30 July 2550 – Buddha’s Birthday – a trip to Ayuttahya

Thu 2, August 2007 4:48 pm Extremely Cool

On monday 30 July 2550 (the current year in Thai time)  I went with Ben & Mon to Ben’s home town Ayuttahya (about 70km north of Bangkok – 1-1.5 hours in a bus) to check out the ancient city and experience the day of Buddha’s Birthday.
Map of thailand
It was the earliest I have been out of bed since I have been here – a 5am start! It was painful, but worth it.
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Once in Ayuttahya we were picked up by Ben’s older sister, mum & 2 nieces. First stop – the local Buddhist temple near Ben’s parent’s place. I have been to a fair few temples in my travels, but this one was the most ‘real’ – it was actually a place that was being used by lots of people – not a temple that is not to be touched. The place was crowded – i think maybe 500-1000 people.   
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We had a little morning noodle – 12 baht ($.35USD) a bowl! Delicious!
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Then we headed to Ben’s parents place – an amazing piece of land full of coconut & mango trees, ponds full of fish, and lots of green grass (I hadn’t seen so much grass since I was probably in Australia or Nepal)!
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 We then headed to Bang Pa-In Palace (actually the name is a lot longer and hard to pronounce!). I am not completely sure what the place is about, but it kind of reminded me of Disneyland without the rides – lots of different styles of architecture and funny hedge cuttings resembling animals. The place was pretty amazing but I was pretty keen to see the old ruins of the city that it is famous for.  
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Ayuttahya was hot – people told me to be ready for the heat, saying it would be at least 10degreesC hotter – this seemed to hold true. I even bought a hat!The first taste of the ancient buildings came when we went to Wat Yai Chaimongkhon – the reclining Buddha! 
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To finish off our short trip Ben took us to Ma Ha Tat – ancient ruins destroyed by invading Bhurmese army in the years around 1700’s (i think). It really was amazing. In fact it is so amazing that the blockbuster movie Mortal Kombat was shot there. I would have liked to have had a bit more time to check it all out – I think it covers quite a few square kilometres (if not more – i really should get a Thailand Lonely Planet book!).
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I want to give a massive thankyou to Ben and her family (especially her sister who drove us all over the city). Ben you are a great tour guide! ;) NOTE: Drinking alcohol is banned on Buddha’s birthday.NOTE #02: No matter how many times I type ‘Ayuttahya’ i still can not spell it properly!