Ayutthaya Travel Guide
At the junction of the rivers Lopburi, Prasak and Chao Phraya, the town stands where the Lopburi, Prasak and Chao Phraya meet. The old city was founded as early as 1350. During the next 417 years it was ruled by 33 kings and suffered 23 Burmese invasions, before the Burmese finally managed to destroy it to the ground in 1767. Despite the fact that Ayutthaya was surrounded by a 12-kilometer wall five meters thick and six meters high.
When is better to rest in Ayutthaya?
Thailand is a tropical country, and the best time to relax here is the winter months, as in other Thai resorts. But the sea as such is not here, people who are interested in history go here, the main attractions – it’s ancient Buddhist temples, so when you choose to visit is not necessarily guided by generally accepted norms. If you go in the summer months, the plus side to your vacation will be fewer visitors and lower prices in hotels. The minus is the temperature, which is five degrees higher than in winter. Moreover, I would not say that in the summer it is not crowded – in some tourist spots was crowded in June – such as the Royal Palace or the temple Wat Phananchoeng. Perhaps these places are receiving more attention from travel agencies – I do not know, I went here on my own. The rain, which, by logic, should go in the rainy season, I was not noticed. Definitely do not need to go in the fall – then there are heavy rains and as a result of this, flooding. I remember with what a shock I saw the picture of a flooded temple Wat Chaiwatthanaram, on the territory of which I was walking in June 2011, and in October there were floating on boats)))
If you are going to Ayutthaya with children, then it is probably better to go in the tourist season – in winter – because at this time the heat is not as strong, it does not rain at all, and all those who work to provide comfort for tourists and their children – guides and animators – are at work, so that you will feel quieter, and.
How to get there?
Ayutthaya is not a beach resort, but the historical capital of Thailand at the time when it was Siam, and therefore think about what would spend there the whole vacation, it makes little sense, unless of course you are not a historian and do not spend here a scientific work and research. But here to see Ayutthaya is a must. Of course, there is no monumentalism and pathos of Cambodia Angkor, still interesting. And a little different culture, although similar.
Located sacred city, 60 kilometers from the modern capital and get to it is not difficult. The most extreme and miserable way is by train. They run from Hualampong station, with a frequency of about an hour, but it is better to clarify in advance, because there are also breaks. Travel time is one and a half to two hours. Not very comfortable, a minimum of comfort, but cheap. Only 15 baht, plus 3-4 more baht to the ferry on arrival, to get directly to the sites.
The second option, buses. Economy option is a public transport that departs from Thanon Naresuan Bus Station (city center). The option is more comfortable compared to the train, but knowing the traffic in Bangkok, you can safely put on the estimated travel time an hour and a half of dull jostling on the road. You’d better take a tuk-tuk to the North Terminal, avoiding all traffic jams and then take a bus. The ticket from the center costs 53 baht, but I don’t know how to get there from the North Terminal.
From the Victory Monument to Ayutthaya there are local analogues of a shuttle bus, or… read in full.
What to see in Ayutthaya?
Ayutthaya (or Ayutthaya) – a historical city in the valley of the Chao Phraya River. The city is very old, it was founded in the middle of the 14th century. He, his family, and his entourage came to this place to escape a smallpox outbreak in Lopburi where he had previously lived and ruled. He liked the place so much that he even proclaimed it his capital. Thus Ayutthaya became the second capital of the great Siamese state. Since that time in the city are the remains of the structures of that time – prangi (towers) and monasteries. Scientists prove that by the early 17th century Ayutthaya was very populous city – there were already 300 thousand people.
The ancient city of Ayutthaya: how to go and what to see
Everyone knows about the former capital of Siam, and tourists gladly go to see the ancient ruins. We will tell you about the famous temples of Ayutthaya and the Buddha’s head. Learn how to get to the city from Bangkok and Pattaya and where to stay.
Exchange rate: 1 Thai Baht (THB) ≈ 1.5 RUR.
Ayutthaya – the ancient capital of Thailand
When we first visited Ayutthaya, it was hard to believe that we are looking at one of the largest cities of the Middle Ages. A few centuries ago the city was home to half a million people, almost 400 temples and 29 military fortifications. The historic part of the city is small these days. The ruined temples are surrounded by a park and 1-3 story buildings.
Surprisingly, the ancient ruins do not leave an oppressive impression. On the contrary, the old capital of Siam is a beautiful and majestic city. It resembles an old man, which quietly lives out its age in a loving family.
If you want to visit a quiet place, covered with legends, be sure to go to Ayutthaya! The ancient city will give you a pleasant experience and peace of mind. After visiting here, we began to better understand the attitude of Thais to their history and Buddhism.
Ayutthaya is one of the seven places to visit from Pattaya.
Prangi in Ayutthaya (Photo: @ryasnyansky / unsplash.com)
Temples of Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya was ruled by 35 kings from 1350 to 1767. Temples and stupas were covered with gold and precious stones. More than 300 temples remain of their former splendor, but most have been totally or partially destroyed. The large wats Ayutthaya entrance costs 50 baht, and the smaller temples – 20 baht.
