Thailand is marked by many splendid temple complexes, often covered in gold and beautiful patterns. We visited a couple in Bangkok, but also went to the more mysterious abandoned and overgrown temples of Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya used to be the capital of Thailand (or the kingdom of Siam) and was founded in 1350. There are stories of the Dutch traders coming here in the 17th century and being marveled by the richness and splendor of the city. Ayutthaya was a trading center, one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in South East Asia at that moment. But things changed when neighboring country Burma invaded Thailand and took over, causing the complete annihilation of Ayutthaya at the end of the 18th century… Now all that remains are the huge, abandoned temple structures, and they are absolutely incredible.
We borrowed a bike from our hotel and biked around to see the biggest ones, but there we many many more. I wish we had more time to explore this area because it was amazing!
Most of the Buddha statues (and there were thousands of them) were destroyed, but here and there you could still see a face lying around. One of them fell to the ground centuries ago and a huge tree grew all around it…
Just amazing to walk around there!
And then, at the end of the day, the sun was setting and this whole place became even more astonishing!
Can you imagine walking around there? This place is incredible.
Religion plays a big role in Thailand, a big big role, and you will see huge golden temples, buddhist priests and reclining Buddha’s everyhwere.
In Bangkok there is a whole district dedicated to shops that make and sell the golden Buddha statues for the temples.
There are huge warning signs throughout the city not to buy Buddha statues for decoration, as they have a religious meaning and don’t exist to fluff up your garden…
And then there was this fellow. This golden reclining Buddha statue is HUGE. Really enormous. I hope you can sort of see it on the photos, but it was really impressive!
And the whole temple complex around this Buddha, somewhere in the middle of Bangkok, was equally colorful and impressive.
I think that is what Ayutthaya might have looked like? The towers have a very similar shape!
What I really loved were the temple cats!
We absolutely loved these ancient (and current) temples!