Thailand
Wat Ratchaburana

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10 travelers at this place

  • Day9

    Day 8 - The Ruins of Ayutthaya

    December 18, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 34 °C

    Woke up around 6.00am in our comfortable new bed. Before 9.00am we were up & out. We 1st paid for our accommodation & add a fourth night. We then ordered egg on toast & coffee. I had scrambled, which was a bit runny & Jackie had fried eggs that weren’t sunny side up, more sunburnt. The coffee was ridiculously strong. We will be having breakfast out in future.

    Over breakfast, we booked a van that would take us down to Bangkok on Saturday. All the trains were fully booked! We then gave our Homestay hosts 2 bags of washing & then hired a little scooter from them and hit the road.

    We zipped about a bit on our scooter just getting our bearings around Ayutthaya. We did notice that every other western tourist was getting about on bicycles, maybe we will try that on Friday!

    The rivers of Mae Nam Chao Phraya & Mae Nam Lopburi surround Ayutthaya creating an Island. Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam from 1350 until 1767, when it was brutally ransacked & vandalised by the Burmese. In it’s heyday, Ayutthaya had more than 400 temples, but now they either lay in ruins or have only been partially restored. In 1991 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s like a budget version of Siem Reap.

    After scooting around for about an hour, we stopped at Wat Maya That which is only just up the road from our Homestay. We paid our 50 Baht & joined the other tourists, mainly Thai or Chinese, we’re not sure which. Wat Maya That has the most photographed attraction in Ayutthaya, which is a sandstone Buddha head tangled within the entwined roots of a bodhi tree. Wat Maya That was built in 1373 and is the most important temple in the kingdom. It did have a 43 foot central ‘aptly named’ prang (Hindi/Khmer style stupa) but collapsed before the Burmese arrived & despite being rebuilt in more recent times, it collapsed again in 1911.

    Next stop was next door at Wat Ratchaburana, again 50 Baht, which had a prang that we were allowed to climb up to visit the crypt (apparently the largest in Thailand). We climbed to the top up the steep steps & climbed back down after seeing the roosting bats.

    We continued onwards stopping to see an enormous (at least 6ft) monitor lizard swim across a lake, then waddle out onto the bank. We then pulled up at Wat Phra Ra (50 Baht), constructed in 1369 on the burial site of King U Thong, Ayutthaya kingdom’s 1st sovereign. It wasn’t the best preserved, so I asked Jackie to stand behind a headless Buddha, so I could take a photo with her head on it. The photo was rubbish, but more importantly & funnier, Jackie got told off for being in area she wasn’t allowed to be!

    Moving on swiftly, we drove to Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit, a ‘free’ Buddhist Temple that houses one of Thailand’s largest bronze Buddhas, that dates back to 1538. It measures 12.5 metres high & coated in gold. It should have been called Lucky, because it caught fire after being struck by lightning, before the Burmese came along & damaged it.

    After, we went next door (50 Baht) to Wat Phra Si Sanphet, which turned out to be my favourite. The centrepiece was three towering stupas in a row, that for me were the most photogenic. We took quite a few photos, without getting in trouble.

    By now it was lunchtime, it was 34 degrees & we were hot & thirsty. We unashamedly followed the crowds to a restaurant opposite Wat Maya That & bagged ourselves an outside seat in the shade. The waitress came over & gave us the menus, but also her order pad & asked us to write down what we wanted. We ordered Tom Yum soup for Jackie & stir fried ginger & pork for me, with Chang Beer. It was all lovely, Jackie rated it one of her Tom Yums ever, but also one of the hottest.

    After dinner, we returned to our Homestay as a precaution so Jackie could use the loo, say no more. Whilst getting ourselves sorted, a maid turned up with our freshly laundered clothes, that we had given them just several hours earlier. Just 100 Baht, bargain!

    We headed back out & visited the Ayutthaya Tourist Center, where they had an interesting exhibition about life in Ayutthaya. We decided to do just one final ruin for the day, but somehow I got lost & couldn’t locate it. It’s quite hard reading a map whilst riding a scooter. Instead we ended up riding through a market that was teeming with children just out of school for the day. It was a tricky ride, but we managed not to hit anyone.

    After picking up some mosquito spray, the mossie’s are quite bad here, we returned to our Homestay. We have discovered that they don’t come in and clean the rooms, well they didn’t today.

    We returned to the Burinda Restaurant, where we shared a Pad Thai & a Green Curry. The evening was lovely, but was nearly ruined by a group of five foreign gap-year back packing tossers who shared a large bottle of water & each ordered the cheapest meal on the menu, but were so full of themselves. Several were typically vegetarians. Thank god we never ended up like that! Rant over.

    Song of the Day - Ruins by O. Children.
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  • Day10

    Day 9 - One Bloody Big Buddha

    December 19, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Woke up to the happy news that Trump had been impeached, but not sure that it will make a blind bit of difference. In even more disturbing news, learnt that Katie Price & Harvey were jetting out to Thailand for Christmas.

    On the our balcony table was a lovely juicy mango & a knife......crawling with ants. A lady also came along & told us she would be cleaning our room later. The mango made for a nice sticky mess & we finally got on the road on our Honda scooter about 10am.

