we are dependent upon the kindness of strangers to do so.

  3. Plus love your bell story! What a great bell you found!

    1. Ahhhhh, and my beautiful dinner bell! We don't usually bring home souvenirs, it just doesn't fit our travel style to be lugging all that (junk) around a foreign country. But. Occasionally something will call our name. You know how much the grandbabies love to ring that dinner bell. So much so, in fact, that our little JC was a "bell-ringer" at our wedding! We first stumbled on a dinner bell at the night market in Chiang Mai, but we were short on pocket cash (Baht) that night, so we passed it up. From then on, though I was on a mission to find another! We love having this as a working souvenir, a reminder of our time in Thailand, and the perfect, lasting way to share that adventure with the little people in our lives.


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