Friday, February 17, 2012

Ayuttaya: The Ancient Capital

Ayuttaya - some people say that historical landmarks and museums "aren't their thing", but after spending the day in the beautiful city of ruins, I believe these people must be crazy.

Upon arriving in Ayuttaya, my friend Marci and I were promptly blocked by a row of Tuk-Tuk drivers attempting to strike a deal for a city tour. For a small fee of 200 TBH per hour, our guide took us to the most famous of ruins. We saw the reclining Buddha, beautiful pagodas, walked through the ruins of what was once a majestic building of much royal power. We gazed upon the ever famous Buddha head that has been grown into a tree - but were careful not to tower over it, for this is concidered highly disrespectful. I even enjoyed a fresh coconut as we buzzed happily through the city on the back of the Tuk-Tuk.

However, one down side is that many of the sites require a fee to be paid before entering. As a normal tourist, this may not pose a problem. The average fee is 30-50 baht. But alas, I am not a tourist, but an English teacher who still has to watch her baht. It would seem that the stereotype is "you have white skin, you have money", and the locals take no pity on me. I still have to pay the foreigner price instead of the local Thai price, work permit present or not.

Overall, I would recommend a day trip to this wonderful city. If in fact you are intrigued by ancient cities and their ruins, you are sure to enjoy what Ayuttaya has to offer. Personally I felt this incredible tranquiliy in the air walking through the city. Maybe it was the elephants giving people a lift through the streets, or maybe it was just a beautiful day, but I felt incredible being able to walk through a city of such significance. I even let myself get suckered into buying a "happy elephant" carving from a street salesmen. I was happy with my purchase.

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