Early start on this day trip, up at 6am ( we kept reminding ourselves that back in our “real lives” we did this every day!). Picked up at the hotel and taken to Khao San Road where we were then decanted into our appropriate minivan for our trip. Khao San Road is backpacking ground zero but at that time in the morning it had a distinct feel of having had a hard night. The trip to Ayutthaya took about 2 hours and passed through fairly unremarkable suburbs of Bangkok speckled with McDonalds and Starbucks alongside the watermelon stands. Ayutthaya had been the capital of Thailand up until 1767 but has obviously declined since then, although there remains a city alongside the historic ruins. Those ruins were mainly temples some of which, despite their run down nature, were still stable enough to climb up. In amongst visiting the temples we viewed the largest reclining Buddah in Thailand, larger than the one at Wat Pho, although this one is outside and the elements had taken their toll. One of the most iconic images, possibly even of all of Thailand, is the Buddah head which seems to grow out of a tree. Ironically it only occured relatively recently when the roots of a Banyan tree grew around a discarded part of a statue, probably in only the last 50 or 60 years. The scale of the temples is impressive although the maintenance varies depending on how commercially viable they seemed to be. In the afternoon we stopped off on the way back to visit the Summer Palace. This was a tranquil contrast to the frenetic nature of many of the other sites. The palace is still used for Royal events and the grounds are a quirky mix of traditional buildings, ‘borrowed’ architecture eg French and Italian styled bridges, and topiary of various animal species.