Sunday, March 04, 2007


After our stay in Bangkok we started travelling north by bus. About an hour north of Bangkok we reached the old Thailand capital of Ayutthaya (pronounced Uh-you-ta-ya). This city was the capital from about 1350-1750. In 1550 it was captured by the Burmese and essentially looted but eventually recaptured by the Thai. Then again in 1750 the Burmese came back, took the city, and burned it down. After this attack the Thai decided to move their capital to a safer location and went to Bangkok.

Ayutthaya was my favorite stop on our trip. We visited the ruins of two old temples and the old palace. The ruins were awesome. We reached the first temple ruins at 8:00 am on a beautiful sunny morning and were the only people there to make for an amazing experience. The architecture was very interesting and the temple as a whole was very well preserved considering it was 450 years old and had been burned down and looted. The main reason it holds up so well is that the Thai put a lot of effort into making it strong and secure. The bricks used to build it were baked twice; one time to make them hard and the other to add glaze which protects them from the weather.
Another reason I loved the first temple was because we were allowed to climb up any of the staircases. You'd never be able climb on any old monuments in a western country both for safety and preservation reasons.
Click here for a short video on the first temple.

After that we went to a second temple that was built in 1592 after victory over the Burmese.
We then visited the ruins of the ancient palace. This was a huge area that used to be home to hundreds of buildings and pagodas and temples. It is still very impressive.
After leaving Ayutthaya we continued north and passed through "monkey city." This was a city that was abandoned at one point hundreds of years ago. When it was abandoned it became home to a large group of monkeys. Later, people began living there again but it was considered bad luck to kill or disturb any of the monkeys so to this day about 2,000 monkeys live freely in the center of the city. They try to keep them in one place by feeding them in the central park area but if a monkey decides your house is better, there's not much you can do.


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