Ruins and temples in previous capitals of Thailand

My first weekend trip in Thailand was to the historical cities of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya. A little background in these cities, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Sukhothai was the first capital of Siam (former name of Thailand) in the 13th and 14th centuries, the dynasty lasted 200 years and had 9 kings. The historical park covers the ruins of this kingdom and the best way to see them is by bike. We rented one for a day for 30 baht (1 dollar) and saw many beautiful temples and ruins. It is not a terribly touristy place, which I liked a lot. Besides, you can go to the back parts of the park (which require a small extra entrance fee), and you can discover many ruins that are very untouched. I felt incredibly happy to be able to be there, because ever since I was young I’d always wanted to visit Thailand, especially for the temples.

(Photo cred: Lily Nazareno)

(Photo cred: Lily Nazareno)

(Photo cred: LN)

(Photo cred: LN)

One of the temples in the back parts of the park

One of the temples in the back parts of the park

The next day, some of us decided to go to Ayutthaya, since we’d heard many good things about it and we were in the “cultural and historical kind of weekend”. After Sukhothai, this was the capital of the country until its destruction by the Burmese army in 1767. The city is full of ruins that offer you a glimpse of the wonderful and powerful city it once was. Since it is only 1 and a half hours away from Bangkok, it is naturally a much more touristy place. Nonetheless, the temples are beautiful, and each has a unique characteristic that differentiates it from the other. Also, I noticed a lot of beheaded Buddhas in these temples specifically. Our guide said it was because when the Burmese invaded the city, they cut their heads searching for gold and just to destroy the place. I believe the best way to tour around this city is by getting a tuk tuk driver/guide that takes you to the best temples, since, unlike Sukhothai, Ayyuthaya’s temples are all over the city and not in an enclosed park.

The famous Buddha in the tree (Wat Mahathat)

The famous Buddha in the tree (Wat Mahathat)

Beheaded Buddha (Photo cred: LN)

Beheaded Buddha (Photo cred: LN)

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