Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wat’s Up?

Day 318
I was up early but took my time eating breakfast and planning my route. Ayuthaya is one of the oldest cities in Thailand and there are a lot of really old and decaying wats to visit. I picked out the ones that looked the most interesting and headed out to see wat was up.

After about a 15 minute walk in the right direction I found Wat Ratchaburana, built in 1424. This wasn’t on my wat laundry list but I decided to check it out anyway. It looked pretty impressive from the outside. The ruins were a bit eerie, and I had them to myself for a bit. There were a lot of disembodied heads and decapitated statues. This used to also be a storage place for some ancient artifacts, but the wat was robbed in 1957. Some of the objects were recovered and are now in a local museum.

Next up was Wat Maha That, perhaps the most famous in Ayuthaya. It’s not because it was particularly stunning, but because a tree has all but swallowed a Buddha head. I found it just after a Japanese tour group. It took forever to get a shot; I had to wait for about 50 people to pose in front with peace signs. After I did get it I looked for someone to take my picture but they were all gone. This wat was better than the last one, it was much more intact.

It was a rather hot day and I grabbed a coconut ice cream and sat for a bit. Some elephants wandered by.

Slightly sticky I headed to Wat Phrasisanpeht. This one had the most intact buildings of them all. There were a lot of stupas and once I got around to the back I was able to get away from the crowds.

Next door was a place called Phra Mongkhan Bophit. This holds the largest bronze Buddha in Thailand at 16.95 meters. I walked around and took pictures from every angle.

I thought that I would visit one more wat but it was a long walk so I stopped for lunch. I ordered quickly and it took me a couple of minutes to realize just how much the place stank. I tried to get through my lunch but the smell was too much. I felt bad leaving food on my plate, the people working there seemed very nice and the food tasted just fine. I just couldn’t do it.

Once I had escaped the smell I headed to my last wat. After walking for a very long time I found out that what looked like a road on the map was actually an overpass. I gave up and just got a tuk-tuk back to my hotel.

For dinner I was very unadventurous and just stayed at my hotel. After spending some time on the internet I went up to my room to read for the night.

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