Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Ayuthaya, Thailand, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.
Once called the “Pearl of the East,” Ayuthaya—the artistic, spiritual, and military center of Southeast Asia—was the capital of Thailand from 1350 until its destruction by marauding Burmese 4 centuries later. Thirty-three kings of carious dynasties built hundreds of temples and created thousands of images of Buddha in a city-state that archives claim was one of the richest in the entire region. The city’s destruction in 1767 was so complete that rather than rebuild, the heartbroken king chose to relocate his court to Bangkok, 50 miles downriver, where he would soon build the Grand Palace. Today Ayuthaya’s ruins hint at the city’s former splendor, and visitors with a healthy imagination (and a good guide) will easily grasp its onetime grandeur and importance. While you’re there, check out the former kraal (stockade), where wild elephants were once kept and which is now used to rehabiliate ones that are elderly, injured, or orphaned.
- Where: 50 miles/80 km north of Bangkok.
- Best Time: November-February for the cooler dry season.
Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.