Thursday, 21 July 2011

An hour from the city; a world away

One of the biggest highlights of our time in Bangkok was a day trip to the old capital, Ayuthaya, not far from its modern counterpart. Even though the temples and Grand Palace had been impressive, the crowds and heavy air of the city had left us a little fatigued and it was great to get outside and explore the ancient temples and buildings close by. Although still extremely humid, Ayuthaya was far less crowded and beautifully situated upon an island inside the river.

The temples at Ayuthaya were very different from those in Bangkok – huge stone and brick pillars and towers more reminiscent of SE Asian architecture, almost giving a sense of belonging in the landscape. The smell of incense wafting around us, we had by chance come on a day new monks are ordained, and were thrilled to see the famous orange robes around every corner. Some of the detailed stonework remained on the structures, and the dominating multiple Buddha statues loomed large.

We drifted around the main sites, clambering around the ruins and taking shade where possible under large trees to admire the views. Lunch was at a great restaurant right on the edge of the river, where I had some gorgeous Thai fishcakes whilst gazing into the muddy brown water below. For a place only an hour outside of Bangkok, it felt like a world away, and was a pleasant temporary relief from city life.

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