Location: Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya, Thailand (14°22'14.81"N 100°33'38.23"E)
Date: 26 October 2009, 10.15am
Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5
Tourism is one of the biggest foreign income earners for Thailand. One could probably see as many foreigners (farangs) in Thailand as a cosmopolitan place like Singapore. The main reason is of course, the huge variety of attractions in the country- fabulous beaches and islands in the south, mesmerising temples and history in the Central Plains, unique Thai culture, mouth-watering Thai cuisine, abundant variety, creative and cheap shopping and last but not least, incredibly inclusive and friendly Thai hospitality. It would be a lie not to mention that its sex industry is also a draw for a certain category of tourists. One of the major attractions in the Central Plains is the town of Ayutthaya. Its close and easy access from Bangkok (less than an hour and very regular trains) is one major reason. However its easygoing small town character, just an hour from Bangkok do attracts many travellers who just want to get away from the big city. The major attraction here is the UNESCO Site of the Historic City of Ayutthaya, which is a collection of ancient wats/temples. Many with characteristic prangs or towering shrines restored to their previous glory. Ayutthaya which was founded around 1350 is the second Siamese capital (after Sukhotai, another UNESCO Site in Thailand) but was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. A poignant remain of the destruction and one of the most recognisable symbols of Ayutthaya is the severed Buddha head statue embedded in the roots of a banyan tree.