Ayutthaya

Remote Wat Phra Si Sanphet Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Published on: 23-02-2018

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Ayutthaya is 76 kilometers north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins. Such ruins indicate that Ayutthaya was one of Indo - China's most prosperous cities.

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Why Ayutthaya is special ?

The ancient city of Ayutthaya, or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, The Thai capital for 417 years, is one of Thailand's major tourist attractions. Many ancient ruins and art works can be seen in a city that was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong when the Thais were forced southwards by northern neighbours. During the period of Ayutthaya being the Thai capital, 33 Kings of different dynasties ruled the kingdom until it was sacked by the Burmese in 1767.


Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya a Historical Park, a vast stretch of historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city, has been included in UNESCO's list of world heritage since 13 December, 1991.


Ayutthaya covers 2,556 square kilometers, and is administratively divided into 16 districts (Amphoes). It is conveniently accessible due to good roads and a short distance from Bangkok.


Source: http://www.ayutthaya.net/


What to explore at Ayutthaya?

1. Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the loveliest but also the most historically important temple in old Ayutthaya. Its three large chedis and numerous smaller ones make this wat - also known as the King's Temple - one of the most impressive sights in the ruined city. Two of the large chedis, the eastern and central ones, were built in 1492 by King Rama Thibodi II to house the ashes of his father and elder brother. His own ashes are interred in the third chedi, built in 1530 by his son and royal successor, King Boromaraja IV.

All three chedis were plundered by the Burmese, though they failed to find the hundreds of small Buddha statues in bronze, crystal, silver, lead, and gold now on display in the National Museum in Bangkok. Other smaller Buddha figures were also taken to the capital to be placed in Wat Buddhaisawan (now also part of the National Museum in Bangkok) and the western wiharn of Wat Pho.

You'll see the ruins of Wang Luang, the Grand Palace, to your left as you leave the wat. There is nothing left except the foundations, as the palace was thoroughly destroyed by the Burmese.

2. Wat Ratchaburana

King Boromracha II (1424-48) had Wat Ratchaburana built in memory of his elder brothers Ay and Yi, who were killed in a duel over the succession to the throne. Columns and walls of the wiharn still stand, as do some ruined chedis. The large prang with its fine figured stucco, portraying nagas supporting garudas, is exceptionally well preserved.

You'll find some interesting wall paintings in the two crypts in the lower part of the prang, likely the work of Chinese artists who settled in Ayutthaya and had the skill to harmonize such different styles as those of the Khmer and Burmese, Lopburi and Sukhothai. Two more chedis at the crossroads house the ashes of the royal brothers while a third commemorates Queen Si Suriyothai who, during a battle with the Burmese in about 1550, dressed as a man and rode into the fray on a white elephant to save her husband's life - but losing her own in the process.

3. Wat Mahathat

Immediately across the road from Wat Ratchaburana stands Wat Mahathat, which tradition claims King Ramesuen built in 1384. The central prang here is one of the old city's most impressive edifices. In about 1625 the top portion broke off, being rebuilt in 1633 some 4 m higher than before. Later it collapsed again and only the corners survived. In 1956 a secret chamber was uncovered in the ruins; among the treasures found inside were gold jewelry, a gold casket containing a relic of the Buddha, and fine tableware.

4. Chao Sam Phraya National Museum

Certainly one of the most modern buildings in Ayutthaya, Chao Sam Phraya National Museum was founded by King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1961. It houses a number of sculptures and works from different periods throughout Thailand's early history. Two highlights are a seated Buddha and a huge bust of the Buddha in the U Thong style.

5. Wat Yai Chai Mongkol

On the eastern outskirts of Ayutthaya stands the exceptionally interesting Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, its massive chedi rising from a square base surrounded by four smaller chedis. The wat, built in 1357 under King U Thong, was assigned to monks of a particularly strict order trained in Ceylon, members of which still live there. To find this wat, cross the Pasak River and take the Bangkok road, turning right about 300 m beyond the railway.

6. Wat Na Phra Men

Wat Na Phra Men is one of the few temples to have escaped destruction by the Burmese. It is not known when the temple was built, existing records showing merely that it was restored under King Boromakot (1732-58) and again during the early Bangkok period. The bot is a large, imposing building with beautiful wood carvings on the gable and door panels. Strangely, a large figure of Buddha found in the bot is dressed in royal garb, which is highly unusual.

7. Wat Suwan Dararam

Wat Suwan Dararam stands proudly surrounded by three small lakes. Built around 1700 by the grandfather of Rama I, it was extended by the rulers of the Chakri dynasty who also carried out a considerable amount of restoration work and decorated the temple with numerous paintings. Wat Suwan Dararam is the only temple on Ayutthaya island still inhabited by monks.

8. Bang Pa-in Palace

If you tire of seeing ruins and are looking for a little more modern regality, head to Bang Pa-in Palace, dating to the 17th century. Also known as the Summer Palace, this royal residence is one of the best-preserved compounds in the area. The buildings feature several architectural styles, including traditional Thai and Chinese structures, and there's also Phra Thinang Utthayan Phumisathian - a two-story Victorian style mansion. Another interesting spot is Ho Witthunthassana, the three-story, tower-style building used for scoping out the countryside and watching for royal elephants.

