Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer Travels 2015 - Part 3: Bang Pa-In, Ayutthaya, Thailand

This is another long overdue post, as I never seem to get around to posting about the places we see while traveling after we get back home and the routines of daily life set in again. On our way back from Malaysia some weeks back, we spent a few days in Bangkok. We were there primarily to attend a wedding but we also took a day trip to Ayutthaya, a town about an hour north of Bangkok that used to be the Thai capital before being sacked by the Burmese army in 1767, prompting the court to move to present-day Bangkok the following year. There are plenty of temple ruins from that period, but Bang Pa-In as it stands today actually dates to the late 19th century, when the Thai royal family developed it as a sort of sumptuous country place with an eclectic mix of buildings reflecting Thai, Chinese, and European styles.

Looking along one of the canals at Bang Pa-In

The Aisawan Thiphya Art Pavilion in the middle of a lake - the water was teeming with fish, which visitors were feeding with sweet bread sold by a vendor right at the edge of the water

A gazebo covered in climbers

The distinctive "Sages' Lookout"

Part of a memorial to a queen who drowned in a boating accident on her way to Bang Pa-In - note the beds of double tuberoses (Polianthes tuberosa 'The Pearl') lining the path

A side building of the Chinese Pavilion

A beautiful potted waterlily (Nymphaea cv.)

The whole complex at Bang Pa-In was impeccably maintained and certainly pretty and interesting as a part of Thailand's modern history. However, in purely horticultural terms, much of the lavish gardening one sees just about anywhere by the wayside in Thailand - in front yards, in temple courtyards, on the edges of fields and canals - is significantly more intriguing and impressive. One plant in the park that was quite interesting, though, as well as completely new to me, was the flowering tree Gustavia augusta. Unfortunately, any open flowers were too high up in the tree to get a decent picture.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, a very interesting place,. I like the water lily and purple bougenville. Thank you for sharing. I hope I can visit there someday

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    Replies
    1. The waterlilies are definitely favorites of mine, too! Thailand is a great place to visit. This was my first foray outside of Bangkok, but even just the city itself is a lot of fun.

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