Ayutthaya, Thailand

What better way to end the long day I spent in Ayutthaya than being crooned by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman with "Time To Say Goodbye". Well, at least in my Ipod. The music lifted me up as I sat still, looking back across the river as we sail away, mystified by the experience of seeing the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

We're sailing aboard the "Grand Pearl Of Siam" on our way back to Bangkok via the Chao Praya river. It's a comfortable 3-hour journey aboard this yacht and our guide, Monsinee, promised that we will see more as we cruise southward on the river.Buffet lunch was served on board and while enjoying this Thai feast, I chatted with fellow travelers Karen from Germany who's finishing a month-long cycling trip around Thailand and Joseph from Cameroon who's visiting Bangkok for business.

This morning, the tour started with a stopover at Bang Pa-In Palace, a royal housing complex dating back to the 17th century. Its extensive well-manicured lawns are maintained by an army of garderners. While touring the Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun, a Chinese-inspired mansion with a huge buddha, I was struck by the presence of young Thai students who were trying to appreciate the significance of this structure. Obviously, the Thai government is actively inculcating in their young minds an understanding and love of their own heritage. And it shows! Everywhere, you see the national flag of Thailand proudly adorning schools, offices, homes and even mosques! The Thais talk reverently about their King and I haven't heard of anyone even talking about hardships .

Ayutthaya is a small city north of Bangkok but the infrastructure there is pretty much in place - paved roads, decent hotels, a hospital, schools, restaurants, etc. Upon entering the ancient sites, I began to feel the embrace of history as I gaze from one stupa to another.The stones may not speak for themselves but I felt the tremors of history that it would have otherwise said, most notably during the Burmese invasion in 1767 when much of the city was destroyed.

What better way to appreciate the ruins than riding on top of an elephant. I had one all to myself with a mahout guiding the huge animal as we slowly made our way around an area full of ancient stupas. It's hot at this time of the day but then, when I felt like being yanked in all directions on top of a pachyderm, heat is one of the least of my concerns. I'm more petrified of falling off it.

 After the elephant ride, Monsinee brought our group to another wat which she said is "a little Angkor Wat" due to the Khmer influence in its architecture. Indeed, the wat looked different from what we've earlier seen. Buddhist monks were around that time and I took the opportunity to snap photos of them with the impressive wat as the backdrop.

On the way to the yacht, Monsinee offered us traditional Thai cotton candy which is wrapped in a thin rice wafer. Surprisingly delicious! But like everything else in Thailand, you'll always end up surprised. Amazing Thailand, isn't it?


  1. thailand, no doubt is one of the best destination in Asia, and you your review made it even more interesting to see, i was given the chance to be here last 2004..

    kudos for the good works bro, you'll site should not be missed, too


  2. Thanks Josh. Although Thailand is seeing a lot of tourists, I still feel that the Philippines is as competitive in terms of attractions.


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