Hours: Daily 8 am-5 pm

9. Foreign Quarters

In its glory days, Ayutthaya drew settlers from all over the world, making the city a diverse and cosmopolitan one. As you'll see from a map, many of those lie quite close to one another so you can visit the old French, Portuguese, British, and Dutch quarters by taking a sightseeing bike ride through the area. The European influence is responsible for the number of Catholic churches in the area, including St Joseph's Church, which still stands today. Located in the French quarter, the church was built in 1666 and is a testament to the French settlers who left home to settle in what was formerly Siam.

There was also a strong Japanese presence in Ayutthaya, and there is still an old Japanese quarter. The riverside Japanese settlement was separate from the European ones, divided by the Suan Phlu Canal.

Hours: Daily 8 am-6 pm

Address: 30 Mu 11 Tambon Samphao Lom, Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

10. Elephant Stay

Tourists can bond with one of Thailand's most revered animals by spending a few days at the Elephant Stay. The minimum booking is three nights, and includes an elephant you'll care for throughout the duration of your stay - guests feed, bathe, and ride their assigned elephants.

The organization is a non-profit devoted to conservation and supporting retired elephants. In addition to providing a home for retired elephants, the organization runs an active breeding program and has seen dozens of births since 2000.

Admission: Prices begin at 12,000 THB for the three-night package for one person

Address: 34 Royal Elephant Kraal

Official site: http://www.elephantstay.com/

Other Points of Interest

Wat Thammikarat

This large temple has long been overgrown, but the ruins are still considerable. You can see sections of the terrace, the pillars of the portico, and a chedi with a crooked spire.

Sanphet Praset Palace

Located opposite the Grand Palace's sparse remains, guests can see some of the tall pillars of Sanphet Praset still standing. This palace was built in 1448, commissioned by King Boromaraja II.

Phom Phet

When you leave the temple compound, you'll see the ruins of Phom Phet, the only fort of which anything now survives, on the banks of the Menam River.

Elephant Compound

This square enclosure constructed in its present form by King Rama I was used for catching, taming, and exhibiting elephants. It is the only such compound still in existence.

Source: http://www.planetware.com

How to get to Ayutthaya?

By Car

From Bangkok, one can get to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya by various routes:

* Take Highway No.1 (Phahon Yothin) via Pratu Nam Phra In and turn into Highway No.32, then, turn left to Highway No.309 to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.

* Take Highway No.304 (Chaeng Watthana) or Highway No.302 (Ngam Wong Wan), turn right into Highway No.306 (Tiwanon), cross Nonthaburi or Nuanchawi Bridge to Pathum Thani, continue on Highway No.3111 (Pathum Thani – Sam Khok – Sena) and turn right at Amphoe Sena into Highway No.3263 to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.

* Take Highway No.306 (Bangkok–Nonthaburi–Pathum Thani), at Pathum Thani Bridge Intersection, turn into Highway Nos.347 and 3309 via Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, Amphoe Bang Pa-in, to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.

* Take Expressway No.9 (Si Rat Expressway) via Nonthaburi – Pathum Thani and down to Highway No.1 via Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, turn left into Highway No.3469 towards Bang Pahan and turn right at Worachet Intersection to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.

One can also contact a taxi for pick up at the international airport of Bangkok. For example: Car Service, phone: +66 (0) 2819 5390, email: [email protected]). Advance booking possible. ~1200Bahts one way.

By Train

The cheapest and most scenic way of reaching Ayutthaya is by train. It regularly departs from Bangkok's Hualamphong Train Station and stops in Ayutthaya. The trip takes about 2 - 2.5 hrs depending on the type of service. Second class seats(A/C) cost 245 baht, third class is just 20 baht (no reservations and seats are not guaranteed). (Fares in April 2010) Check time table here: http://www.railway.co.th/English/Time_HTML.asp (Please note that fares listed on the Thai railways site are out of date and incorrect).

Hualampong train station bangkok thailand

Also note that railway employees prefer not to sell 3rd class tickets to foreigners so if you're on a budget; do insist with a smile.) And that some train stations (for instance Bang Khen) does not appear on the sites map, and that tickets may even be cheaper. If you have local friends, they may have some good advice.

The railway station is not on the island but across the river a short ferry ride away. Walk across the main road and down the small street straight ahead. Ferry boats run every few minutes and cost 4 baht.

By Public Bus

Buses operate every 20 minutes or so from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit*) directly to Ayutthaya. First class air-con buses charge 50 baht. This trip is scheduled to be around an hour and a half, but allow at least two hours for the trip since the buses stop rather frequently and there are often jams on the roads out of/into Bangkok.

