I know that everyone falls in love with the places that they travel, but I think that is a great description for the feeling that I had when I went to Thailand’s Ancient Ayutthaya city. Everything about this amazing destination enchanted me and made me want to go back to the land of Siam time after time. From the people to the sense of history I got, I don’t know that there is another place on earth that I would feel as attached to in all honesty.
The first thing I want to talk about was the people there. I know that in most tourist spots, it seems like the locals could care less, or they are out to sell you something. It didn’t feel like that when I was in Ayutthaya. Instead, I felt like people genuinely wanted to help me and that they really cared about the history that their country held. It seemed like they were happy to have me there, and like they were honored I would understand the importance of their history.
The second thing I noticed was just how time has been preserved here. In other historical sites, I see way too many modern things, I hear way too much English, and I don’t feel like I have been transported to the past. However, this city seems like it has stood still in time, and the people who work there have worked very hard to preserve that. From people speaking in fast Thai to old ladies squatting by the side of the road and selling their wares, I felt like I was actually in the past.
Walking among the ancient buildings. I realized that I was in a place older than my country, older than many of the countries on earth. This place stood through the ages, through different empires, and through entire shifts in boundaries. It’s breath-taking to be in a place that existed farther back than you can even think, but that still stands and is able to welcome people into it as well. This is the true power of Ayuuthaya, and the part of it that truly dragged me into the city.
There are modern areas in the city, but the historical districts seem almost untouched. The temples in particular seem to welcome you back to a time that has long been forgotten. Monks walk among the people, their robes colored as they were years ago, and they speak in the same tongues that were spoken hundreds of years ago. Women in sarongs provide them food in hand-made containers and laugh in a way that vibrates throughout the city.
Millions of people come through this city in a year, but it feels like you are alone when you watch the goings on of the city. Everyone is careful to pay attention to their own lives, leaving you to explore and learn more about the city on your own. However, you will always get the help that you need as well, making it the best of both worlds.
One of the biggest features that I loved was the floating market. Trying to see everything and sample everything for sale was futile, but I was amazed at the Thai ingenuity that I saw. Rather than crowding the street with sales, small boats came and went, selling out their wares and then returning home. The market was never the same, it changed every day, making me return every day that I stayed, and making me wonder what I am missing to this day.
Everyone smiled as well. Thailand is called the land of smiles, but I didn’t really think that it was going to be this common. Everyone looked me int eh eye, treated me as an equal, and welcomed me with a smile. I think this might be what truly won over my heart.
In the end, I fell in love with the city, the people, and the culture. I think I could go back 50 more times and still be happy, still have something to explore, and still be in awe of the history that the city holds. It’s a must have on any bucket list in my opinion.