Ayutthaya - the historical capital of Thailand
In the heart of Thailand, approximately 80 km north of the capital, Bangkok, is the country's historic center, Ayutthaya. In the past it was a powerful Thai commercial and cultural center, today it is a somewhat forgotten but undoubtedly noteworthy place. The city was the capital of Thai people for 417 years.
When getting to know the province with the same name, it is also worth tasting the local specialties. One of them is Roti Sai Mai, an Asian cotton candy wrapped in thin pancakes. Another culinary curiosity is a dessert made of sesame, sugar, beans and rice, which can be bought in portions - it is available in most stores.
Ayutthaya - a breath of the past
The full name of the city is Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya . Another term is Koh Muang, or "island city", which the resort owes to its location. There are several rivers (Chao Phraya, Lopburi and Pa Sak) that used to be a natural moat protecting the city in the past. Today Ayutthaya is divided into two parts: inner, on the island, and outer, newer. The Old Town is largely located in the inner part, and its historic ruins were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1991.
Wandering the streets of Ayutthaya , we will encounter traces of the past at every turn, as well as numerous Buddha figures. We can see the figure of a lying, praying or sitting dignified prophet in many places, which gives them an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. We quickly notice ourselves that there is no need to rush. Not here. The ancient ruins of temples and palaces testify to the former power of the kingdom. The city's architecture is a peculiar combination of classic native solutions with the style of Khmer buildings. This can be seen by looking at the towers, which are exceptionally numerous here. Their shapes resemble corn cobs or cacti.
In the very center of the city there is a small Phra Ram lake and a historical park bearing the same name. Here we find the most important Ayutthaya temples, including the historic Royal Palace and the Wat Phra Sri Sanphet complex, the largest religious building in the city.
Most of Ayutthaya's treasures were stolen or burned during the wars. Their remains, including bronze Buddha statues, can be admired at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum . On the other hand, we will learn about the history, culture and old customs of the people living here in numerous other museums. The visitors can expect, among others Chantharakasem National Museum and Ayutthaya Historical Study Center.
Attractions of the Thai national treasure
Moving around the city is facilitated by a large number of motorized rickshaws (tuk-tuk). If we intend to get to know the local attractions thoroughly, we can make an appointment with a specific driver and negotiate a more favorable price than in the case of paying separately for each section of the route to a different carrier. On the other hand, more active tourists, who want to spontaneously explore Ayutthaya, can rent a bike for a small price.
What is worth bringing from a trip around the former capital of Thailand? It can be a colorful palm fish hung on a string or a hat made of palm leaves . It is a real pearl of handicraft, entered on the OTOP (One Tambon, One Product) list, which includes products manufactured exclusively in a given region of the country. Learning to weave hats is tedious, takes a long time and requires great manual skills, just like making bamboo fans. Handicrafts made of palm leaves and bamboo are the specialty of the entire province, so you can find plenty of them at stalls both in Ayutthaya and in smaller towns.
As we are in Thailand, apart from visiting atmospheric temples, we also have a unique opportunity to meet elephants. Located in the Royal Elephant Kraal & Village, Elephantstay is a place really worth visiting. They are only an hour away from Bangkok. The center is looked after by the Phra Kochabaan Foundation, which cares for the well-being of the elephants staying here for a kind of retirement. Tourists can feed and water the giants, as well as bathe them in the river. They not only learn the habits of elephants, but also clearly see what their money is used for. For example, the cost of feeding one elephant a day is 600 baht.
Thanks to a visit to the largest land animals in the world, apart from a bamboo fan, we will bring home a unique t-shirt of a member of the Elephantstay team. You can wear such a souvenir with real pride.
A writer by profession, a passion of a cat. One day he will see what is behind the Urals - good to Vladivostok. So far, when he can, he enjoys the sun of the countries of southern Europe. And it's also fun;)