Maryam Rahimi Blogs!
In Part I of this post, I covered the stunning temple of Wat Pho, the messy but yet delightful ride of Chao Phraya Express, and one of a kind floating market, yup! A market built on water, navigated by motor boats. If you haven't see the pictures, check it out. I'm a little proud of my iPhone photography skills :) ... Alright, lets dive into part 2 of my Bangkok stop ...
Ayutthaya is a city in Thailand, about 80 kilometers north of Bangkok. It was capital of the Kingdom of Siam, and a prosperous international trading port, from 1350 to 1767. The ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya Historical Park, an archaeological site that contains palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues.
It must have been the hottest place in all of Thailand. When my tour guide and I first stepped out of the car and she flung open the umbrella, I said 'What are you doing? We'll be fine, we don't need that" ... moments later, I asked her to cover me. I was covered in sweat, the sun was scorching hot but oh my oh my, the visit was worth it.
Ayutthaya is a world Heritage property that spreads across 289 hectare. The city was ideally situated at the head of the Gulf of Siam, equi-distant between India and China and well upstream to be protected from Arab and European powers who were expanding their influence in the region even as Ayutthaya was itself consolidating and extending its own power to fill the vacuum left by the fall of Angkor. As a result, Ayutthaya became a center of economics and trade at the regional and global levels, and an important connecting point between the east and the west.
The large palaces and the Buddhist monasteries constructed in the capital, for example at Wat Mahathat and Wat Phra Si Sanphet, are testimony to both the economic vitality and technological prowess of their builders, as well as to the appeal of the intellectual tradition they embodied.
All buildings were elegantly decorated with the highest quality of crafts and mural paintings, which consisted of an eclectic mixture of traditional styles surviving from Sukhothai, inherited from Angkor, and borrowed from the 17th and 18th century art styles of Japan, China, India, Persia and Europe, creating a rich and unique expression of a cosmopolitan culture and laying the foundation for the fusion of styles of art and architecture popular throughout the succeeding Rattanakosin Era and onwards.
Indeed, when the capital of the restored kingdom was moved downstream and a new city built at Bangkok, there was a conscious attempt to recreate the urban template and architectural form of Ayutthaya. Many of the surviving architects and builders from Ayutthaya were brought in to work on building the new capital. This pattern of urban replication is in keeping with the urban planning concept in which cities of the world consciously try to emulate the perfection of the mythical city of Ayodhaya. In Thai, the official name for the new capital at Bangkok retains “Ayutthaya” as part of its formal title.
The integrity of the property as the ruins of the former Siamese capital is found in the preservation of the ruined or reconstructed state of those physical elements which characterized this once great city.
The Wat Mahathat, a Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya, is located in the center of old Ayutthaya. According to the official Thai history, referring to the investigations of the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, the history of Wat Mahathat starts in 1374 when King Borommaracha I erected a temple at this place.
The Historic City of Ayutthaya is managed as a historical park. It is gazetted and protected by Thai law
Ayutthaya was the former capital of Thailand and remained so for 417 years.
I felt pretty guilty snapping this picture, when a person can be so vulnerable, rooted and raw but I needed to send it to my digital memory, to look back and reflect on. There is something so serene about it...
Buddha and I. I don't know how this place hasn't melted, cause I sure was dying from the heat... It easily felt over 50C.
Lady in black pants with the big smile facing the camera, that right there is Joy, the best thai guide in Bangkok. check out her tour www.thaitourguide.com, I highly recommend it.
Joy picked up one of the best thai curry prawn plates in Ayutthaya for me on our drive back to Bangkok. It was flavourful and delicious, deserved a show off picture here on the blog :) & for desert, check out the most popular thai desert in the video below.
Bangkok At Night
Thailand has the most exotic, sexual and provocative night life. From ping pong shows (look it up, or maybe not, it's actually pretty disgusting and horribly provocative) to the red light district, the city is set up for your entertainment, physical pleasure (road side massages, on demand prostitutes, happy ending spa's ) to alleyway bars and patios with music blaring out of every bar, restaurant and souvenir shop. It's a one stop wonder this adventurous city of Bangkok.
Tiny streets in what looked like alleyways, with vendors and patios, cars cruise slowly through the crowd... I wonder how often people get hit by vehicles.
Bangkok is land of shopping. If it was to break apart from planet earth, it would form it's own planet that would mainly be occupied by shops, stores and stuff. People love buying stuff and of courses, bargain. Bargaining before a transaction is a form of art in Bangkok. All prices are marked up by at least 60%. I've seen people bargain down from 800 baht to 150 baht. Both buyers and sellers acknowledge this form of pre transaction game. It is a way of shopping, a lifestyle.
Another Bangkok vibe is food. There is food everywhere, no one person can starve in bangkok, whether it's a local spot or a more tourist area, food is affordable to everyone. A small plate of food can be as low as 10 cents.
Foot massage factory! I got a 30 minute foot massage for $1.50.
To the right, we have stir fried grasshoppers with onions and to the left we have more stir fried insects like cockroaches, scorpio's and spiders. Needless to say, I wouldn't dare try this delicacy but other tourists tried it and most people said it's actually pretty tasty. There you go...
My favourite cuisine is thai. Minus the insects in the video above, almost everything I had in thailand was delicious. The pad thai in the video below was the best street food I've ever had, and a full plate was just 50 cents! Shortly after I stopped recording the video below, a group of men came and negotiated three plates of pad thai for just $1. Now, that's one hell of a delicious deal ;)
In case you need to do groceries at 1 am, there is a produce vendor just about anywhere that draws night crowd.
Tuk Tuks on standby, a very uncomfortable but must try ride ...
I went to see this show called Calypso not knowing it's a popular lady boy performance dance. Another thai experience, men who dress like women., in most cases they are transgender. I'm not sure what is the obsession with lady boys entertainment, but there are tons of them around.
The reviews on this popular show is pretty mix. It either sits well with you or not, I personally wouldn't go back again. Among the many other amazing things you can do in Bangkok, this show is the least entertaining. So definitely do your research and read reviews before attending this.
Lady Gaga's famous performance of Sound Of Music from a couple years back. I think this lady boy pretty much butchered it, lol.
Coming up in the last part of my Bangkok blog series is the Erwan museum, a small intimate, magical and spectacular museum built in the name of love.