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We didn’t know what to expect of this city as we hadn’t heard much about it before but it was the Ancient capital of Thailand and we are glad we visited even if it was for only two days. We arrived at the train station from Bangkok around midday and the tuk tuk driver didn’t know where the guesthouse we wanted to stay at was so he drove around and around for quite some time, asking other guesthouses for directions and availability. Finally he brought us to Ayutthaya Guesthouse, also a coffee shop, where we agreed to dorms. We rented their scooter and ate lunch at different stalls at the local festival market. We were lucky to have visited during the week of their annual festival so there were day and night markets, performances and a brilliant ‘The History of Thailand’ show.
After lunch we drove around and visited various temples. Wat Mongkhon Bophit is an active temple with a 17 metre high bronze buddha and is located adjacent to Wat Phra Si Sanphet. We drove further out to Wat Chaiwatthanaram and we had been advised to visit at sunset. This was our favourite temple as it was lit up beautifully at night.
That night we walked around the night market which sold anything from hair clips to cars.
On our second day we walked around the Cock Fighting Festival and watched a few cock fights which were not as aggressive as I expected them to be. Their claws were wrapped to prevent major damage and they did not fight till death. Whether these were practice fights or real fights is unknown. Prize winning cocks were displayed and roosters could be bought and sold (with or without the use of a catalogue!).
Following this we visited the Elephant Palace where elephants could be fed, ridden and taken photos with (the elephant poses). The public were charged for these but finally there was somewhere where you didn’t have to pay just to see elephants and take photos next to them.
Next on the agenda was Wat Lokayasutharam, a reclining buddha 37 metres long and 8 metres high. It was quite impressive as it lay in the middle of a field and was the biggest we had seen.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon which was enclosed by walls of endless Buddhas was also one of our favourites. Having no idea how many Buddhas surrounded the temple, they were all beautifully lined. During our visit a lady asked for a photo with me which made me feel a bit like a celebrity hehe.
About 15 minutes outside the city walls was the Floating Market, which even though was a nice scenic walk around shops and restaurants it was disappointing as we expected to find women on boats selling fruit and vegetables and we only saw one with a few more attached to land. It was amusing seeing young girls bottle feeding sheep and even fish! There was also an elephant stable here with elephants dressed in garments for riding and feeding.
The last temple we visited was Wat Mahathat where the buddha face within the tree roots was located.
That evening we caught the 7pm showing of ‘The History of Thailand’ performance which was set up in front of the well lit Wat Mahathat temple. It was one the most impressive shows we have seen to date due to it’s vast cast (including elephants and horses), continuous firework and light display and natural setting; using the temple grounds for a stage and the river running by it.
The next morning we made an early start, catching a 7am minivan to Kanchanburi.