Saturday, November 15, 2008

Majestic Ayuthaya: Thailand 2005

I love Mumbai. Don’t get me wrong. It is the city where I feel free. The city where I have come of age. The city where I met my wife. The city where I grew in my career.

But it is a bit of an eyesore with its dusty, grimy, broken roads, its slums and its shanties, its ugly buildings, its tiny houses. I love the buzz here, I love living here, but there are times when I feel the need to get way from it all to rejuvenate my senses. That’s when I set out in search of endless horizons, beautiful places, marvels of nature and man, experiences which are very different from the smoggy, adrenalin charged life of Mumbai.

One such place which we had been to was Ayuthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand. I hadn’t heard of Ayuthaya before and we owe the visit entirely to Abhik, of Indian Wanderers, who had organized our trip to Thailand in October 2008. He was the one who insisted that we go there.

It was an amazing experience, quite different from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, where he had based ourselves. And a universe away from mad, mad Mumbai.

We reached after about a three hour drive from Bangkok down very smooth roads.

The palace was awesome. The architecture was breath taking and was very well preserved. The sheer Oriental beauty of the palace, the manicured gardens, the temples, the streams and fountains and the opulance of the Royal Quarters were a feast for the eyes.

We then went on to see some ancient temples and Buddhist ruins which were burnt, pillaged and ruined by Burmese invasions some seven times and rebuilt each time by the Thai Kings. There was of course, no one, to guard the remains from modern tomb raiders. The image of the Buddhist statues which were beheaded by smugglers was quite poignant. The two huge statues of Buddha were as awe inspiring as Abhik had promised.

Our royal experience didn’t end with the sightseeing! We returned to Bangkok in a posh river cruise. The food was very good. Three years down the line I still remember the lovely Tom Yum soup and Thai curries and wide dessert spread. It was nice to get a glimpse of the Thai river houses on the way back. Great food, cool river breeze, lovely views, life couldn't get better than this!

Traveler’s Notes:
- This is a must for the architectural beauty, history and the luxurious cruise ride back
- It is a day trip from Bangkok where you start at 8 AM and return to your hotel at 6 PM

- The trip involves quite a bit of walking in the sun so wear comfortable shoes and carry a cap. Our tour group had umbrellas for us to use in the sun

- You can't wear shorts or sleeveless tees to the Royal Palace. Sarongs are available for women in case they aren't suitably dressed

Related Posts with Thumbnails