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Splendour of the Old Capital
If you have the money to spare, i would highly recommend you to join one of the river tour company by the Chao Phraya River, to go to Ayuttaya
It cost me about 1600 Thai BAHT per pax, including buffet lunch on board of the cruise ( lunch was good) and return transfer from the hotel i'm staying.
The cruise was very good as we saw the changes in scenery as boat went down from bangkok to Ayuttaya.
You can also take a bus from bangkok to this old capital.
- National/State Park
- Business Travel
Day Trip to Ayuthaya- the ancient capitol
Day trip Ayuthaya
For a good day trip, head north to Ayuthaya.
If you have three quarters of a day to spare and are interested in seeing the ancient capital of Thailand you can consider a day trip north on the train to Ayuthaya.
The city was sacked by the Burmese in 1767 after being the capital of the kingdom since 1350. As a result it is now a collection of ruins spread over about 10 square kilometres with a town of 40,000 people inside it.
Transport to Ayutthaya
To get there , I caught the train from the main train station HuaLampong which is at one end of the subway system. After getting off the subway, you walk about 5 minutes through an underground walkway to escalators, which take you up to the main rail station for Bangkok. Here trains leave to the provincial areas. It is a large station , air-conditioned and with a tourist desk to help you find where you get your tickets etc. I was directed to the counter and paid 15 Baht for the one and half hour train ride (third class) to Ayuthaya. There are first and second class trains which are air conditioned, but I found the third class train OK, seats were soft, windows open and they had toilets but I did not use. Enterprising people ride the train selling cold drinks and snacks.
When you get to Ayuthaya station you climb down from the train and are approached by Tuk Tuk drivers wanting you to book them for the day. There is a board setting out the Tuk Tuk rates which helps but they want 300 baht per hour which I though was a bit steep. Also, the TukTuks are not as comfortable as Bangkok , but rather mini cattle trucks where you sit on benches side on, it makes looking around a bit difficult. Paying by the hour also means you want to rush through the ruins as the meter is ticking. If there are more than two of you, this may be the best way to go but if you are on your own or with one other, I recommend hiring a motorbike taxi and negotiating each ride to each site. Alternatively hire a Tuk Tuk to each site and pay him off each time.
So, what to see.
There are ruins everywhere around the town and they can get a bit repetitive if you want to do all of them. On the half day trip you will get to see 4 or 5 of the better ones.
First on the list should be Wat Phra Si Sanphet. As this is the largest and most elaborate of the temple ruins to see. Cost for entry to this and most of the other ruins is 30 Baht. The Tuk Tuk I took (excuse homonyms), dropped me off at the back and you should plan to walk out the front. This was the Royal palace from 1350 to 1448. After having a look around (minimum 30 minutes) there are many stalls for tourists if you want to have a wander. You can walk down a long wide path from this ruin to a busy front entrance where tuk tusk and motorbike taxis are waiting. I walked across the road past tourists seeing the sights on elephants to
Wat Pra Ram
Another B20 entrance and interesting to wander around for 15 minutes but don’t go out of your way to get to it.
Next , head to Wat Mahathat.Built in 1374 here you can see a large number of Buddha statues and a key photo point is the Buddha head embedded in a tree. Also of interest here is the walk in stupa and the variety of stupa which can be seen. The ‘corn cob’or rounded top ones are Khmer style Stupa, the pointy ones are either Sri Lankan Prang (round base and round all the way up) or Thai Chedi (square base and round from the base up. All three styles can be seen here.
Next head north to Wat Na Phra Meru. This is more of an in-tact temple which survived the sacking by the Burmese, the chapel houses a rare 8 meter by 4.4 meter statue of Buddha as a prince in royal robes before he was enlightened. You can take photos inside this temple and be sure to look into the very little chapel next to it. Finally have a quick look at Wat Lokayasutharam- a huge reclining Buddha in the same pose as the one at Wat Po in Bangkok but larger. The authorities wanted to house it to protect it but the locals said no as this was the form it was in and they thought the tourists prefer it this way. The locals arrange to clothe it in the massive saffron robe you will see over it
Phom Phet Fortress- a small ruin of a fortress on the river , takes 5 minutes to see and not really worth it
There are many , man other ruins to explore but this made for a full day by the time I got back to Bangkok.
Read more: http://forum.virtualtourist.com/forum-1445238-1-Travel-Bangkok-1-forum.html#ixzz1Jg7hfJzv
- Historical Travel
In Ayuthaya stop and feed the fish and turtles.
If you arrive in Ayuthaya by long boat, the turtle sancuary is right there. Often times people bring stray animals or old pets to the Temples so they will not be destroyed. And here it is turtles, you can stop and buy bannanas to feed to them. It is quite a treat and the fish want in on it too.
Ayuthaya, an UNESCO world heritage site, is located 86 km north of Bangkok. So we went there for a day trip. We took the train ( I thought it´s the best and nicest way to get there). It´s about an hour and a half. A tuk tuk driver took us to all the interesting places. The tuk tuk was quite "expensive" by Thailand-means, but he takes you to all the intersting spots. I realized that the area is too huge for walking (and also way to hot!!!)
