Thailand 2013 : Adventures in Ayutthaya

During our visit to Thailand last Christmas, our family signed up for a tour of Ayutthaya.  It took us around different historical temples and ended with a nice riverboat cruise buffet along Chao Praya River.

IMG_5789

We booked the Grand Pearl Riverboat Cruise, which was recommended by our hotel.  A shuttle picked us up and took us to the River City Shopping Complex where the tour bus was waiting.

IMG_5790

It took about 1 1/2 hours for us to reach our first stop for the day. On the way there, our guide gave us some background information about Thailand and the royal family.  He told us that Ayutthaya was one of the old capitals of Thailand, back in the 16th century.  I also enjoyed learning about how the Thai people assign different colors for different days.  Our guide explained that most Thai houses and establishments will have a yellow flag displayed next to the Thai flag to honor their king, who was born on a Monday.

IMG_5795

I was born on a Wednesday, so according to Thai beliefs, my lucky color is green.  (According to Wikipedia, this also means that my unlucky color is pink – which sort of sucks because it’s my favorite color and practically everything I own is pink.  Good thing I’m not superstitious.)

IMG_5802

Our first stop was Bang Pa In Palace

IMG_5800Our guide put this sign up on our bus and told us to take a picture of it to remind us of our bus number and meeting time

Bang Pa In Palace is the Summer Palace of King Rama V.  The guide showed us around and talked more about Thailand’s history. This trip took place 9 months ago so I can’t really remember everything he told us.  To make up for it, here are some pictures I took while we walked around:

IMG_5822

Lovely pavilion in the middle of the pond

IMG_5908

IMG_5825

IMG_5829

Palace Directory

IMG_5831

There were many beautiful gardens inside the palace walls

IMG_5837

Lookout tower

IMG_5866

IMG_5862

IMG_5840

I forgot what this place was, but I think it was the Throne Room

IMG_5870

Beautiful architecture

IMG_5843a

Look at the intricate details on the gate

IMG_5845

IMG_5846

IMG_5850

IMG_5852

IMG_5853

IMG_5858

Outside we saw this little house thing:

IMG_5870a (1)

I’m not really sure what it was for, but it was open to visitors.  It was a little cramped inside and you had to take your shoes off (which is common for most of these places), so my parents decided to skip it.

IMG_5883
IMG_5870a (2)

They had really low ceilings on the first floor

IMG_5874

The second floor was more spacious

IMG_5878

IMG_5870a (3)
IMG_5888

This is the gazebo where Ezra had her 51st portrait for 2013.

There were a lot of lovely hedge carvings around the palace.  Our guide told us that the prince/king likes doing these himself.

IMG_5896a

Adorable elephants
IMG_5892

This one’s supposed to be a cobra

IMG_5900

We found this cute gazebo which looks like it came straight out of a fairy tale

IMG_5901

After a exploring the palace grounds, we went back to the bus to head over to Wat Maha That

IMG_5925

Quick selfie while waiting for the rest of our group to arrive

IMG_5920

On our way to our next location, our guide pointed out these pillars which clearly showed how high waters reached during the flooding of 2011.

IMG_5932

When we arrived at the temple, we saw a bunch of these interesting looking tuk tuks 🙂

IMG_5935

There were also some locals there selling some yummy looking ice cream

IMG_6019

Before we went inside the temple, our guide gave us a bit of information about the place.  He also reminded us to be respectful and showed us this sign which contains things that we are not supposed to do while we were there.

Our guide told us that this temple was built around the 14th century.  When the Burmese attacked Ayutthaya, the place was destroyed.  A lot of tourists come here to see the ruins.IMG_5943

IMG_5945

There were several of these Cambodian-style pagodas around the area

IMG_5947

IMG_5957

IMG_5963

IMG_5976

IMG_5977

IMG_5982

IMG_5986

IMG_5986a (2)

IMG_5998

IMG_6014

IMG_6022

The highlight of this place was this tree which contained a Buddha head:

IMG_5953

Our guide informed us that they are still not sure how the Buddha head ended up in there.  One common theory is that when the Burmese attacked the temple, they chopped off all the Buddha heads in the place to take them back to Burma.  People believe that this particular Buddha head fell on the ground or got left behind. Somehow, it managed to make its way into the roots of the tree.  Many Buddhist believe that it was a miracle and therefore this place is very sacred.

IMG_6031a (1)

It is considered rude to sit higher than the Buddha, so they have a bench for tourists to sit on when they want to take photos

After this place, our tour took us to Wat Phra Sri Sanphet

IMG_6102The pagodas in the background contain the remains of three past kings of Thailand.  I think they were the 8th, 9th and 10th king, but I could be wrong

IMG_6067

IMG_6098

IMG_6073

My 51st self portrait for 2013 was shot here

We found these merchants selling animals which you can release into the wild for good karma.  I remember that the pagodas/temples in Myanmar did something similar, although usually I only saw birds or fish being sold.

IMG_6052

IMG_6054

There were eels, fish, loaches and even turtles

Visitors can also purchase gold leaf sheets to attach to these statutes.

IMG_6110

IMG_6111

IMG_6115

We saw a cart selling banana pancakes there.  Our guide told us it was good so we decided to try them

IMG_6104
IMG_6108

It tasted a lot like maruya. Yumm.

We spotted this traditional Thai house which the government provides for some of their officials.

IMG_6162a

IMG_6132

IMG_6139

IMG_6142

IMG_6147

IMG_6150

This was where Ezra’s 50th self portrait for 2013 was shot.

IMG_6162

Kitchen area

Outside, we saw some elephants which tourists can ride for a small fee:

IMG_6169

IMG_6044

This temple was our last stop for the day.  After this our guide took us to Chao Praya River where a boat was waiting for us for our buffet cruise IMG_6172

IMG_6173

The food they served during the cruise was really good.  I especially loved the Tom Yum soup and the desserts

IMG_6176

Lunch room

After lunch, I resisted the urge to take a nap, which was very difficult since I was extremely full and sleepy after the delicious meal we just had.

IMG_6191

The Tom Yum soup was very yummy and Ezra couldn’t help but eat it despite her seafood allergies.  As a result, her eye swelled up a few minutes later.

IMG_6187

Poor Ez

IMG_6213

My dad and I enjoying the cool breeze from the top deck

IMG_6228

Ezra was lucky it was sunny so she was able to hide her swollen eye using her shades

The boat ride back to Bangkok was about 2 1/2 hours long.  We spent the rest of the afternoon just lounging around the ship and admiring the view.

IMG_6244

Rama VIII bridge

IMG_6245

Royal Grand Palace

IMG_6265

We made it to Bangkok a little past 4pm.  A shuttle picked us up from the port to take us back to our hotel.

This ends my blog entries of our Thailand Christmas trip.  We were only there for 5 days, but we had an amazing time.

If you’re interested, I wrote two other blog entries about our trip, which you can read here:

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Thailand 2013 : Adventures in Ayutthaya

  1. Pingback: (EZRA) 51/52 : Take a spin! | What I have shown you is reality ...

  2. Pingback: Week 51/52 : One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things | What I have shown you is reality ...

  3. Pingback: (EZRA) 50/52 : Days go by like a hand out the window in the wind | What I have shown you is reality ...

  4. Pingback: Thailand 2013 : Indra Regent, Siam Paragon and Lady boys | What I have shown you is reality ...

  5. Pingback: Bangkok Shopping Experience | What I have shown you is reality ...

  6. Pingback: INSTABITS : December 2013 | What I have shown you is reality ...

  7. Pingback: What 2013 was like for me :D | What I have shown you is reality ...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s