Ayutthaya is an interesting destination to visit because of its rich history and burgeoning modern culture. This unique location, located 85 kilometers north of Bangkok, combines the ruins of an ancient city with the atmosphere of a modern city. Ayutthaya is a worthwhile cultural place to consider on your Thailand vacation because of its unique history. The ruins of the old city may be seen at Ayutthaya Historical Park. The majority of the ruins are open to the public for a relatively low price, and you can explore stone statues, temples, and palaces. Temples abound throughout the island; some are still in use, but the majority are in ruins. While some of the ruins have been restored or preserved, there aren’t enough monks to keep them up to date.
1.2. How to get there?
Ayutthaya is located approximately 85 kilometers north of Bangkok and is relatively easy to reach. Depending on the traveler’s budget and preferences, Ayutthaya can be reached by rail, bus, private transfer, or group trip.
The urban grid plan of Ayutthaya may appear simple to those who drive, but if you make a mistake turn, it’s easy to become lost. Before crossing the bridge into the city, take Highway 309 to the Chao Sam Phraya roundabout. Highway 309 continues west and becomes Rochana Road, the island’s principal east-west road. Convert right at Srisanphet Road, which will shortly turn into Naresuan Road, to enter Ayutthaya Historical Park from Rochana Road. The inner city is encircled by U-Thong Road, which runs parallel to the rivers and encircles the inner city.
On the other hand, you can take the train from Bangkok and hire a tuk-tuk to carry you around the city. Before hopping on a one-day or half-day rental, negotiate a price and go through all of the sights you want to see with the driver.
A day journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is available from a number of local tour operators, with many of them traveling one way by boat along the Chao Phraya River and the other way by car. The cruise is usually tranquil, as there are several ruins and temples along the way.
1.2. Ways to get around the city:
When you arrive in Ayutthaya, you’ll have to figure out how you’re going to travel around. You have two main alternatives for getting around: hire a tuk-tuk with a driver, or rent a bicycle and go it alone. You’ll find several tuk-tuks waiting for you at the train station if you prefer to take the tuk-tuk route. For a day, expect to pay at least 500 Baht (12.99 USD). Before you agree to hire the driver, make sure you haggle the price. The tuk-tuk driver will most likely take you on a “typical” tour, but you should have an idea of what you want to see beforehand.
There are lots of bicycles for rent near the railway station, but highly recommend to take the ferry over the river and renting the bicycles there, which will spare you the trouble of getting the bikes across the river. There are various bike rental shops in the area, so look around for one that ‘fits’ you well. Bikes are about 50 Baht (1.30 USD) per day to rent.
Again, Ayutthaya is probably easiest to visit with a group tour or operated by trustful travel agency. With the option, you will be taken care of from the beginning to temple-hopping. Not to mention, you will be escorting by a knowledgeable tour guide. This option is more ideal for travelers with loose budget or tight in time.
2. Best times to visit:
The greatest time to visit Ayutthaya in Thailand is between November and January, as this is the only time of year when the rainfall is significantly lower and the weather is ideal. The weather in Ayutthaya is hot and humid all year; temperatures average around 29°C (84°F) year-round, with December and January being the coolest months (though temperatures seldom fall below 20°C, 68°F).
Places Of Interest
AYUTTHAYA HISTORICAL PARK
This UNESCO World Heritage site contains around 70 stunning temples and ruins, making it a must-see for history aficionados and archaeologists. It’s a vast expanse that encompasses the historic Siamese capital city, with enormous Buddha statues set against a tranquil green backdrop that stands out against the scorching blue sky. You should go to see the splendor of what used to be the Siamese capital of power and commerce. You can’t help but be moved by it.
Wat Mahathat was the royal ceremonial site for both religious and non-religious events before King Trailoknat replaced it with Wat Phra Si Sanphet, and is thought to be the spiritual center of the Early Ayutthaya Period. The temple has a Khmer-style prang (since collapsed) that was used to enshrine a tiny casket containing the Buddha’s relics before Ayutthaya became the Siamese capital (now on display at Chao Sam Phraya Museum). Aside from the main prang, Wat Mahathat is home to the lone Buddha’s head encased in the roots of an overgrown banyan tree, which has become a beloved Ayutthaya image. The Buddha’s head is rigorously guarded around the clock, and even the tiniest act of disrespect (such as taking photographs while standing over it) will not be tolerated.
WAT PHRA SRI SANPHET
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is the largest temple in Ayutthaya which served as the Royal Monastery from 1350 to 1448, sits on wide grounds within the walls of former royal Grand Palace. The three distinctive chedis, which house the royal relics of three Ayutthaya Kings, are among the few remaining structures in the temple grounds, which are a must-see ruin site in and of themselves. Two mandapas for housing Buddhist literature and sacred artifacts previously existed on the empty space that presently stands between the three chedis. The concrete columns from the main chapel can still be seen to the east of the chedis. A wide cloister encircled the three stupas, with lines of smaller chedis positioned near the outside wall. The ruins of a smaller chapel with a now-headless Buddha image can be found at one end of the line created by the three chedis. It’s fascinating to see how elegant curves may be made using regular bricks.
The Khmer-style stupa (or prang) adorned with statues of the legendary god-bird Garuda, towering above a courtyard of chedis and a destroyed temple hall, seems like a tiny Angkor Wat. It was formerly one of Thailand’s most magnificent temples. Ayutthaya’s museum was built with funds raised from a handful of valuable artifacts recovered from drunken looters who attacked the temple in 1957. The rest of the collection is still on exhibit.
WAT PHRA RAM
The picture of this 14th-century temple, reflected in the water of Bueng Phra Ram lake and silhouetted against a pink sky shortly after sunset, might just be Ayutthaya’s most Instagrammable shot. With colonnades of chedis and vast galleries originally utilized by Thai royals and courtiers, it is one of Ayutthaya’s most revered temples. The National Museum in Bangkok houses a massive carved sandstone Buddha footprint wrapped in ornate spirals and an exquisite wheel-mandala.
Welcome to a truly spectacular Buddhist temple on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, which served as an architectural model for a number of following Thai sites. The striking design has an elevated platform and eight tall chedis, all connected by secret tunnels with colorful paintings depicting Buddha’s life. Around the location, there are 120 sitting Buddha sculptures. They were initially painted black and gold, but now have orange curtains, creating a serene, gorgeous image.
Wat Ratchaburana is located at the base of the Paa Than bridge in the Tha Wasukri subdistrict of the Phra Nakorn Sri Ayutthaya (Krung Kao) district of Ayutthaya province. It’s just north of Wat Mahathat and close to the royal palace. Wat Ratchaburana is the oldest temple in the province and one of the royal monasteries erected during the Ayutthaya period.
Parts of the terrace, the portico’s pillars, and a chedi surrounded by lion statues may all be seen. The dozens of vividly colored rooster figurines, assumed to be offerings brought by residents, are a source of fascination. The enormous bronze Buddha head and the golden reclining Buddha hidden in one of the houses to the right of the chedi are also noteworthy.
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