My favorite palces were Wat Phra Mahathat (Buddha head around which tree roots have grown) and Wat Ratburana (looks like a mini version of Angkor Wat)
A must see, but not on a tour
Ayuthaya is listed on many sites and books as a must see, so satisfy your urge, but please promise me you will not do so on a guided tour as I did, because my experience was very unsatisfying. First of all our tour guide, although nice, insisted on talking the whole time and he repeated EVERYTHING he said at least three times, I felt like I was in a twilight zone. Secondly we spent very little time in Ayutthaya and only visited a small amount of the temples, we saw none of the trees with carved faces and so on, it was mildly dissapointing. Afterwards we went to Bang Pa'in Palace, by far my least favorite tourist destination I have EVER BEEN!!!!! Basically the guided tour to Ayuthaya is one of my least favorite days traveling ever, right up there with the day I battled Montezuma's revenge in Montezuma, Costa Rica. GO and see it, but on your own accord, not on a tour!!!!!
Founded in 1351, it is estimated to have once been home to a million people. It was a major trade center until it was razed by the Burmese in 1767. It was beyond the point where they could rebuild it so the capitol was moved to a site that became Bangkok.
There is a great layout of the city in the National Museum in Bangkok.
Walking through the ruins was kind of a somber experience for me. Seeing a great city destroyed like this and now a tourist site gives you a feel the impermanence of everything.
We Love Ya, Ayuthaya
We booked a tour through our hotel that took a tour bus to the Bang-Pa In Summer Palace and then to the ruins at Ayuthaya and returned to Bangkok via a cruise down the River of Kings, the Chao Phrya. The tour was okay - not our favorite because we prefer to travel at our own pace, and the tour guide was somewhat repetitive. (I think we heard that the Burmese destroyed the capital in 1767 a few too many times.) All in all, the tour was good with the definite highlight being the old ruins. One of the coolest things about the ruins at Ayuthaya is that there is basically no security around the ruins. You are trusted to respect these ruins. Gated areas and guards are unnecessary because problems that we have in America, like vandalism and graffitti would never happen here. Anyway, for any history buffs or tourists, the old ruins are definitely a must-see activity!
Day excursions from Bangkok
Day trips outside of Bangkok:
Ayutthaya: wonderful temples, some old ones beautifully restored, reminiding of the Angkor Wat area.
Damnoen Saduak, the swimming market: go as early as possible, the market starts officialy around 6 o'clock, the tourists with the big buses start to fall in after 9-10 o'clock. Maybe you use a taxi or private driver to avoid this.
Bridge over river Kwai and Kanchanaburi: there are excursions and boat trips that are worth taking.
Erawan Ntl. Park: behind Kanchanaburi: a wonderful place for a walk in the jungle like forest, you follow a small river up. There are 7 waterfalls, one after the other. In the pools under the waterfalls you can go swimminf/bathing, so take your swim suits. I highly recomend this one! Go in the morning, when it's not too hot.
Ayuthaya is a good daytrip from Bangkok. For example if you have to wait in Bangkok for a while and you dislike the city, you should spent a day in Ayuthaya, it is accesible by train.
Ayuthaya used to be the capital of Thailand (from 1350 to 1767). And there are still remainders to see of that time, though a lot has been destroyed by the Burmese invasion of 1767.
I have been here twice, and I really like it. It was also very quiet and peaceful here. There are some beautiful stupas and the Thai try to restore a lot of the structures.
The best way to get around is to rent a bike which can be done everywhere around the old town.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Old city visit and boat trip
You can take a day trip via bus and boat. They collect you at your hotel, and then on the way you stop at the Royal Palace (gardens are amazing).You then journey on to Ayuthaya, and visit various ruins. You then taken to the river whrer you board a boat and return to Bangkok via the river...must be 40-50 kilos. Lunch on board. Cost 2 years ago was 1100 Baht per person. Well worth it. One of the best day trips I have done.
- National/State Park
- Historical Travel
I spent a night here, but you can easily leave early in the morning from Bangkok and return after sunset, as it's only 80 kms away. This city hosts the ruins of the old capital city, which was burnt by the Burmans in 1767.
People who speak English here are almost non-existant, so be patient! :)
Wat Phra Ram
This temple is next to a big pond with shady trees around it that made the walk around comfortable.
We were dropped off by the car at Wat Phra Si Sanphet and realized how huge Ayutthaya was so we walked across the street and found a guy with a tuktuk in front of Wat Phra Ram who agreed to take us around to the temples that we wanted for 75baht each.
Good thing we did because Ayutthaya is huge!
- Adventure Travel
If you are not on a round trip, Ayutthaya can be done as a day-trip from Bangkok. The city was built by King U Thong in 1350. In the 17th century, it was a commercial and cultural centre. Most of the temples and palaces have been destroyed in 1767 by the conquerors from Burma. This is a fascinating and mysterious place with great atmosphere. Better rent a tuk-tuk, the area is too big to be explored on foot.
- Historical Travel
Wat Yai Chai-mongkol
This temple isn't too close to the other temples so the driver of the van took us there first. There is a huge imposing chedi in the middle and rows of buddhas all around...and nice gardens...and bridges...and food and souvenir shops...and a lying buddha on the other side.
Beautiful place to take photos.
We could see this main prang from Wat Mahathat and almost walked in the heat just to get closer to it but when we realized that it was way on the other side, we waited for the van to come and get us so we didn't have to endure the scorching heat just to take pictures. It was as imposing up close as it was from afar.
- Historical Travel
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