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Walk Around Ancient Ayutthaya

March 25th, 2014 • by admin

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Walk around Ancient Ayutthaya





















By Sandy Zimmerman

(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

Ayutthaya, the ancient capitol of Siam founded in 1340 by King U-Thong, is just 60 miles north of Bangkok. From a historical perspective, this is one of the most preserved ancient ruins with some original stone buildings still standing. The capital of early Thailand for 417 years, 33 kings and several dynasties ruled the kingdom until after 23 invasions the Burmese attacked and left the city in ruins (1767).       

Walking along the paths it was hard to believe this was once one of South East Asia's most prosperous cities and one of the world's largest cities with a 1,000,000 population (1700). Known as the Venice of the East, their location was ideal for traders and merchants between China and India with many from as far as Europe, Middle East and other parts of the world.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991, there is so much to see. Ayutthaya must have glistened with golden touches on its three palaces, 300 temples (wats), sculptures and buildings. I felt as though I was in another time looking at all of the different architecture. There were a mix of ancient Cambodian Khmer, early Sukhothai and the Ayutthaya style which combined Sukhothai Buddhist and Hindu Khmer styles.

The easy paths brought me right up to the buildings where I could explore for close-up views. I spent a few hours at Ayutthaya but it would be great to stay 2-3 days and spend time seeing the museum, the Summer Palace, and everything. You can try a walking tour, rent a bike, or take an elephant ride. Whether you are in Thailand for a few days, a week, or longer, the biggest thrill is riding an elephant. They are so big and yet so gentle. The money from the elephant rides goes to maintaining the Ayutthaya Royal Elephant Kraal. They keep 90 elephants and have living quarters for the elephant trainers (Mahouts) and their families.           

I really enjoyed this tour walking through history and was amazed the buildings were so well preserved. There is a choice to take a boat trip along the Chao Phraya River either to Ayutthaya or on the return to Bangkok.

Sandy Zimmerman is a syndicated Show and Dining Reviewer, travel journalist, photographer, and talk show host of the Las Vegas Today Show and Discover the Ultimate Vacation travel specials. She is published in Dubai, Japan, England, South America, and other countries in addition to the United States.