First, I love World Heritage Sites. UNESCO has created (and continues to update) a list of cultural and natural places that have been deemed to have some sort of significance. Once on the list, UNESCO helps maintain the sites. Italy leads the list with the most sites. The US only has 21 sites on the list (one of which is the Cahokia Mounds). http://whc.unesco.org/en/list
Some people collect stamps or baseball cards – I’d like to think my collection is my list of seen World Heritage Sites (Well, that’s one of my ‘collections.’ My others being my passport stamps and my countries visited list).
Because of its historical significance, the entire city of Ayutthaya is recognized as a World Heritage Site. When I saw pictures of the ruins at Ayutthaya, I knew I wanted to take the day trip outside of Bangkok to see Ayutthaya for myself. So, that is how John and I found ourselves on a non-air conditioned train in the early morning hours on Thursday. I loved the train ride, though I don’t think John was as enamored. I loved seeing the villages and houses on stilts, and the other passengers were enjoyable to watch. There were several people wearing long pants and jackets. It’s so hot and humid that I was sweating in shorts and a t-shirt; I marveled at their ability to wear a jacket and not sweat.
The city of Ayutthaya is small, so walking from the train station to the city center is easy. After a quick ferry ride across the river, we headed to the ruins. They were as impressive as they are in the postcards and online photos. In the late 1700’s, Burmese invaded Ayutthaya and destroyed much of the city. There were many fragmented Buddhas throughout. I wondered if they were from the invasion or from the weathering over the years. The heat was intense, so we took breaks in the shade and drank lots of water.
We reached the last temple about the same time we were overcome with heat and fatigue. We found a tuk-tuk to take it back to the train station. Back at our hotel in Bangkok, we showered and headed out for food. Amazing how a shower can make you feel better. We ended our day at a wine bar/restaurant where we each ordered a margarita pizza. A historical day that ended in the current day.