    Today we were heading for Wat Muang, which I knew was somewhere near An Thong 31 miles away. We soon had negotiated Ayutthaya and we were heading north. A few miles out of the city, we found The Monument of King Naresuan the Great. It was down a long Avenue with hundreds of elephant 🐘 topiaries in a line down the central reservation. At the end of the Avenue was a roundabout with a statue of the King on horseback & weirdly the roundabout was surrounded with cockerels 🐔 🐓 of all sizes.

    Behind the King Naresuan Monument was Wat Phukhao Thong, built by King Naresuan in 1387. A large white Chedi was built on the base of Wat Phukhao Thong in 1569 by King Hongsowadi of Burma to celebrate the taking of Ayutthaya. At Wat Phukhao Thong, we purchased a Latte Frappe each, which would do for breakfast.

    We continued north towards An Thong & soon started picking up signs for Wat Muang, what could go wrong now?

    First of all, Jackie turned into a ‘Nervous Nancy’ forcing me to slow down, because we were going too fast......on our clapped out Honda. Then she turned into a backseat driver, updating me with every vehicle coming up behind us & every bump or hole or dead dog in front of us. Then Jackie started moaning about her bum aching & never stopped.

    Luckily we weren’t lost, but as we approached An Thong the signs for Wat Muang disappeared. We drove on but nothing. We started to ask random people, but no-one could speak English & just looked at us as if we were crazy. Jackie then came up with the bright idea of showing people our destination on my phone. With no internet, I managed to retrieve a YouTube video & screenshot it.

    This did the trick & the first schoolgirl who saw it pointed us in the right direction using sign language. We tried to follow her directions, but soon we felt lost again. We stopped & asked some bloke who whilst laughing to his mates pointed us in the opposite direction. We ignored him, but it turned out he was probably right!

    On & on we went & stopped several other people, I even asked in an office at a medical centre. Eventually we started to go back on ourselves & found a sign again. Then I saw the golden Buddha at Wat Muang looming up on the horizon, but only for it to disappear again.

    After asking yet more people & having 2 aborted attempts to get to it with it now in our sights, we finally arrived at Wat Muang, now gone 1pm & having ridden at least 20 miles further than necessary.

    Wat Muang was excellent and definitely worth the effort to get there. The huge gold Buddha is the largest sitting Buddha in the whole of Thailand. It measures 92 metres tall & 63 metres wide and was only completed in 2008 at a cost of 104,200,000 Baht (about £2.5 million). We walked around it & photo’d it from most angles.

    In front of the massive Buddha were hundreds of statues in a garden apparently depicting Heaven & Hell. The Hellish statues were pretty bloody & gruesome. The statues had cloths wrapped around their waists to protect their modesty, but an employee was cutting off the cloths of those that were looking a bit grubby to reveal rather graphic genitalia! It was all very strange.

    In the Wat Muang grounds was also a lake with the most enormous fish and a silver temple that on the inside was totally mirrored making it look enormous.

    After we had completed our visit, we returned to our scooter 🛵 to continue our journey. I wanted to go on another 20 miles to the monkey town of Lopburi, where I had read that two troops of monkeys 🐒 had invaded the town & the terrorised residents could do nothing about it because of their Buddhist beliefs. Jackie, however, was having none of it, she wanted to go straight back to Ayutthaya to end this ‘absolute nightmare’, her description of our day trip. I like to think of it as an adventure!

    As a result we raced back to Ayutthaya taking less than an hour. With both of our buttocks in pieces, we stopped at a little cafe called Coffee Old City for a cold Chang & some Thai food. Despite being recommended by Lonely Planet, the food was a bit bland.

    Now about 3.30pm, school rush hour, we reluctantly got back on the scooter & fought our way across the city to Wat Chaiwatthanaram, which was rather nice. Wat Chaiwatthanaram was established by King Prasatthong in 1630 in homage to his mother. We paid our 50 Baht & dodged the visiting locals who had dressed up for photos in traditional costumes they had rented from a shop opposite.

    One Chedi at Wat Chaiwatthanaram contained the relics of Prince Thammathibet (Prince Kung) who was cited in the Royal Annals as having committed a crime by having an affair with Prince Sangwal, one of his father, King Barommakot’s concubines. Consequently, Prince Thammathibet was punished by being whipped to death.

    After a pleasant stroll, we decided we had had enough for the day so we set off for our Homestay. On the way we accidentally stumbled across The Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Lokayasutharam) which we had to stop at for a closer inspection. It was a bit shabby chic, but it seems it was meant to be like that, because there was a sign in front of it requesting people not to put gold leaf on the Reclining Buddha. Photo’s show it is sometimes dressed in an orange cloth.

    That evening went back to our favourite restaurant, Burinda, for some more excellent food.

    An alternative title for today could have read ‘Big Cocks & a Sore Arse’, but I wouldn’t want anyone to interpret it the wrong way!

    Song of the Day - Buddha Baby by Leonardo’s Bride
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  • Day118

    Wat Rachtaburana

    March 10 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 37 °C

    Nach dem Packen gehen wir zum Wat Ratchaburana, der direkt gegenüber von unserm Hostel ist. Dieser ist im Gegensatz zu den anderen Tempeln in Ayutthaya zum Teil rekonstruiert worden. Von dem rekonstruierten Teil in der Mitte kann man die Anlage sehr gut überblicken.Read more

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Wat Ratchaburana

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