Founded in the 13th century, the historic city of Ayutthaya was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom. Once considered among the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a center of global diplomacy and commerce, Ayutthaya enjoyed its golden period from the 14th century before the city was attacked and razed by the Burmese army in 1767 who burned the city to the ground and forced the inhabitants to abandon the city. Today, Ayutthaya is an archaeological ruin, conferred with a UNESCO World Heritage status, characterised by the remains of tall towers and Buddhist monasteries of monumental proportions, clearly giving visitors an idea of how massive and prosperous the city was before. We came here a few weeks ago on a whole-day tour which we booked through our hotel. We first stopped at Bang Pa-In, another important attraction in the province. If you have visited the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, you will most likely find Ayutthaya much smaller and a little less elaborate/opulent but it doesn't take away from Ayutthaya the distinction of being among the most cosmopolitan area during its time. One of first things that you will notice as you walk around the area are the headless buddha statues, which again, was the result of the attack of the Burmese army. A few of the buddhas have had their arms and heads reconstructed recently. One very famous landmark here is what they call the buddha tree. It's some several hundred years old tree with the face of buddha embedded on its trunk. And if there's one selfie photo you'd like to have in Ayutthaya, it would have to be this one.:) We went to Ayutthaya around noon and let me tell you, the heat can easily drive you mental! My advice is that you wear super comfortable clothes - shorts, tank tops, etc are allowed as the old city is mere ruins now so you don't have to be donning a sarong or anything to cover arms and legs. A pair of comfortable shoes or flip-flops would be ideal as well for all the walking that you will be doing. The area is not as massive as the Angkor Wat so you need not spend so much hours around here. There is an entrance fee, of course, but ours was prepaid through the tour that we booked. Make sure to bring a bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated. Apply sunscreen and use an umbrella over your head if you cannot stand the heat. There are a few food and souvenir stalls just by the entrance where you can grab some water and munchies if you ever feel hungry. There are toilets for your use as well. Make sure to visit this amazing historical park next time you're in Bangkok.
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