Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ayutthaya City Tour

BANGKOK! This is what everyone been going and talking about and finally, It's my turn to visit and experience myself with the family two weeks ago. What you have in mind when it comes to Bangkok? Shopping, food, market, entertainment? Definitely shopping rite, then only comes food, haha! This time round, it's mostly visiting for me and my family. So we decided to go a little out away from Bangkok.

After staying there for five days, the most frustrating thing is the traffic. I thought here KL itself is terrible enough, but I didn't know there was even worse. You could stuck at the same spot, not moving for almost one hour and a half. One more thing I realized was there were no speed limit set like we do. Like the driver who drove us to Ayutthaya City, it's like sitting in a F1 car.

We did a little research and we managed to find a local tour, Mama Travel & Tour. We did a booking on their Ayutthaya City one day tour and Bang Pa in Palace package for 700 Baht per person including transport, entrance fee, lunch and also a tour guide. It's worth the money and it was fun. 

Ayutthaya City one day tour and Bang Pa in Summer Palace.
Basically Ayutthaya City is the old Thai capital located at the north of Bang Pa-In. It was listed as the Unesco World Heritage Site containing the ruins of buildings destroyed in 1767 by the invading Burmese army. It was founded in 1350 by King U Thong, who went there to escape smallpox outbreak in Lop Buri and proclaimed it the capital of his kingdom, often referred to as the Ayutthaya kingdom or Siam. In 1767, the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of the kingdom. However it was refounded a few kilometers to the east and it is sometimes called "Venice of the East".
[Source: Wikipedia]

The trip from Bangkok took us around an hour plus to reach. Once in Ayutthaya, the first stop of our expedition is Wat Phu Khao Thong (Monastery of the Golden Mount). Surrounding the Wat was just ordinary urban area.

View towards the south-east from Phu Khao Thong
Chedi Rai on the premises

View of the monastery from Phu Khao Thong
Ubosot or ordination hall. Inside the ordination hall, you'll find the usual Buddha statues. There is also a Buddha footprint and in a small cave underneath which is accessible through the front legs of a tiger, you'll find a statue of a rishi (hermit).

Next pit stop would be the Wat Lokaya Sutha (Reclining Buddha- 37m long and 8m high) which is located directly west of the Royal Palace. It is a part of a park that includes three restored ruins including Wat Worachet and the original Wat Worapo. The monastery itself has been heavily restored, including floor tiles and brick floors throughout. Most of the temple exists inly at he basic foundation level. This inclues some stubs of pillars and basic walls.

The reclining Buddha image is usually wrapped in brightly colored orange cloth. However when the time I got there, it was not.

You can see all the Buddha's toes are of equal length.
The main prang, which is located right behing the reclining Buddha

You can see there's a hollow entrance on its eastern side.
The remains

Last but not least, family portrait :)
Follow on, we arrived at Wat Phra Mahathat. One of the highlight, the decapitated head of Buddha head cradled by the roots of a Bodhi tree. One of the sad things is that most of its sites were detroyed by the burmese, so not much is left. You can see that most of the Buddha statue in this site for example, are headless and armless. Buildings are wrecked and they are now still undergoing reconstuction. 

Some part of it are cemented.

Headless and armless

Big fat belly, heh

Me mum!


Moving on....are you guys still with me? I know there's a lot of pictures, it's just too much to share. So, we've come to the gigantic wonder of Wat Phra Si San Phet. It was once the largest temple in Ayutthaya and was known for its line of three 'Chedu' (Stupas) in a row. In the compound there is a 16m high buddha that used to be covered in 250kg of gold, but that was removed and melted down by the Burmese forces.

Amazing ruins

As you walk towards the south of Wat Phra Si San Phet, you can see a chapel called Viaharn Phra Mongkol Bopit. Inside sits a huge Buddha image casted with bronze named Phra Mongkol Bopit. It was orinigally enshrined outside the Grand Palace to the east, previously sitting at Wat Chichiang intended to stand in the open air. It was later relocated to the present position and covered with a Mondop building. During teh second fall of Ayutthaya, the building and the image were seriously damaged by fire. The building currently seen was refurbished but does not have as striking craftmanship as the earlier ones. So sad right?

While next to the temple is a small market where you can buy some local craft and souvenir. So if you want to get some souvenirs for your friends or love ones, you can get some from there. The admission fee to the Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit is 50 baht/ person.

To tell you the truth, I can't even remember a single name of all these temples mentioned by the tour guide. The moment you heard it, you'll feel that it's almost all the same, the pronunciation are almost similar to each other. Together with their Thai slang, it's even merry go round, haha!

Just a gentle reminder, if you were to visit this places, be sure to equip yourself with plenty plenty of water, it's really really hot out there, and also mosquito repellent, sunnies, cap, a scarf to cover up yourself from the sun. If you can wear long sleeves, haha!

I guess it's a wrap for now, too much information. I'll continue with Bang Pa-in Summer Palace in the next post.
Till then, see ya!


Hilda Milda™ said...

The reclining Buddha is super huge! :O

Elin Mong said...

I like the buildings, very antique and unique :)

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