We broke up the 12-hour ride to Bangkok into 2 easy days, as usual (this is the 3rd time we've done this drive).
Bangkok covers a huge area sectioned by a river and many canals and bordered on the south by the China Sea. The geography is flat, so trying to keep one's bearing by mountains, like say when in Vancouver BC, is difficult. But we had a good street map and a brave spirit.
After a quick stop at the Nikon camera repair office, we continued north through the City, about a 2-hour navigation, and welcomed escaping the urban blight for cleaner air and quilted fields of green rice paddies.
Our day's destination was the city of Ayutthaya, 85 km north of Bangkok. Ayutthaya, at the confluence of 3 rivers, is actually a delta-like island. It was the naturally moated capital of Siam between 1350 and 1767 and considered by European traders as "Venice of the East" where rafts of international trading vessels converged. Its magnificence was lost during the war when the Burmese armies sacked and pillaged it in 1767.
Ayutthaya river scene (Wat structures in background)
Early evening sun glow on the ruins
Even though unregulated urban growth dominates the scene today, there remains significant enough ancient ruins that the site merited a UNESCO designation. We spent half a day wandering remnants of the past and what is left of Wats, Stupas, and Prangs - those Buddhist edifices of yore. Most of what remains show signs of poor subsoil support and over the years the structures settled into a drunken state.
Prangs to ponder
During the pillaging, most of the statues of Buddhists had their heads knocked off, broken, and/or even stolen. There were few complete statues. One intact sandstone Buddhist head was over the years entwined in the roots of a Bodhi tree. Too heavy to cart off??