Ayutthaya – a wonderful excursion from Bangkok

 

According to wikipedia, “[Ayutthaya] was capital of the Kingdom of Siam, and a prosperous international trading port, from 1350 until razed by the Burmese in 1767. The ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya Historical Park, an archaeological site that contains palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues.”

Buddha at Wat Maha That

We left the Aloft Hotel by private car to go to Ayutthaya for 1600baht.  It was the most expensive way to travel but we figured it would save on the hastle of taxis to/from the train station and the long ride by train.  It was a good decision as we ended up arriving in time to visit the local market.

Emma enjoys the solitude of the back seat in the private car

We arrived at Kamalar Palace (also called Place) around 15:00 hrs.  The property contains around 20 houses that are 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, a kitchenette (fridge and microwave), a dining room and a living room.  It was very spacious.  The owner, Narung, spent a fair amount of time telling us what was available to see and how we should go about it.  We were wary after all the scams in Bangkok but he turned out to be very genuine and also very generous both with his time and resources.

After we settled in we walked about the property and got to meet his prize birds – peacocks.  He has one male and two females and about 16 babies ranging from 2 to six months.  We met his daughter, Khan, who basically takes care of most things around the place.  She was busy feeding the peacocks when her father invited us to go to the market with her to pickup dinner.

We left in a pick-up truck, Colleen, Rob and Hannah with the driver (we’ll call him the Uncle as we never did get his name) and Khan as our guide.  It was a great excursion and the highlight of the trip.  The Uncle pointed out a Wat in the distance which looked really nice, next thing we know, we are driving to it to get some pictures.

Chai Wathanaram Temple
Chai Watthanaram Temple

Local Market

A visit to the local market proved to be very interesting.  It was a mix of Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu faiths all selling their own products.  Khan was an expert at weaving in and out of the various stalls with Colleen by her side getting a rapid account of what things cost.

Khan, in the white T-shirt, looks over the meat for dinner
Soups and Sauces for sale
Fried Chicken and other meats
Live eels for sale and one fish
Live Frogs (4 tied together in a bundle)
Lottery tickets for sale
Fresh fruit, vegetables and ginger root
Need something – they have everything
Khan bought Hannah a corn on the cob and she also bought us a drink (we think it is guava juice)
Vegetables for dinner with fresh herbs
Khan passed off everything she bought to the driver (we think he is her Uncle)
Looking for the best deals
Dinner for tonight

Flooding in Ayutthaya

2011 was the worst year in about 2 decades for flooding, but this year was proving to be a challenge.  The river boat cruises were shut down and many houses were flooded.  On the day we left the banks of the river were reinforced with mud and clay embankments.

The houses and restaurants on the far bank are flooded

Dinner for an Army

We agreed to have dinner at their restaurant which was part of the reason why we went to the market.  What we didn’t realize is that we would also help with making dinner.  Hannah was first up and made an awesome Pad Thai.

Hannah is put to work
Khan adds the spices while Hannah uses the mortar and pestle
Chicken wings and mango salad
Roast Beef with peppers and steamed potatoes – Thai style
Thai chicken galangal curry
The two cooks (Khan and Hannah)
Hannah stirring the Pad Thai
Narong slices Banana flower to go with the Pad Thai
The Pad Thai (Hannah/Khan style)
Desert – Sticky rice with mango, coconut in milk syrup, and pineapple with chili sugar
Nothing ends an evening like Karaoke!
Hannah has a solo although she preferred back-up to Khan
Ben has a turn at the mike

Wat Maha That

Known as the Temple of the Great Relics, it is located in the center of Ayutthaya. Apart from being the symbolic center where the Buddha’s relics were enshrined, Wat Mahathat was also the residence of the Supreme Patriarch or leader of the Thai Buddhist monks. The temple is believed to be built during the 14th century A.D. (the early Ayutthaya period).

One of the few intact Buddhas at the Wat
Most of the Buddha’s are in pieces
A sign to remind people to be respectful of the area
Although 40 degrees out we aren’t sweltering yet …
The head of a Buddha trapped in the roots of a Bohdi tree. This is probably the most famous image of Ayutthaya

 

The archway frames the Prang from the neighbouring temple
A smaller Prang at the back of the Temple
One Prang, Two Stupas, and 4 Foster’s
The site has workers onsite doing archeological work.

 

There is a majesty in this place
Hannah hams it up
We were flash mobbed by these Thai kids and their teachers who were on a ‘treasure hunt’ to find certain things, such as the ‘dab’ by a group of people!.
The kids try to pay attention as Dad gives another boring history lesson. Blah…blah…blah….it is hot….blah
Walking through the Park, Bueng Phra Ram.
A small Wat in the Park
A beautiful space
The flag of Thailand
A statue of a Dancer / Genie in the park. Dresses were at the base of the statue in case she needed a wardrobe change.
One of the many Prangs. Garuda is featured heavily.
The Reclining Buddha of Ayutthaya.  1km from our hotel I found him on a morning run.
We visited the Elephant park to watch these beautiful giants.

Our Second Dinner at Kamalar Palace

The first night was so much fun we couldn’t say no to the second night  This time dinner was a Thai hotpot.  We ate bacon, pork strips and soup with vegetables and noodles.  It was awesome!

Ben makes the Thai hotpot while Colleen supervises
Thai Fried Rice a la Ben
Narong helps Ben with the Fried Rice

The Train to Bangkok

Narong, the owner of the Kamalar Palace said he would drive us to the train station.  We left a bit early and he showed us parts of the town.  He then drove to a local restaurant and bought three grilled chicken and sticky rice for the train ride to Bangkok.  It was a very nice gesture that made us realize that Thai hospitality is second to none.

The train to Bangkok was a fun excursion and quite unique.

Waiting for the train to arrive
Not much longer for the train
Track 3 to Bangkok
Getting Ready to Board
Full house – Standing room only for some
Arrival in Bangkok
A busy hub
The mad dash to escape the crowds

 

 

Ayyuthaya was an amazing adventure for the whole family.  It was great to meet Narong and Khan and experience their hospitality at the Kamalar Palace.

2 Replies to “Ayutthaya – a wonderful excursion from Bangkok”

  1. The food! Yes to that! I will take the heat!. Cool adventure with Narung, Khan and the mysterious uncle. You have a knack for finding the right people to do business with. My hat is off to you. I look forward to your next blog. How is the trash? Is it a problem or much better than vietnam?

    I like the history parts as well. Blah Blah Blah! I like the pics….more please…

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