If you are talking about a terrific city with a lot of ancient histories, Ayutthaya would be the first one that comes up into mind. You will be able to see a glimpse into what Thailand used to be in the past and what traces are left from that glorious time. It would be a trip for a lifetime for sure!
General Information of Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya is province with much ancient histories since 1350 and it was a second capital of Siam after Sukhothai as well. Its location in the past has made it an ideal trading route between China, India, and Malay. It was once inhabited over one million people in the year 1700, but unluckily all of the glory ended in the year 1767 when Burma invaded Ayutthaya. After that event, the city itself was almost gone and you can still see traces of the burnt structures here today. Most of the structures that are remaining here are temples, palaces, and structures that are made out of stones. It is quite a popular destination for these reasons.
To get to Ayutthaya, Thailand
The distance from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is around 85 kilometers which will not take you that long to reach here by car. However, there are other ways you can take to reach this province. Taking a train would be one of the cheapest ways to get here. Plus, you will also get to see the scenery on the side of the train. You could also take a bus from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal or Mo Chit which is quite cheap too.
Another convenient way is to take a minivan from Mo Chit 2 or Rangsit and it is important to note that the victory monument does not have minivans there anymore.
The most interesting way in my opinion is to take a boat from Bangkok to Ayutthaya via the Chao Phraya River. You will not only see great sceneries, but the old culture of Thailand when people used this river to travel. The choices are yours to take!
Famous Attractions in Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is literally filled with lots of amazing places in terms of historic sites and most of them are really famous for tourists that come to Thailand. Some of them are recognized by UNESCO for being a world heritage sites and the others are what you are going to find out in a minute! The first spectacularly famous place in this province is Ayutthaya Historical Park which is honored for being a world heritage site by UNESCO. The place covers an area of more than 4.8 square kilometers and there are many archaeological sites as many as 425 sites! You can ride a bicycle, an elephant, or a monorail to look around the place.
วัดมหาธาตุ (Wat Maha That)
The highlight of this place is Wat Maha That that was built in the year 1374. This temple has a stone Buddha’s head with more than a century old situated inside the root of Bodhi tree. It is beautiful and amazing! Other than that, there is an eight-sided Chedi which is very unique, and you can only find it at Ayutthaya!
The next place is also a world heritage site which is a temple called Wat Ratchaburana. It is a big temple and one of the oldest in Ayutthaya! The highlight of this temple is that you can go down under the Buddha statue for 17 meters to see a place which stores tremendous amount of treasures.
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
Some of the treasures recovered from here are at Chao Sam Phraya National Museum which is the most important museum in Ayutthaya. You can observe ancient artifacts and arts during the Ayutthaya era inside this museum. There is also a display regarding the way of life of the people at that time!
Wat Phanan Choeng
Another famous temple is Wat Phanan Choeng. This is an old and really important royal monastery that was built in the year 1325. Inside of the temple, you can see a statue of Luang Pho To with a height of 19.2 meters. In fact, it is the most enormous sitting Buddha statue that was left since the Ayutthaya Kingdom and it is well-respected from many Buddhists all over the world for such a long time.
Wat Na Phra Meru
The last place is also a temple called Wat Na Phra Meru which is an old temple from the era of Ayutthaya. The amazing thing about it is that it is the only temple that was not burnt or destroy during that period of time. It is pretty much perfectly preserved! Inside the temple, there is one of the biggest Buddha statues in Thailand with a beautiful attitude.
It is true that Ayutthaya is a great ancient city to look at as there are many things which are pretty charming to tourists and the locals. However, the locals say that there are more than what Ayutthaya projects to its visitor and these hidden gems are really what Ayutthaya is all about! If you have already set foot on the plains of Ayutthaya, you must visit this first place that is recommended by the local which is called Wang Chang Lae Phaniat.
วังช้างแลเพนียด (Wang Chang Lae Phaniat)
If you did not already know, elephant is an animal that truly represents Thailand and it is more than just a symbol. At this place, you will see a cuter side of the elephants and their incredible cleverness. There are various shows you can observe, and you can even ride on an elephant to see several archaeological sites.
However, if you want to know more about elephants and you want to stay with them longer, you sure can! There is a place called Elephantstay which is a homestay where you can have your moment with an elephant of your dreams. You will learn how to be an elephant keeper, elephant riding techniques, elephant commands, how to feed an elephant, and even taking an elephant to a bath in a river. You will definitely see the cuteness of an elephant in a pretty fun way up close! This place has more than 60 elephants and there are different packages for you to choose which mostly depends on how long you are going to stay. You can have a one-day trip here if you want, but you have to book a schedule with Elephantstay first.
พระราชวังบางปะอิน (Bang Pa-In Royal Palace)
Let us move on to something magnificent! Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is an old royal palace, but it has been renovated to become a residence for the royal family, including to accommodate guests from foreign countries. This place is considered to be a very beautiful royal residence with various architectural styles which includes Thai, Chinese, European styles and each of the style has different angle of beauty. You can even walk inside of the royal palace and it is a place that you must visit to appreciate its beauty.
ตลาดน้ำอโยธยา (Ayothaya Floating Market)
As you might already know, there are countless floating markets and local markets, but the biggest one in Ayutthaya has to be the Ayothaya Floating Market. It is an ancient market in a Thai local style which consists of more than 300 shops. There are ancient restaurants, ancient rare snacks, souvenirs, and local shows inside of the market for you to enjoy. You can also take a boat trip around the floating market to see its amazing atmosphere. I do enjoy eating quite a lot and I think a lot of you are the same as me!
กุ้งเผา (Grilled Prawns)
A food that you must eat in Ayutthaya that you cannot miss by any means is grilled prawns. Big river prawns will be grilled in a fire which gives you a whole taste of prawns! You better eat it with Thai seafood sauce and rice as it produces an amazing combination of taste and flavor!
Cotton candy roti
This is another thing that is very delicious. The uniqueness of this menu is the sweet cotton candy filling inside that is thick like a wool. There are also various fillings you can choose. The filling is wrapped around a roti dough which gives off a great smell. Each shop is different due to many recipes here and some shops may demonstrate how to make it as well!
Other Interesting Information of Ayutthaya, Thailand
The motto for this province is “An Old Capital City, Food Larder of the Country, Poet Laureates Galore, and National Heroes”.
To get around the province
There are basically tons of ways for you to choose! You can either walk around, ride a bicycle, rent a tuktuk, take a minibus, rent a songtaew to take you around, or rent a motorbike. It depends on what suits you best!
There are quite a selection of hotels for you to choose from. However, most of them are budget and mid-range hotels which are quite cheap and have a reasonable pricing. Enjoy your stay!