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!!!!!
temple city, ayutthaya, is a worthwhile trip a short distance away from bangkok. indeed, there's no shortage of temples here but what makes it even more special is that ayutthaya was once the capital of thailand before the burmese invasion in the mid 1700s. you can see how majestic the city had once been with the ruins that you can see now. travelers who love history and archaelogy would go gaga over ayutthaya.
some temples with khmer (hindu inspired) style are reminiscent of the world famous angkor wat. another architectural style is the sukhothai with more pointed stupas.
you can allot a day to explore ayutthaya in a relaxed pace by renting a tuk tuk. unfortunately, during our visit, we took the slow train from bangkok. we arrived at 3PM and only had a few hours before the temples closed at 6 PM. we managed to see the famous ones - wat phra si sanphet, wat mahathat and wat yai chaimongkohn.
Having experienced the glorious excesses of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, balance it with the ruins of Ayuthaya - an easy day trip (or more) from the city. See what is underneath all that gilt and decoration.
(See separate Ayuthaya page)
Ayuthaya probably should be counted as a wonder of the world. The imposing structures are incredible and you can't help but feel amazed when you stand on the stairs of one of the magnificent buildings. Ayuthaya is a World Heritage Site.
The city lies in ruins after the Burmese destroyed it in 1767 but before that, it was the capital city of Siam for more than 300 years. One of the more impressive Wats avoided destruction and still boasts impressive wood carved ceilings and a 6m crowned buddha, and a green-stone buddha seated in a European chair dated back some 1300 years. Of the remaining buddhas in Ayuthaya, many had the heads chopped off by unscrupulous traders or raiding Burmese.
Ayuthaya is located about an hour drive from Bangkok and it is recommended either rent a private vehicle/driver or go on a tour. We rented a van and driver for the day and were quite happy to go around with our guidebooks and explore the sights ourselves. Another friend in a previous trip took a guided tour with a river cruise and they were happy with the result. There are also regular buses and train service to Ayuthaya.
Catch a cruise boat, train or coach up to Ayuttaya, the ancient city. This city used to be the capital of Thailand until King Taksin decided to shift it to Thonburi, where it is now.
The temples on the Chao Phraya river here are fascinating.
While there has been significant damage done to these temples when the Burmese fought the Thais many moons ago, it only adds to the history of the place!
We decided to join this tour to Ayutthaya on this visit to Thailand. It's like being on the set of Tomb Raider :p. Lickily our tourist guide spoke good english so he was able to explain the sights to us well. This is where the capital of Thailand used to be & was destroyed because of their war with the Burmese. It was once a luxurious city with lots of Buddhist monasteries.
For this trip, we paid $65USD with included transfers form the hotel to ayutthaya, a cruise on the Chao Phraya River via Shangrila cruise and buffet lunch catered by the Shangrila Hotel.
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! :)
At the confluence of theh Lp Buri. Pasak and Chao Phraya rivers. Ayutthaya was created as an island city. It was surrounded by a 12km fortified wall and crisis-crossed by 140km network canals. At the 17 century height of its power it had an estimated population of one million, three major palace complexes and some 400 temples. Many of the buildings were lavishly decorated with gold. Protuguese, Dutch, French, British & Japanese trade factories made it truly cosmpolitan city. I like that ancient building ! Maybe next time I'll visit there at night , it will be more mysterious ! And I prefer to take a boat trip to travel ! It may be very romantic !!
This makes a lovely getaway from Bangkok...just 1.5 hours journey by train or coach from Bangkok.
For more details, please access my IMPREXXION: AYUTTHAYA page.
Ayuthaya, an old city on the outskirts of Bangkok is definitely worth a visit for its magnificent ruins. Ayuthaya is a compact city that can easily be explored in one day by hiring a taxi or tuk-tuk. The tuk-tuks are three wheeled vehicles with a canopy at the back that shields the passengers from rain and sun. These tuk tuks can be hired for about 200 Thai Baht per hour (rate set by tourist police). However, you can easily bargain this rate down if you hire them for half day to a day. For a 5 hour trip, expect to pay around 600 Baht and for a whole day about 1000 Baht. There are quite a number of places to see in Ayuthaya such as Wat Phra Mahathat, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Na Phramen etc. The tuk tuk drivers carry a map of the historic sites of Ayuthaya and this is indeed a wonderful map. Follow this and you will be able almost all of Ayuthaya's major attractions.
If you're interested in history, or ancient architecture, don't miss this place. This city is used to be the capital of the Thai Kingdom. The ruins are too large to explore in one visit, but if you think ruins is ruins, nothing special with it, then 30 minutes would be enough.
Don't forget to bring water and hat. You will need it!
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.
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.
About 86km north of Bangkok is the former Thai capital of Ayuthaya. The city's large collection of 16th - 18th century temples and ruins is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can take a bus from Bangkok's northern terminal or train from Hualamphong railway station. Train ticket is THB 15, virtually free...
To visit a place and appreciate it, i think a look into its history is a must. That was the motivation behind our visit to the 2nd capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya.
It was the capital for all of 417 years. In that time, it was attacked by Burma twice and the second time, it was so totally destroyed that no attempts were made to rebuild it. Nevertheless, it is a majestic sight when one is within it, even though they are just ruins now.
You could just feel how grand, how historical, and how beautiful it must have been at its peak. If a person visits Europe for its castles and fortresses, then, Ayutthaya would be its equivalent in South East Asia.
For more pictures, check out my travelogue.