The Ancient Capital and More

Our second day in Thailand took us beyond Bangkok’s urban borders and into its nearby countryside. And, like the country’s current capital, the other destinations came with endless decades-old and hundreds-old stories to tell.

First stop: Bang Pa-in Royal Palace, otherwise known as the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace was originally built in the 1600’s but abandoned during the Burmese invasion in the 1700’s. King Mongkut (Rama IV) began its restoration in the 1800’s. It still stands today and now open to the public as an enjoyably peaceful sight to see.

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Like the Grand Palace, the Summer Palace’s architecture shows the historic relations between Thailand and Europe and China. This pavilion is said to be the one building in the palace that is solely Thai.

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Walking down the Summer Palace’s pathways felt reminiscent of my visit to the palace in Versailles, France: wide open space, seemingly endless gardens, and numerous art pieces adorning the outdoors.

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The one must-see our tour guide recommended to us is Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun, a gift from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce to King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1889.

The amount of details put into each piece of decor is remarkable. We easily understood why the guide insisted we visit this pavilion. (Plus, it’s one of the few buildings in the palace that “commoners” are allowed to roam inside of.)

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Near the Summer Palace is Ayutthaya, otherwise known as the Ancient Capital of Thailand. Within this city are traces of a spirit still weary from its invaders from hundreds of years ago.

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Ayutthaya is listed in the United Nation’s World Heritage Sites. This Ancient Capital was founded in 1350 and became one of the world’s largest cities in the 1700’s until the raids came in.

Remnants of Ayutthaya’s booming past is shown in Wat Phra Mahathat, also known as the “Monastery of the Great Relic.” Its size is comparable to that of Bangkok’s Grand Palace. It comprises of sky-touching towers and Buddha’s calming stature reflected in statues throughout the vicinity as well. However, unlike the Grand Palace, there is no sheen nor perfected intricate symmetry. Rather, traces of a saddened past is evident in what’s left.

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As you can see, many heads of the statues were taken…

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And, as rumor has it, a thief may have hid his share of a Buddha statue head and hid it in a tree… Then never came back for it. So, instead, that Buddha’s head gently rose into the trees roots.

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Although Wat Phra Mahatha may have lost its luster in the Burmese invasion, many parts of what’s left still stands tall and gracefully beautiful.

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Thank you for sharing more of your past with us, Thailand!

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Up next on the Thai adventure is more so of what’s today. Stay tuned.

-ChiChai@Empire

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