There was one slightly silly reason why I wanted to go to Ayutthaya – Wat Mahathat’s root-covered Buddha head. The picture of it was hanging on my wall when I was at uni and I never thought I would get to see the real thing. The head is probably the most common reason why people come to visit Ayutthaya, however Thailand’s former capital has much more to offer.
Ayutthaya was thought to be the largest city in the world and a huge trading hub, but in 1767 the Burmese army invaded Ayutthaya and completely destroyed the city, including temples and Buddha statues. The city was abandoned till the 20th century and when Thai Government decided to restore and protect the city. Ayutthaya is now one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand.
The city is only a short (~1.5hr) train ride away from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station, so it is quite conveniently located if you just want to do a day trip. We were heading up north and had a bit of time, so decided to stop in Ayutthaya for couple of nights.
It was nice to get away from busy Bangkok and I really enjoyed the first impressions of Ayutthaya – loads of beautiful temples, ruins, lakes with huge water monitor lizards chilling around and relaxed atmosphere. There was also a huge market (not sure if it’s always there) with so much choice for food and the best fried chicken that Craig and I keep remembering on various occasions.
We spent a lot of time wandering around Ayutthaya, admiring the temples, visiting floating market and I finally got a chance to see the root-covered Buddha head, which was so much smaller than I expected but impressive nonetheless.
Ayutthaya is also a special place for me, since it is where I first learned to ride a scooter. Which then over a year later lead me to buying a motorcycle! Anyway, it is a different story and I will start from the beginning.
We were heading up North to do the Mae Hong Song loop and Craig, who’s been riding a motorbike for 10 years, suggested I tried riding a scooter before we committed to the whole loop (it is over 600km). Probably the best suggestion ever and we managed to find a perfect spot for a learner rider. So an hour or so later, with a bit of practice off road, I got on the road with Craig on the back. Thought he was being brave, but to be honest I did pretty well and I was feeling confident I could do Mae Hong Song. Little did I know I would crash on my first ride alone… But this is a story for the next post and I am going to be mean and leave you here for now…