It was our maiden trip to Bangkok and we decided to explore Ayutthaya, the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. Our first stop after a 2 hour ride in a stuffy van brought us to Wat Phu Khao Thong, a stupa or chedi as it is called in Thai built in 1387. If you’ve seen Borobudur, then this monument may not impress you. Nevertheless, this temple with its white facade was impressive because we have rarely seen a temple of this colour in other parts of South-East Asia. Located in a quiet sleepy town, this impressive monument bears witness to bygone era of grandness.
Built in 1387 during the reign of King Ramesuan and designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991, it’s stupa rises more than 70 meters above the Chao Phraya River. Originally built in a Mon-style, the chedi was renovated and converted to a Thai-syled stupa on a square pedestal with 12 indented corners under the order of King Boromakote in 1744. Climb 79 steps up to the courtyard of the stupa and visitors will have a glimpse of the surrounding rice fields of Ayutthaya.
There isn’t much else to see here but it was the first stop on of our journey through the ancient kingdom. The journey itself was uneventful. We made a mistake when choosing the tour operator. Whilst researching on the net we came upon an operator who promised the world and delivered peanuts. The pick-up was 2 hours late, and they stuffed us into a van that had lousy air-conditioning and windows that couldn’t be opened. With 14 people in a musty constrained space, it was torture. The weather in Autthaya was 39 degrees Celsius and getting back into that van was far worse than standing in the blistering heat of the ancient kingdom of Siam. Alas it was too late to change plans and we endured the journey promising to be more careful in our travel choices in future. But the temple was beautiful in its rustic surroundings and definitely worth a visit if going off beaten track is your idea of experiencing something different in your travels.
Wat Phu Khao Thong
Chedi Rai situated on the premises of Wat Phu Khao Thong
The 79 steps to the stupa.