Ayutthaya, Damnoen & Kanchanaburi: Trippy day-tripping towards the Myanmar border
Day tripping away from Bangkok with a private car and driver was a good option for a brief escape from the craziness.
Ayutthaya is Thailand‘s archaeological centre of monumental dimensions. Dating back to 1350, the city experienced a turbulent history, now a Unesco World Heritage site. Wat Lokaya Sutha (Temple of the Reclining Buddha, also called Wat Pra Norn) is another important temple in Ayuttaya, the biggest reclining Buddha is a big white Buddha (42 meters long). Even though it is very old, it is still in a perfect condition with glowing face beaming with happiness and the head is supported by a lotus base platform. Wat Phra Mahthat is famed for a large stone Buddha head trapped in the exposed roots of a colossal banyan tree.
One that we tend to go is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market which just has its name implies, is hundreds of shop stalls setup in very small floating canoe like boats that just go up and down the river selling their wares.
Further afield, and appealing to my military family war history, is Kanchanaburi with its war cemetery and bridge over the Kwai river which is made famous by the Oscar winning film “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.
Basically, the bridge was built during World War II when the Japanese occupied Siam (now Thailand) and neighboring Burma (now Myanmar), using over 65,000 P.O.W.s and hundreds of thousands of civilian laborer’s from Malaysia, Siam and Burma. These workers battled torture, starvation, and disease to hack the 255-mile railway out of harsh jungle for the Japanese yet resulted in a very well-built steel/concrete railway bridge linking Burma to Thailand for the Japanese supply lines. During its construction, approximately 13,000 P.O.W.s and 100,000 civilians laborers died and were buried along the railway.
Unlike the dramatized film, the real bridge on the River Kwai was never destroyed, not even damaged, and was in active use for a couple of years, before being bombed by Allied forces. The bridge was repaired and is still in use today.