The third and last stop was Wat Chaiwatthanaram. It was especially pretty in the sunset, and replete with photographers. It is a popular place to view the sunset. King Prasat Thong built this Wat in 1630. One translation of its name is “Monastery of the Victorious and Prosperous Temple”.
As we exited the boat, the river was behind us and the sun was setting behind the ruins.
There was enough light to see other parts of the Wat. I understand it is accessible by land as well, where other structures and the active parts of the temple are visible, but we stayed near the river and toured the magical ruins.
The driver of our boat pointed out the high-water mark from floods in Ayutthaya in 2011. Apparently there were floods in 2012 and 2014 as well. It is an unfortunate part of life these days, and I wish the best to the people of Ayutthaya and to these structures which have withstood the human and natural threats through the centuries.
On a footnote: after the boat took us back to our starting point, a tuk tuk was there from the travel agent who sold us the tour tickets. We asked to go to the train station, but we ended up back at Wat Maha That. A show was just ending. It was to celebrate the UNESCO site designation of the Ayutthaya ruins, which occurred in December 1991. We had heard about this and tried to attend the show earlier but the timing was not clear. It seemed to happen when we were on the boat tour, and we chose the latter. We ended up seeing these impressive creatures after their performance:
They were painted white. We had seen them near the show grounds the previous day, grey colored and without costumes. Now they had these elaborate outfits on, including earrings. We also noticed chains on their legs. I am hoping to have an ethical elephant experience here and I’m doing some research, and while elephant rides and shows are commonplace, I am hoping for something more respectful of these magnificent animals. All the same, these were so interesting I had to take a picture. Due to the crowds, we had some trouble getting a ride to the train station but eventually found a motorbike taxi and made it there, then back to Bangkok and the rest of the Fantastics.