Ayuthaya after the floods
Khiri Operations Manager, Koen Olie and Customer Relations Supervisor Punapa (Apple) went on a fact-finding trip to Ayuthaya on 19 November 2011. The former capital of Thailand is featured in the itineraries of many of Khiri’s clients, but for weeks now had to be avoided, due to the most severe flooding in 50 years.
This is a brief report of their findings:
“All buses from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal go straight up the elevated Tollway, passing still the flooded Don Mueang and Rangsit areas. Traffic is slow going. The trip to Ayuthaya normally takes a little less than two hours, but we took three for the same journey.
After Rangsit, we observed some flooded patches of land, but nothing dramatic. After we checked into the Krungsri River Hotel, a major partner of Khiri Travel in Ayuthaya, which incidentally didn’t get hit by floodwater at all, we started cruising around by local tuk-tuk.
While the water was gone, the damage it left was obvious: what used to be lush landscaped area, are now dry, dusty and barren fields. However, this being the tropics, we already noticed green spots popping up! At some places garbage collection still needed to be done.
Wat Mahatat was our first stop. Despite the grass being more brown than green and some muddy patches, the temple ruins looked even more majestic than before! Possibly in part because of the absence of the customary tour groups. There was now a bit of an Indiana Jones feeling to the visit! The shops at the entrance were all closed.
We encountered the same situation at other temples we visited, including Wat Sri Sanpeth and Wat Chaya Mongkhol (see our earlier blog post). All are open to the public.
At the elephant camp too all staff and the pachyderms were more than ready to entertain visitors.
Considering that the town had been flooded for almost two months (we noticed 2 meter high watermarks!), the speed of recovery is actually amazing! Cleaning goes on all the time with enthusiasm and in great community spirit.”
Our conclusion: you could wait until Ayuthaya is fully back to normal: the grass has grown and clean up has finished (our guess: around mid-December), but if you want to help lift the morale, your visit as of now is much appreciated. The temples are as majestic as always and the people of Ayuthaya as friendly as ever.