The first group she met reside in Mandalay. They dress like Burmese and none of them speak Thai. Asked what struck her the most about these people, Kwandee mentioned their facial composition, which is distinct from that of other Burmese; the fact that they still tell their offspring that their ancestors came from Ayutthaya and that they're proud of it; and the way the women tie up their hair, which she described as quite unique. Some traditional rituals, such as making sand stupa, are still practised. These rituals are conducted during Visakha Puja Days and not Songkran, as in Thailand today. Residents also recall the name of a village named Reuhaing, which may be a corrupt pronunciation of Rahaeng, a village in Tak province. Many residents are still goldsmiths, a profession widely known and practised in the Ayutthaya period.
Kwandee said she's certain of their origin from their gold patterns and motifs, which are definitely not Burmese. What's more, some of them even call themselves Yodhaya people, meaning Ayutthayan in Burmese. Kwandee also discovered what might be the ruin of a brick stupa marking the death of a member of the Ayutthaya royal family. The stupa and its inscription are too ornate and beautiful to be a lay person's, she said. Others suggest it might be a stupa to commemorate the bicentennial of those who were taken from Ayutthaya. Some villagers volunteered to draw a sketch of how the stupa once looked, and to Kwandee it resembled a royal coffin, with its reversed vertical cone shape.
Kwandee later said it was not King Uthumporn's tomb because he died while he was a practising monk and the Burmese practice is to cremate monks rather than bury them as they do lay people. Who this seemingly royal tomb was dedicated too remains a mystery. An elderly woman in an area called Yodayaweng told Kwandee that her ancestor was a classical dancer for the court of Ayutthaya and played the role of Hanuman, or monkey king, in the Ramayana epic. In that community, a small shrine with four Siamese classical puppet masks were found.
There's also another community called Mindasu, which can be translated as the abode of princes and princesses. Kwandee suspects this is a place where descendants of the Ayutthaya royals live. Other Burmese call them ajintor, which means "my noble friends". Some said their great-grandparents were princes of Ayutthaya but didn't know which ones. They still practise dance and keep some lyrics which are quite Siamese. "The Yodhaya blood still runs vigorously in all my veins and arteries," said a doctor by the name of Thinh Hmong....