How to get there and what to see in Ayutthaya in one day

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Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Ayutthaya is one of the major cities in Thailand. Known for the beautiful temple complex which attracts thousands of visitors every day, Ayutthaya is an archaeological site of fundamental importance that collects the remains of what was once theancient capital of the country, located in the valley of the Chao Phraya River a short distance from Bangkok. Its founders (the foundation took place around 1351) were inspired by the name of the Indian city of Ayodhya (which means invincible), considered the birthplace of the epic hero Rama. Following conquest by the Burmese army in the mid-1700s, Ayutthaya was sacked of all its treasures and most of the buildings razed to the ground, leading to the transfer of the Thai capital first to Thomburi and then to present-day Bangkok.



Index

  1. How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok
  2. Ayutthaya day itinerary: Morning
  3. Ayutthaya day itinerary: Afternoon
  4. Ayutthaya day itinerary: Evening
  5. User questions and comments

How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok

Ayutthaya is located just 80km from the center of Bangkok, to which it is connected by efficient means of transport. If you travel by car, keep in mind that the road system near the island consists of a single circular road, the Uthong Road, which runs along the entire perimeter. The road network inside the island, on the other hand, is organized in the shape of a grid ... Except for inconveniences, it is always better to bring an accurate map with you!

  • Taxi: convenient and fast, it takes just over an hour. The rate varies according to the point of departure and your ability to negotiate. Usually, the average cost from Bangkok is € 40,00.
  • Train: There are over 30 trains a day connecting Bangkok-Ayutthaya, which take around two hours. The cost of the ticket varies according to the train chosen (from € 0,30 in third class to € 9,00 in second class in an air-conditioned carriage).
  • busBuses / minivans depart from Bangkok every 30 minutes and take approximately one and a half hours, depending on traffic. The ticket price is around € 1,60, but if you have large luggage you will have to buy two tickets. The terminus is near the Chao Phrom Market.

Ayutthaya day itinerary: Morning

1 - Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratcha Burana

The main attraction of Ayutthaya is without a doubt the Historical Park, a wonderful collection of temples of all shapes and sizes, which can be pleasantly visited on a bicycle (rentable from around € 1 per day). Before setting off with the exploration, however, it will be advisable to have a good breakfast at one of the many cafes that you will find nearby, such as the Coffee Old City. Here, with very few euros you could enjoy one of the best breakfasts in Thailand!
After eating, it's time to start the tour starting from Wat Mahathat (the Monastery of the Great Relic), once home to the Supreme Patriarch. In 1956 the Thai Department of Fine Arts began excavating the area, recovering a priceless amount of Buddha relics and royal objects of great value. During the excavations, the famous stone face was also found set between the roots of a tree: the Head of Sandstone Buddha.
It then continues towards Wat Ratcha Burana which, with the central prang (tower) larger than the four secondary ones, recalls Mount Meru, a sacred mountain on which many Hindu deities live.



2 - Wat Phra Ram, Vihara Phra Mongkhon Bophit, Chao Sam Phraya Museum

The path continues towards the Wat Phra Ram, quite similar to the previous Wat Ratcha Burana, but still very beautiful. Also in this case, the five prangs are located inside a courtyard bordered by a rectangular arcade. Not far away, the Vihara Phra Mongkhon Bophit it houses a huge bronze statue of the Buddha (more than 15 meters high!) depicted with crossed legs and a relaxed face. Finally, the neighbor Chao Sam Phraya museum, in the center of Ayutthaya, collects an incredible collection of treasures including the royal ornaments that were given to the king during the coronation ceremony (the Sword of Victory, the Scepter, two fans, etc.). Also of great importance is an imposing stone statue of the Buddha, dating back to the sixth century.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3,2 km / 39 min
  • Places visited: Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratcha Burana, Wat Phra Ram, Vihara Phra Mongkhon, Chao Sam Phraya Museum
  • Recommended tours and useful tickets: 1 day bike tour
  • Where to have breakfast: Coffee Old City, Chikul Road, Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya day itinerary: Afternoon

