Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
and the
Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Wat Yai Chai Mongkol built in 1357
and restored in 1982
Ayutthaya was the ancient capital of the southern Kingdom of Siam from 1350 until 1767. Founded by King Rama Tibodi I Ayutthaya absorbed Sukhothai, the older Thai kingdom, and destroyed much of the Cambodian Khmer kingdom. The Ayutthayans also tried to control the northern kingdom at Chiang Mai but were unsuccessful. The Ayutthayan kings adopted Cambodian customs and their laws were based on the Hindu religion.

Located on the Chao Phraya River not far from Bangkok Ayutthaya was an important center for trade and farming. The area surrounding Ayutthaya is fertile and known for its rice production. The city once had 1,700 temples and over 4,000 golden images of Buddha. In 1767 the Burmese virtually destroyed the city in a series of famous battles. Today the area is mostly ruins with few remaining intact structures. On the grounds are countless, probably hundreds, statues of Buddha all with their heads missing. Their heads were cut off by the invading Burmese. Only a few remain intact including the head. Visitors are cautioned not to stand behind a headless Buddha and take pictures as it would be disrespectful.

Our trip to Ayutthaya and Bang-Pa-In Palace would begin with an early morning ride from Derek's to the Shangri La Hotel where the tour bus departed. For our 8:30 a.m. departure we arose at 5:00 a.m. and left the house by 6:00 a.m. We allowed two and a half hours for our short trip of several miles to the hotel.
All was going well on our short drive until our driver pulled over into a lane reserved for buses. He was quickly pulled over and given a ticket by the police. He tried every trick under the Sun to get out of the ticket to no avail. Even though we couldn't understand a word he spoke to the policeman it was obvious that he was upset and angry with them. We did, however, manage to make it to the hotel in time for our tour. We actually had a whole 15 minutes to spare.

The outbound portion of the tour to Ayutthaya would be on an air-conditioned bus. The return portion, after visiting Bang-Pa-In Palace, would be aboard the Ayutthaya Princess river cruise boat on the Chao Phraya River.

Anne standing by the door to the tour bus
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
Temple of the Reclining Buddha
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha contained an immense statue of Buddha, the only one we've ever seen of Buddha not in his traditional seated position and, as such, the reclining Buddha represents Buddha after his death.

Ken and Darla at
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
Views looking down on the grounds of
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
Next stop the ruins of the ancient capital of Siam, Ayutthaya ...
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