Wat Ratcha Burana Ayutthaya was founded in 1424. The main prang is surrounded by four Lankan stupas. Climb the steep stairs and you’ll discover faded medieval frescoes.
At Wat Thammikarat, roosters are revered. Around a lot of greenery. There are colorful statues of roosters, and there is a Buddha’s head in a bowl that resembles a lotus.
The largest monument in Ayutthaya is Viharn Phra Mongkhol Bophit . The ancient Buddhist wat was destroyed by the Burmese, but it was completely rebuilt in the 1920s and 1930s. A large bronze sculpture of Buddha with a height of 12.5 meters is considered a local relic. Next door is the medieval Wat Phra Si Sanphet with three large stupas.
One of the popular attractions in Ayutthaya is the huge statue of the Lying Buddha. The stone statue near the temple Wat Lokkayasutharam is covered with a cloth of orange.
What else to see . Life in the city is measured and simple, unlike the hustle and bustle of Thailand’s capital and resorts. Enjoy the everyday life of ordinary Thais. See how they shop and cook dinner close to home.
We suggest you take a walk to the river. You will see thickets of green plants floating on the water, fishermen and large covered boats where people live. A great place to catch your breath in the shade of the trees by the water is the green Rama Public Park. There are neat bridges across the bodies of water.
In addition to the temples, the city has several museums, there are colorful Thai markets, a picturesque fortress Pom Phet and the elephant village.
Main Prang (behind) and Lankan stupas (Photo: @ryasnyansky / unsplash.com)
Famous Buddha Head
Ayutthaya’s most famous monument is the stone Buddha head in the roots of a tree. It is located at Wat Mahathat : 14.356634, 100.568425. According to legend, Buddhist monks buried the severed part of the statue by the Burmese under a nearby tree. Over time, the ficus grew and the head rose above the ground.
Every day a lot of tour groups come to the tree. Everyone wants to see the symbol of Ayutthaya and take pictures of it. Do not copy the tourists, for whom all of Thailand – solid attraction. Respect the religious feelings of Thais! According to Buddhist tradition it is forbidden to turn your back, take pictures against the background of the Buddha and take pictures near the head in full size.
Stone Buddha head in the roots of a tree (Photo: @kkittipongg / unsplash.com)
How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok and Pattaya
Tripster offers individual and group tours to Ayutthaya:
Day tours from Pattaya sell from 2,100 baht. Approximately the same amount we spent on our own trip for 2 days with the road, overnight stay, entrance tickets to the wats and food. We advise to go on your own, without a travel agencies. You will see the ancient city without rushing, at a comfortable pace and get a lot more pleasure.
There are no direct buses from Pattaya to Ayutthaya. A cab ride of 200 km one way is expensive – from $90. At the North Street Bus Station in Pattaya take a bus to Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok.
How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok? From Mo Chit to Ayutthaya from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm minivans and buses are available in half an hour to hour intervals. The trip takes an hour and a half. It depends on traffic. The fare is 56-70 baht. At the cashier’s office ask so that you understand the Thais – Ayutiya, with an accent on the last syllable.
Buses for 250 baht go from Kaosan Street. Another way to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is by train. Trains run from Hua Lamphong Railway Station once every half hour. The fee for a 3rd class train ticket is 15 baht.
Hua Lamphong Station (Photo: unsplash.com / @ryz0n)
Hotels in Ayutthaya
There are so many attractions in Ayutthaya that it is impossible to see them in one day. For this reason, many tourists come with an overnight stay. In Ayutthaya there are more than 150 hotels – from inexpensive gesthouses to luxury hotels with swimming pools and tropical gardens. There are proposals in any season, so do not necessarily have to book accommodation in advance.
You can stay in any part of the city. We advise to stay in the center, closer to the ruins. A double room at the Classic Kameo Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Ayutthaya 5* costs $78. A room for two with air conditioning in a 3* hotel will cost $25-30, and in a budget gesthouse – from $11 per night.
Room at the Classic Kameo Hotel (Photo: Classic Kameo Hotel & Serviced Apartments / booking.com)
Almost all attractions in Ayutthaya are outdoors. It is best not to arrive in the heat or during the monsoon rains. It is most comfortable to walk around the city during the dry season – from late November to late February. To get around in a day, leave early.
It is better to move around the ancient city by transport: tuk-tuk, bike or bicycle. Local tuk-tuks have an original design. Nowhere else in Thailand we have not seen such shaped, shiny in the sun hulls. Drivers take tourists all over the city. Everyone has a diagram of Ayutthaya with the main monuments. Choose a route – and off you go! The driver will slow down where necessary, and wait while you explore the ruins and take pictures. The average price per hour is 250-300 baht. A trip of 3 hours from Ayutthaya bus station cost us 600 baht.
If you like to travel by bicycle, take a two-wheeled vehicle for rent – 50 baht per day. Prices for motorcycles start at 200 baht.
As in any city in Thailand, Ayutthaya has no problem with food. On the streets you will find restaurants, cafes and eateries for locals. Perhaps only macashnikas in Ayutthaya less than in Bangkok or Pattaya. In the evenings in front of the temple Wat Mahathat begins working night market, where they sell plenty of food. Prices are the usual – 40-100 baht per serving.