Posted by: James Shannon | December 8, 2010

Nothing Says Christmas Like 700 Year Old Siamese Ruins: An Exploration of Auytthaya

Technical difficulties cast aside from the past post, it is time to move on to another photo essay.  After leaving Koh Chang, I re-charged for a few days in Bangkok, giving me time to get over a case of heat rash I picked up outside of the realm of air-conditioners (I have very sensitive skin, who knew?)

Following this, it was time to head north to the eventual destination of Pai, where a great friend of mine Katie is spending the winter (she has for seven years now) … but I intend to enjoy the journey, rather than aggressively seek the destination.

Henceforth, the first stop on my journey north, was Auytthaya, home of the capital of Thailand for 400 years, until 1767.

The photos below cover both destinations, enjoy!

The giant Christmas tree at Central World Mall in Bangkok … it was comforting to see a confirmation of the season upon us, despite the 30c heat, and to see this complex in such good condition, considering that half of it was burnt to the ground in the political turmoil that befell the capital this past Spring…

… yet, you got an equal confirmation, that you are indeed in SE Asia … penguins with reindeer antlers at Christmas?  Seriously?

Bangkok skyline at Silom Road and Lumphini Park … one of the things I love love LOVE about BKK is its largess and modernity, even with its abundant historical neighbourhoods!

Lumphini Park is Bangkok’s Central Park, but with alot less space than the one in NYC …

… but the presence of greenspace in a concrete jungle like BKK is like a breath of fresh air after surfacing from an SCUBA-less dive!

 

ONWARD TO AUYTTHAYA

After those three relaxing days in the city (I’m a bit of an urbanite despite my love for the outdoors, cut me a break fellow travel bloggers!), I hopped a northbound train bound for the previous capital of Thailand, Auytthaya.  I pre-booked at a place called the Ban Bua 2 Guesthouse, and I was blown away with what I got, especially for so little money…

The front of Ban Bua 2 …

… the view of the Chao Phraya River from the  guesthouse deck …

… the aftermentioned deck alongside the river … this was a seriously sweet place to stay!

My room at Ban Bua … great decor, was air-conditioned 🙂 … but seriously starting to love tiled floors, you find them everywhere in accommodations in this country!

After settling down for a couple hours, I ambled over to some ruins across the street in a city park (funny how that’s normal in this part of the world … sick)

An ancient Auytthayan spire reflected in the waters of a khlong (canal)

This structure may seem massive, but there’s scores of ruins like this all throughout town, and many are much more massive than the one pictured … what sorts of functions, religious ceremonies, celebrations went on here over the years?  The mind reels …

The next day was to be my formal tour day of the city … alas the owners of Ban Bua that could speak English well enough weren’t around, so the one that couldn’t speak any English couldn’t call my tuk tuk driver to ferry me around Auytthaya.

Instead, I walked around as far as I comfortably could in the tropical heat …

Shortly after I started walking, I encountered another animal I have longed to see since arrival in SE Asia … a frickin’ Elephant!  🙂

 

This ruin was the first big one I encountered in my stay … wandered around for good half hour, touching bricks, wondering about the Burmese sack ‘n burn operation that reduced this place to rubble 243 years ago…

The whole time I was in Auytthaya, I ate at this resturant called Focus, just up the street from the Ban Bua Guesthouse … they crank the best food for the most reasonable prices; I paid 50 baht ($1.65 CDN) for this dish of chicken-fried rice … much better than the crap you get at the malls back home … go here if you come to Auytthaya!

On my last day in Auytthaya, I got my tuk-tuk driver Donas to take me around the city to see the most famous landmarks …

… and we start with a by-request photo; me in a pic in front of famous stuff … this is a temple complex on the other side of the Chao Phraya River … hope you enjoy it, my far-away family! 🙂

Next stop was the Reclining Buddha … this isn’t a bad picture, Buddha is so big, I couldn’t fit him in the viewfinder without going hundreds of feet away!

I feel embarrassed that I forget the specific names of these places, but here’s a really tall white temple (with an active place of worship at the top)

At the top, I ran into these Thai teenagers, who were as pleased as punch to meet a farang; they shook my hand, took my picture, and couldn’t stop smiling during the brief time we were in each other’s company!

This. Is. Thailand.

By the time I got to the last temple, I was templed out, but this photo summed up Auytthaya … all about the Buddha!

Right now I’m in the oldest of the Thai capitals, Sukothai. Tomorrow, we rent motorbikes and check out a refreshing waterfall, a welcome change from slogging around ancient ruins in the sweltering tropical heat!

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Responses

  1. Wow I love the look of your guesthouse, and what beautiful scenery from the deck. It is truly a beautiful place. I absolutely love the big Christmas tree at the mall. The ruins look like… well ruins. It’s nice to say you saw them, but the heat does wear you down. It was like that in Mexico. A motorbike ride and waterfalls are just what you need. I have to go to bed now. working tomorrow.

    • Yeah, they do tend to look the same after a while … taking a break from temples/ruins for a while, exploring more of Thailand’s natural heritage right now (waterfalls, jungle, mountains)!

  2. I especially liked the picture of the golden rooster!

    • It was of those wtf moments for sure, heheh!


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