Wednesday, October 6, 2010

beautiful ayutthaya!

after a day in bangkok, we met up with dannon's old roommate who lives in thailand, and drove up to the gorgeous, ancient city of ayutthaya {pronounced "eye-you-tee-ah"}.

a teeny history lesson: ayutthaya was the capital of thailand for 417 years until it was destroyed in the war with burma in the 1700's. the burmese armies invaded ayutthaya and destroyed dozens of temples for the gold that covered them. they even cut off the heads of all the buddha's in the city in order to steal the gold. today the modern city has built up around the ancient ruins which still exist.

we spent the day wandering around the ruins, paying honor to the fallen buddha statues, and imagining the whole city covered in gold.

one of the heads was enveloped into the branches of a banyan tree.
we also stopped at one of the large, working temples in ayutthaya.

here they keep some of the golden buddha heads that they were able to recover from the burmese army.

next to the temple {or in thai, a "wat"} there was a little market where we got to try some amazing local desserts like real coconut ice cream out of a coconut shell!

we also got to participate in a beautiful spiritual practice at wat lokkayasutha {temple of the reclining buddha}.

the final part of the experience was to stick a piece of gold to the buddha. it was so special to take part in re-covering the buddha with gold after it was stripped so many years ago.

after the temples we went to a floating market. this was one of the coolest things we did in thailand!
the market was all along these long bamboo walkways through the water. we were surrounded by lotus flowers and water buffalo!

everything was made out of bamboo including the stairs, tables and benches.
oh and the food! the food was absolutely amazing! so delicious and colorful. unfortunately it made us incredibly ill, but totally worth it. . . well. . . yeah, worth it.

while we were in ayutthaya we stayed at the most amazing inn with a beautiful view of old temple ruins, large lotus flowers, and the river. across the way, children were swinging into the river from a big rope swing. it was pretty magical.

we even had a wee guest stay with us {the lizards were everywhere and so cute! some of them could even fly.}!

the next day we headed off to spend the rest of the week with our elephants!!! which i'll share tomorrow {with probably more pictures than you ever wanted to see of elephants}. :)


  1. Beautiful! The floating market sounds like a lot of fun but I particularly like adding gold to the Buddha statue. That seems like a beautiful reminder to those who visited that they are a piece to a larger image. I'm glad you're providing pronunciations for us, otherwise I'd be butchering the names of your recent locales!

  2. What an incredible place. A city once covered in gold? It just sounds like such a wonderful journey to someplace so very different. I'm in absolute awe -- the place is amazing, the food looks delicious, and the gesture of adding pieces of gold is beautiful.

  3. gorgeous! I have a map of the world shower curtain in Gav's bathroom and looked at where Thailand is exactly to see where you were. It's so far away! I don't know where I thought it was, but for some reason I thought it was somewhere else :)

    I love the part where you added a piece of gold to the buddah. so special. and the tree growing around the head. gorgeous!

  4. Oh good, the elephants! I've been waiting for them!!!

    These photos are amazing, Kim. What a beautiful place, so different to anything I've ever seen or anywhere I've ever visited. I'm impressed by how much you managed to see and do in the time you were away. And that head in the tree? WOW.

  5. Sweet. I love those pictures of the Buddhas. It is sad about the devastation of those spiritual habitats for gold/war. So, it must have felt very cool to participate in putting some of the gold back.
    My favorite one is the Buddha with the tree around it.What a gorgeous place!
    p.s.The food looked really good, too. I like the long bamboo(?)table.

  6. it looks amazing! Thailand is top of my dream travel list!

  7. beautiful!
    The image of the sculpture being over taken by the branches of the tree is so incredible.
    What a wonderful trip.

  8. sounds like you had an AMAZING time. The pictures are great. i love the history of the place :)

  9. Thanks so much for sharing all of these moments from your trip with us! It keeps sounding more and more amazing.

    Also, flying lizards!?!? AWESOME!

  10. my heart just skipped.
    i always feel like ruins are such quiet, spiritual places.
    ugghh i'm dying to just get on a plane right now!