63. Ayutthaya, Thailand

Great news! On our trip to Thailand, I FINALLY started using a DSLR, and I took way more–and better–photos than I usually take with the old iPhone. The problem is, they’re all on an SD card with my dad in Illinois right now, and I’m not sure they’re ever going to see the light of day. Sorry :[ iPhone it is.

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Overview:
Ayutthaya (“eye-you-tea-uh”–that one was a mystery until we arrived), founded in 1350, was the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai (which we also wanted to visit but couldn’t get to). It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century, according to UNESCO, but you can still visit remains of its beautiful reliquary towers and monasteries.

How I got there:
Nikki and I flew to Bangkok via Tokyo on United and LAN. We arrived late at night, and the next morning we took a day trip organized by the incredibly polite Mr. Chob, whose info you can find at the Thai Private Tour Guide page. Mr. Chob was busy that day, but Mrs. Thim Thim and a driver picked us up the next morning for a full-day tour. They were incredibly accommodating, taking us wherever we wanted to go and even picking up our bags and dropping them at the airport when we were running late to check in for our flight to Chiang Mai. (They also brought us presents and bought us coffee, fruit and coconut ice cream along the way.)

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Where I stayed:
Since we weren’t going into Bangkok itself–and we were heading to Chiang Mai after less than 24 hours–we stayed at the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, which was perfectly nice for our purposes and had a solid free breakfast buffet. We stayed there again a week later the night before we flew home, too.

What I did:
We started the day at the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, which was used as a summer dwelling by the Siamese royalty.

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(There, we quickly learned that you need to have your shoulders and knees covered to enter many of Thailand’s sites, and shoes need to be removed before entering temples. We also encountered an Asian Water Monitor just strolling around; apparently if you see 7 of them, it’s good luck, but we only saw 5 or so. I think that was enough.)

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After that, we took a longtail speedboat around Ayutthaya, which was a great way to see the ruins (see above)–but also to see what local life looked like, too.

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From there, we stopped at Wat Mahathat–the Temple of the Great Relics, which were great indeed.

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Legend has it that thieves were attempting to steal this Buddha but couldn’t get it over the wall. The tree roots grew around it.

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After lunch, we hit some more ruins, stopping at Wat Phra Si Sanphet–the old royal palace and temple. These were absolutely stunning.

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Where I ate:
Absolutely no idea. Local restaurant. I had fried rice, so that’s not going to narrow it down.

What I missed:
I would have liked to spend more time exploring the ruins, but traffic was an unknown and we had a flight to catch.


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