Mo Chit Northern Bus terminal Bangkok thailand

* To get to Northern Bus Terminal, take to Moh Chit BTS Station. Upon exiting gantry gates, cross the bridge on the right to go to bus-stop, and take bus service 3 or bus service 77. (air-con buses charge 12 baht, non air-con buses charge 7 baht.) Bus ride is about 10 - 15 minutes and the Northern Bus Terminal destination is the last stop for the bus services. However, buses do not stop in the Northern Bus Terminal, but at the bus stop across. Cross the bridge to get to the Bus Terminal.

Also you can take a minivan from the Victory Monument direct to Ayutthaya. Takes ~1 hour and costs 100 baht. Minivans depart every 20 minutes or so.

The buses are from 4:30AM–7.15PM. For more details, please call Tel. 0 2936 2852-66 or see the website [1] and Ayutthaya Bus Terminal, Tel. 0 3533 5304.

In Ayutthaya, the central BKS bus station is on the south side of Thanon Naresuan next to the Chao Phrom Market. songthaews to Bang Pa-In also leave from here. Some 1st-class buses to Bangkok, however, leave from the north side of the road some 500m to the west, on the other side of the khlong (canal); the queue for air-con buses is easy to spot.

From Kanchanaburi, take a local bus from the main bus station to Suphanburi for 45 baht (2 hours), then another local bus to Ayutthaya for 40 baht (1.5 hours). A taxi from Kanchanaburi costs 2000-2500 baht (2 hours).

There is also a central bus station east of town serving northern destinations. It can be reached by songthaew - ask around to find the appropriate stop.

By Minibus (Van)

Convenient minibus service (can get stuck in traffic, but makes no stops like regular buses) operates from the Victory Monument square in Bangkok. Take BTS Skytrain to the Victory Monument station, and go right on the elevated walkway - keep on it until you cross a large road, then descend - the buses are parked at the side side of the main traffic circle). The cost is usually ~70 baht, takes around 1 hour or 1 hour 20 min. It's quite convenient since you don't have to go to bus terminals (nearby Mochit) but the only problem is that the minibuses don't have much space to put big bags and have to wait until the car is fully filled.

Minibuses (van) from Kanchanaburi can be arranged by guesthouses or any tour operators for around 350 baht.

By Cruise Boat

Cruise boats run up the river from Bangkok, often stopping at Ko Kret and Bang Pa-In along the way. You'll need to book in advance as there are no scheduled services, just trips for tourists. It's a fairly lengthy trip (at least one whole day) and some of the larger boats offer (pricy) overnight tours. -- Boat from Ayutthaya to Bangkok leaves 11:30AM daily (arrives Bangkok ~4PM) = 1350 baht/person PH: 08 97662672

Grand Pearl Ayutthaya Cruise

Travelling by boat to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya is popular among foreigners since it does not only reveal the beauty as well as lifestyle of the people on both sides of the Chao Phraya River, but also reflects the life in history at the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom when the Chao Phraya River served as a channel of transportation in trading with foreign countries.

Source: http://www.ayutthaya.travel

Selling points

  • Worth a day trip from BKK
  • Remarkable historical site
  • Amazing complex of ruins
  • Great views
  • Thailand's Answer to Angkor
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Duration
5.0 days
Estimated
180.11 USD
Total travel distance
km
Number of places
18 places

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Wat Phra Si Sanphet Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

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Tips for you

  • You should hire a bike to stroll around. It's the best way to experience this area.
    Things to do
  • Don't forget to bring hats, bottle of water and sun protection. It's extremely hot in summer.
    What to bring
  • A great place for photographers
    Photography
  • People need to cover their leg and shoulder when they get into this place
    Rule
  • The bathrooms are standing thai bathrooms, meaning not many sitting toilets. Bring tissues along
    Equipment
  • There are some children who can speak English, they will give you some information about the ruins. They want to improve their English by talking to foreigners.
    Other
  • The prices are 50 baht for the major sites or 220 baht for a ticket to enter the complex of six ruins.
    Ticket and Pricing

Reviews

TripAdvisor View more

If you happen to visit Bangkok, it is highly recommended to visit Ayutthaya historical area, on your own at a very low cost. Following a tour group is more expensive and less freedom for you to wander the magnificent city. The cheap way is to go up there by train, from Hua Lam Pong station in Bangkok. It only takes about 2 hours ride. Some train may take shorter time while some may be longer. Don't worry about the timing as the ride itself is an experience and you won't feel time passing. The train fare is either 15 baht one way, or 20 baht, depending on the type of train you board. Don't worry about the exact fare, as it is exorbitantly cheap. As ayutthaya is north of bangkok, so there are so many trains that will pass through ayutthaya. Literally every train that heads north will stop at Ayutthaya. So you have many options. You can check the exact departure time at train website. Once you get off the train, just walk across the street from the train station and find shops that rent put bikes. You don't have to find it as you will easily spot the shop at first glance. Rent a bicycle, they will provide you with a map, and off you go! The city itself is not that big that you can easily cover by bicycle. Tour agent will tell you otherwise. The bike rental is less than 100 baht for one whole day. Once you are done exploring the city, just return the bike and catch a train down to Bangkok. Cheap, easy and lots of freedom!

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