Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Pos 307: Ayutthaya .... the final part

Please excuse the photographs, but I’ve discovered that the cheap 'Kodak Easyshare' camera that I bought back in Irkutsk after being mugged by kids, reacts quite badly to monsoon rains. I’ve also discovered that unless the Chao Phraya River has suddenly started flowing uphill, then the River in front of the Ayutthaya Riverside Hotel is actually the Pasak River …. mai pen rai

You might be getting bored with ancient relics and ruins, so I’ll try and make this one the last. Wat Phra Si Sanphet is located on the island of Ayutthaya and of all the ancient sites, this is probably my favourite. The whole site appears to be unrestored and you reach it through one of the crappiest car parks that you’re ever likely to see. I don’t know why it‘s my favourite site, it just is. It’s probably the kind of place where you’d take Lara Croft on a first date, but probably not a second.

The name 'Wat' refers to Temple or Monastery and 'Phra Si Sanphet' is the name of the 16 metre tall golden image of Buddha that once stood in the main hall. In 1767, the invading Burmese found the temptation of so much gold too good to ignore. They melted down the statue, took away the gold and left the site in ruins. The original bronze core of the statue is now on display somewhere in Bangkok but I can‘t say that I‘d ever take the time to look for it …. mai pen rai

The three tall 'Chedi' that stand in line along the centre of the site are actually tombs for the ashes of three former King’s. They dominate the site and are probably the main attraction, but everywhere that you look you'll find something of mysterious interest. Thankfully there are information signs around the site, in both Thai and English. They explain a little about it’s history, but it is only a little. Wat Phra Si Sanphet was formerly part of the Grand Palace, the home of the King and his entourage, but bares absolutely no resemblance to the Grand Palace in Bangkok. There are very few remaining Buddha images on this site and those that are here have been destroyed almost beyond recognition. I can only assume that when the invading Burmese army reached this particular part of the city, they must have been really pissed about something ….. mai pen rai

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