1 - Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Na Phra Nem

Let's retrace our steps only momentarily, to enjoy the excellent Thai cuisine at the restaurant Ayutthaya Heritage: with € 7 you can fill your stomach and feel very satisfied. After lunch, there is no time to rest: what is the most important temple of the ancient capital awaits us, taken as an example for the construction of Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok. We are talking about the Wat phra si sanphet, for the exclusive use of the sovereign and members of the royal family. The monumental complex, with the entrance facing the rising sun, is characterized by three main Chedi with a shape reminiscent of a bell, the Royal Chapel, as well as many galleries, a sanctuary and several minor structures. Unfortunately following the Burmese invasion, the temple was damaged and all the gold decorations were removed, yet it still retains all its beauty.
In front of the complex, crossing the bridge that connects the artificial island of the Historical Park with the other shore, you then arrive at Wat Na Phra Nem (the Monastery of the funeral pyre), used as a royal crematorium.



2 - Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Wat Phra Phanan Choeng

Once you leave the artificial island, just follow the course of the Chao Phraya river (luckily we rented a bike!) To come across many other sites of historical interest including the Wat chaiwatthanaram: it is one of the most grandiose religious complexes in Ayutthaya! Today perfectly preserved, Wat Chaiwatthanaram has an outer wall more than 2 meters high, an inner wall and eight funeral pyres, distributed at the cardinal points. Continuing west (towards the confluence of the Chao Phraya and Pa Sak rivers), you will find the Wat Phra Phanan ChoengAccording to a legend, a Thai ruler asked the daughter of the Chinese emperor, Princess Soi Dok Mak, to marry. Humiliated, however, by the betrothed who did not welcome her upon her arrival in Ayutthaya, the Chinese princess decided to commit suicide. It was then that the complex was built on the site where Soi Dok Mak was cremated.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 16,7 km / 3 h 25 min
  • Places visited: Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Na Phra Nem, Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Wat Phra Phanan Choeng
  • Where to have lunch: Ayutthaya Heritage, Naresuan Road, Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya day itinerary: Evening

1 - Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon and dinner

Since all the temples and monuments of Ayutthaya close around 18 / 18.30pm, it will be better to postpone dinner to be able to enter the Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, built to honor King Naresuan's victory over the legitimate heir to the Burmese throne. Although this complex is not as impressive as others visited during the day, it certainly deserves to be taken into consideration, especially since one of the most revered Buddha images in the whole kingdom is kept in the Hall of Ordination.

Before taking the train that will take you back to Bangkok, I recommend that you stop and eat at The Seven Seas Restaurant, specializing in local cuisine (although from the western environment you would not think!). Spending between € 2,00 and € 7,00, you can enjoy a delicious dinner just before returning.



In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3,8 km / 48 min
  • Places visited: Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
  • Bike tour at sunset
  • Where to dine: The Seven Seas Restaurant, Talat Grand Soi, Ayutthaya

Before leaving: useful tips

  • Best time to visit: the period from May to August is one of the best to visit the Gulf of Thailand and therefore the nearby Ayutthaya. Temperatures are pleasant, usually between 28 ° and 32 °.
  • Recommended clothing: given the tropical climate that can change easily, don't forget an umbrella and a sweatshirt at home. Also remember to dress appropriately in temples, avoid shorts or tank tops
  • Info on ticket: to access the Ayutthaya Historical Park, you need to buy the entrance ticket which costs from € 0,50 to € 1,50 depending on the monuments you intend to visit. Remember that the tickets that identify the attractions are colored blue and that, in the vast majority of cases, credit cards are not accepted. To facilitate your visit, in case this is grouped in the course of a single day, there is also a cumulative ticket worth 220 baht (€ 5,80) which allows you to visit several temples at once

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

  1. Bang Pa-In Royal Residence
  2. Chan Kasem Museum

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