Home > Thailand > Ayutthaya – Back from the floods.

Ayutthaya – Back from the floods.

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

In our search for more of the original Siamese culture we headed for Ayuthhaya – the ruined capital city offers a chance to wander the ancient ruins amongst the verdant grass lawns and strikingly beautiful lily ponds. Well that was what the guide book said.




waiting at the station then our first views of the city.


What the book obviously could not predict was that only 3 months ago the place was under water in the worst floods in the region in 100 years. The evidence is everywhere, in the tide marks on the trees and buildings, but also in the mud and rubbish that now covers the previous lawns, giving the whole place a slightly dull and dusty, grubby feel; the lily ponds now little more than muddy watering holes. The scraggy dogs that have appeared with the rubbish don’t help the ambiance much either.

the famous buddha's head in the tree trunk and other parts of the city

getting friendly with the elephants

Elephants are really nosey - probably because they are bored. - This car had a small child for the elephant to eat.

"hello tasty little child"

But that aside, there is no doubt of the quality of the remains, Thai, Khymer and Sri Lankan influences everywhere good enough that the whole old city is a UNESCO Heritage protected area. Understanding it is hard though, the tourist guides are missing and one is left looking around in bewilderment. Luckily for us all, they do have a famous elephant sanctuary nearby, and in the old city itself, there are elephant rides through the ruins. Another bonus is that there are no entry fees (although in typical Thai style opportunism, locals have made badges and stand near the entrance trying to sell you tickets – most tourists do end up buying these convincing tickets!)

We stayed in one of the nicer guesthouses in town (run by a Thai and Swiss couple – we suspect she added the decor and ambiance and he provided the order – the information leaflet had a list of all the main sights with travel times by foot, by bike and by taxi – scary!).

playing spot the odd buddha out

theo's cake for getting trodden on and surely the biggest buddha ever.

With 4 nights accommodtion came a free boat ride, apart from being long and visiting some pretty interesting temples, the main highlight was watching the very overweight couple stagger onto the front of the boat (they were always last on) to the extent that the boat was nose diving into the river, the driver would have to slow right down, the bilge pumps would fail and the boat would start to sink. The thai lady driver would then furiously gesture for everyone to shuffle back to balance the boat, the pumps would kick in and we would continue. This happened every time we got off to see a temple, again and again they got on last, sat at the front, to the point where most of the boat was choking back the laughter every time we set off and the boat started sinking. In the end people started sitting back behind the engine to pre-empt the impending lurch to bow. Given the lack of life jackets, this was all really funny, but in a slightly nervous kind of way.

My only other memories of Ayuthhaya were of the night market, which was set up every day, really busy and had a lovely selection of food stalls; and my 24 hour incarceration following the dodgy pork.

the night market and russian roulette of dinner options - as you can see - family fully engaged!



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