Visiting the temples of Ayutthaya, Thailand – The Smug Monday Series Ep. 12
Today we hopped on a train for 1 3/4 hours to go 44 miles to Ayutthaya ( i-oo-t-iy-a ) wat (temple) complex. Ayutthaya used to be the capital of Thailand before it was destroyed by the Burmese in 1769. The train was a 3rd class rickety one with plastic (and slightly broken) seats and bars across half of our window but not the other. After 1 3/4 hours we got off the train and met Lung the friendly Tuk Tuk driver who offered to give us a temple tour for 600 slaty baht fasts (£12). The tuk tuk’s here are different to all the others we have seen so far.
The first temple we saw was Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon. It had a HUGE stupor (prang) with a well full of slaty baht fasts and Buddha statues round the outside. It also had a reclining Buddha that you could buy a huge bundle of orange cloth to put on him as a form of worship. We watched four Thai ladies pull a huge cloth that could easily cover 6 king sized beds over the statue and not even fit.
Next we drove to Wat Pahan Choeng otherwise known as THE BIG BUDDHA. It was MASSIVE. It is seated and is 19 metres tall , 14 wide at the knees and the biggest Buddha in Thailand. Constructed in 1324.
After THE BIG BUDDHA we went to Wat Maha That or Buddha tree temple. In 1769 the Burmese attacked Ayutthaya and chopped off all the Buddha heads. One of the heads landed in the prop roots of a bhodi tree and over time has been partially absorbed.
Once we had seen the budda-in-a-bhodi-tree, we headed on to Wat Phra Ram. Its main prang was still mostly intact apart from a few statues here and there. However pretty much all the other prangs on this site were broken and the buddhas looked like their heads had been removed in a hurry with a sledge hammer.
This next one was the best. Wat Phra Si Samphet has 3 huge prangs, about 32 small semi broken ones and several un-roofed halls. Me and Evan chased around staying near, but out of sight of, our parents. It was awesome and we’d love to show it our Nan and Gran when they come down in April. After that we headed to one more renovated temple with a huge buddha called Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit and the buddha had a bit of rope going from his thumb to a hook in the wall. I thought it was a lightning conductor but Evan said it wasn’t.
So we hopped in the back of Lung’s Tuk Tuk and he said “hfihishuidhf” to the guy blocking us in and away we went to the train station where “friendly” Lung demanded 40 quid, so we gave him 12 quid, got pad thai for tea and went back to Bangkok on the next train
Today, I really liked Ayutthaya in general but if I had to pick 2 favourite things it would probably be Wat Phra Si Samphet and the new species of Tuk Tuk.