Bang Pa In and Ayuddhya
Bang Pa In and Ayuddhya make for a wonderful day trip from Bangkok mixing landscaped Victorian gardens, elephant rides and medieval ruins.
Bang Pa In
used to be the summer residence of the king of Thailand. It is now a museum open to the public and a pleasant day excursion from the City of Angels, if only to visit its beautiful gardens with manicured lawns, topiary trees and wooden pavilions. As an added bonus, we rented an electric car to visit the extensive grounds which my girls thoroughly enjoyed. We all climbed on top of a Chinese tower to look at the Chinese Throne Hall. What a view! Not for the faint-hearted though, the railing is pretty low.
Ayuddhya was our secon
d stop and probably my girls’ favorite. At ages 4 and 2 years, they are unfortunately too young to appreciate the beauty of 17th century Thai temples such as Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol (the Great Temple of Auspicious Victory), the only wat
we visited. However they squealed with delight when we went on an elephant ride at the nearby Pha Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya Historical Park.
The idea behind the elephant rides is not simply to take a tacky picture under a golden umbrella. It’s also to help elephants make a living in modern day Thailand when their services are no longer required at the fields, battles or in the forests. To date, the Ayutthaya Elephant Camp
has provided a home and a purpose for more than 100 domesticated elephant with the generous support of visitors who take advantage of the once-in-a lifetime opportunity for a elephant ride. We, on our side, loved the ride and my four-year-old spent 20 minutes feeding sugar canes and watermelon quarters to the elephants on our way back. This is a rare enterprise in Thailand where wildlife preservation is association with touristic endeavours.