Wasn't Bangkok amazing? I want to go back as soon as my lungs and whatever promise not the throw a snit-fit because of the heat and humidity.
On Thursday, January 18th our Gate1 tour departed Bangkok and headed north. We will sleep one night in Pitsanuloke, one night in Lampang, 2 nights in Chiang Rai, and then two nights in Chiang Mai after which the tour ends. Sueann and I have made arrangements to spend an additional six nights in Chiang Mai.
More importantly we will be visiting key Thai historical sites along the way.
To provide a little context for these visits, here is an extremely brief outline of the history of Thailand.
700AD Chinese people know as the Tai move from Yunnan Province China to current day Thailand largely to avoid warring Mongols.
1253AD Sukhothai is captured from Indian Khmers to become first real Thai state.
1350AD Ayuthaya is founded on the Chao Praya river and over the next four centuries grows from a small fortified city into one of the great capitals of the region.
1758AD Ayuthaya is captured by the Burmese who burn and loot the city.
1765AD A military officer, the future King Taksin rallies Thai forces, expels the Burmese from the city and establishes a new capital at Thonburi (now across the Chao Praya river from the Grand Palace).
1782AD A revolt breaks out against King Taksin who was thought to have become insane. He was replaced by a prominent military commander who, as King Rama I, founded the Chakri Dynasty and moved the seat of government across the river to a small trading port known as Bangkok.
1851-1868AD King Rama IV or King Mongkut who is best know as the hero of the King and I rules Thailand. "He is remembered as one of the most far-sighted Chakri rulers who negotiated important treaties with European powers, introduced modern sciences, and set his kingdom on the path to reforms that undoubtedly helped save it from the colonial fate that befell all of its immediate neighbors."
1950AD Bhumibol Adulyadej is crowned King Rama IX and remains King today. In 2000 he became the longest serving monarch in the world.
After a short bus ride of an hour or two from Bangkok we arrive at Ayuthaya where we visit majestic temple ruins at Wat Phra Si Sanphet:
Dating from 1491, the three main towers are stupas (also known as chedi) which contain the ashes of three Ayuthaya Kings.
A seated Buddha dating from the 15th century was restored several times and is the object of considerable veneration by visiting Buddhists:
Unfortunately I do not takes notes on trips and I certainly do not have a terrific memory so I am unable to tell you much about many of the photos I have. Here's a few from around Ayuthaya that I like:
Some believe that the large reclining Buddha shown below represents Buddha after his death.
Below: "Located in the Southeast of the Ayutthaya Muang Island, the temple was established in 1357 AD in the reign of King U-thong (1350-1369). The Great Chedi Chai Mongkhon, a token of King Naresuan's victory over the Crown Prince of Burma in the duel on elephant back, was erected later in the reign of King Naresuan (1590-1605)."
Before getting on the bus to leave Ayuthaya, we check out the local snacks:
I'm sure that is dried fruit of some sort, but we don't dare try it. The rule we understand about fruit is not to eat any fruit you don't peal yourself. Apparently there is quite a bit of tourist stomach available in thailand. Yet on our tour we did not hear of anyone finding trouble that way.
At some point you can be sure I will talk about Thai food. Later.
So we mount ourselves up on the bus. Here are Dan and Nima, two very sweet people. Nima, originally from Bombay, practices pediatric medicine somewhere in Connecticut. Because Nima has some health problems of her own, Dan has retired from his consulting business and now handles all the business aspects of Nima's practice.
End of "On the Road"
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