17.10.2008 - 28.10.2008 26 °C
The Central pert of Thailand offers many Temples or Wots to visit. In Ayutthaya, the outer Wots can be best visited from a boat and so I found myself steeping cautiously down steps submerged in brown river water to clamber into the boat we had hired the services of for the morning.
Some of the wats are in use but the more interesting to view and explore were the ruins. After a brief lunch and a short walk I was pleased to find the next wat we visited was also in a ruined state with various beheaded buddhas including a head constricted ad trapped by the roots of a tree. The Historical Park makes Ayutthaya worth the visit as the other parts of the town are not so desireable. However within this oasis in the centre of the town trooped elephants giving rides and colourfull market stalls stood around busy wats. It was really something different for this trip, the atmosphere of all these things. We left Ayutthaya before we were all wotted out and travelled to Sukothai to visit the old city and more wats. The museum here provides an insight into the meanings and history behind the statues and temples that you see. After touring the accessible inner area of the historical park a very hot walk along the road was undertook to search out a Wot with elephant statues all around the base looking out. This was much more peaceful than the others and great to just sit and take it all in.
Train is the cheapest method of travelling through Thailand but not always the most comfortable but via a few journeys on these hard plastic seats, encountering some lovely people we made it to Lampang. Lampang struck me as more civilised than other towns in Thailand we had visited and is frankly overlooked in the guide book we read. A local juice shop offers free internet and friendly service, a bar by the river provides good food and entertaining live music that gives a great atmosphere. None of this was the reason I was here however, I was here as it is the easiest place to get to the Elephant Conservation Centre from. At the centre we were treated to a display of how they were used as work animals as well as a few other talents they've picked up such as painting. The elephants also bath in a lake and you can sit, sheltered from the hot sun, as they play and cool off in the water. Both Kyla and I were keen to have a ride on an elephant and so with sugar cane as a gift to the young elephant that was to carry us we rode off into the undergrowth. The youngster, possibly more playfull than older ones, pulled down trees and whipped around grass and water with its trunk whilst we bobbed around on its back.
To be continued....