Ayutthaya (known as Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya) is a ruined city situated 80 km north of the capital Bangkok. It’s often considered as a refreshing day tour from Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. It was once the capital of Siam dynasty which was raided & destroyed by Burmese army few hundred years ago. We started from our hotel in Pratunam at 8 am. At out hotel doorsteps a cab driver rushed towards us with a huge list of sightseeing places. After a short bargaining session we got a reasonably good deal and hopped into his Toyota Corolla and rolled ahead. Office time in Bangkok is very tedious with traffic jams stretching miles from one end of the city to another. We were lucky to avoid most of the chaos and speeded along expressway and reached Ayutthaya in around 2 hours.
After a brunch with Pad Thai, the most popular Thai dish among the locals. Later we headed to Wat Chai Mongkol, the most spectacular group of monuments complex of the city. The main shrine/stupa (Buddhist called Chedi) was visible from a distance. It was partially covered in golden cloth. The steep climb to the top of the Chedi provided a panoramic view of the surrounding area of the complex. There are several other temples and a pagoda in the complex.
Later we headed out to the nearby Wat Panam Choeng. It housed the largest Buddha statue in the city and was worshiped by many during our visit. The golden gown of the deity which was being offered by the followers was spectacularly thrown by the priest to their counterparts standing high on the base of the statue. Practice really makes everyone perfect.
We headed on to our prime location of Wat Mahathat, which was known for the emerald Buddha statue, head resting inside a Banyan tree. Posing with the tree took some time as there was huge flock of tourists eagerly waiting for the same purpose. The remains of the primitive temples, chedis and Buddha idols were scattered all over the site. The main temple was in ruins in the centre of the site.
From Wat Maha that we headed for Wat Phra Mongkol Bophit. The shrine’s here were relatively intact and had a different architecture. The main prayer halls lead to a lake on its backside. There were plenty of people enjoying a elephant joyride all along the road.
While driving around the city, we found several other ruins, well preserved by the local authorities. It was already 4.30 pm and our driver had warned about Bangkok traffic jams. So we headed back to the capital. The main highway was crammed with cars and we had to take a bypass route and reach Bangkok in around 3 hours. Our driver was kind enough to drop us at the Khao San road.
Ayutthaya – 80 kilometers north of Bangkok. Approximately 2-3 hours
We hired a Toyota Corolla from our hotel doorsteps. It charged us 1300 ฿ for the whole day (no additional charges).
Shared mini vans are available on regular basis from Victory Monument every 30 minutes and charges around 100-200 ฿ (our original plan). If you are not staying around Victory Monument getting there is itself is a challenge during the busy office hours. Try to start early before 7 am to avoid Bangkok traffic.
Sightseeing – There are innumerable ruins spread out all across the city. If you are travelling alone its best o rent a bicycle (100-200 ฿/day) and explore the ruins at your own pace. Tuktuk’s are available at hourly basis (it will definitely check your bargaining capacity). Elephant joy rides are also available in some of the ruins.
- Wat Chai Mongkol
- Wat Maha That
- Wat Chai Mongkol Bophit
- Wat Panam Choeng