Founded around 1350, Ayutthaya became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. Throughout the centuries, the ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago made Ayutthaya the trading capital of Asia and even the world. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. Many international merchants set sail for Ayutthaya, from diverse regions as the Arab world, China, India, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands and France. Merchants from Europe proclaimed Ayutthaya as the finest city they had ever seen. Dutch and French maps of the city show grandeur with gold-laden palaces, large ceremonies and a huge float of trading vessels from all over the world. All this came to a quick end when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city down to the ground.
Today, only a few remains might give a glimpse of the impressive city they must have seen. Its remains are characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and big monasteries. Most of the remains are temples and palaces, as those were the only buildings made of stone at that time. Its proximity to Bangkok make it a popular day-trip destination for travelers from Bangkok.
On our Second day Yupadee and my Dad surprised us with a day trip to Ayutthaya. A mini van and drivers picked us up from the house and provided door to door service for us to all the major sites and some of the lesser known sites. I had read in “Lonely Planet” that it is recommended that you rent bicycles and ride to each site. I only recommend that if you have a desire for heat stroke. And the only people we saw doing it were obviously readers of “Lonely Planet”. Our drivers decided the order of our stops, they were not tour guides but the drivers of a high ranking government official family member. So this did make for a long day as they saved the top sites for the end of the day, when we were tired and the sun was at it’s hottest.
I did ask them to stop so that I could use the restroom. So as a treat they took me to a temple that touts that it has the countries cleanest bathroom award. We had to remove our shoes to use it. This bathroom was located at the oddest temple, it was like a 1980’s amusement feature. Filled with strange life sized action figures and creepy giant realistic monk statues. The best part was the tiny floating market in the back. Where a young Thai girl shared her fish food and asked to take a picture with Skyler. It was so awkwardly cute for him.
Some of the sites were stunning. If you could imagine yourself transported back in time when everything was covered in Gold. I must have angered the banyan tree Buddha. As I was taking a picture of the kids in front of it a giant wasp or bee came out of nowhere and stung the back of my arm. I thought I had been shot! My arm is completely red, swollen, and burning.
We had a great day with my Dad And Yupadee. It was fun and one my kids will remember for the rest of their lives.