Scattered amid lawned grounds on an island encircled by the Lopburi, Pasak and Chao Phraya rivers, the crumbling chedis (stupas) and Buddha images at the Ayutthaya Historical Park, 49 miles (80km) north of Bangkok, are all that remains of the former capital of Siam, which at its height between 1350 and 1767, ranked among the wealthiest and most glittering cities in all of Asia. A handful of attractive boutique hotels have opened on plots adjacent to the site to enable visitors to see the park at its most evocative, with soft, early morning light burnishing its red-brick pagodas and gently smiling Buddhas, many of which are lovingly wrapped in bands of yellow silk.

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