The most famous city you’ve never heard of: Ayutthaya

Yesterday we decided to stay closer to home and explore Ayutthaya (prounounced I-yute-ee-ah), which is about an hour from Suphanburi. A few of us hopped on the 9 am bus and arrived at 10:30. I love how easy it is to get around in Thailand – wherever we go, despite not being able to read (or speak much) Thai, the right bus always shows up at the right time (in a karmic sense – meaning, the bus is there when we need it, but I have NO idea if it’s actually “on time.”)  So yesterday, we were whisked off to see ruins in one of the most historically important and beautiful cities in Asia.

Wat Phra Mahathat

Wat Phra Mahathat

Here’s what Lonely Planet has to say about Ayutthaya:

Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam from 1350 to 1767. A fact I like: Ayutthaya was ruled by 33 kings, who ruled “through tolerance rather than violence.” (No Western power ever took control here, despite the fact that the city’s beautiful rivers and canals gave the it the nickname “Venice of the East.”) Ayutthaya’s prominence ended when the Burmese invaded in 1767. Instability afterwards led to the capital being moved to Bangkok. However, the city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991 and the ruins have been restored by the Thai Fine Arts Department. The Buddha in the tree at Wat Phra Mahathat is a bucket list item that I never thought I’d check off! Stunning!

Buddha in tree roots. Not known how/why exactly he is here. Auspicious, and beautiful!

Buddha in tree roots. Not known how/why exactly he is here. Auspicious, and beautiful!

Gold flake buddha. At Wat Phra Si Sanphet.

Gold flake buddha. At Wat Phra Si Sanphet.

Little farangs, big temples! At Wat Phra Si Sanphet. Mel, Keala, and Cash.

Little farangs, big temples! At Wat Phra Si Sanphet. Mel, Keala, and Cash.

At Phra Chedi Chaimongkhon. So many dressed up Buddhas!

At Phra Chedi Chaimongkhon. So many dressed up Buddhas!

It was a wonderful day – we got a tuk-tuk driver named Som Tam (this is also the name of my second favorite Thai dish – papaya salad!) to drive us around for 4 hours, so we visited five temples and the floating market, and then we were back in the van headed home by 5 last night.

Honestly, after so much travel over the last month, it’s lovely to have a full Sunday here in Suphan to do the normal stuff – clean, grocery shop, lesson plans, massage….! Yes, did I mention that there is a massage lady on the ground floor of our apartment building? 150 Baht per hour. (That’s 5 dollars.) So that may be happening as well. Not a bad little weekend.

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