Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya – Thailand
Where is it? Why visit it?
This city is just 86 km north of Bangkok and it is one of the most important destination with historical interest in Thailand.
In 1991 it was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. To understand how important was this city you should know part of its history (click on general info) or, if you are passionate about this topic you can read more details in Wikipedia – Ayutthaya Kingdom. It will help you to come to understand and imagine how they lived in the old thai culture. During your visit you can contemplate numerous and amazing ruins and temples.
When to go?
It has the same climate than Bangkok. It´s raining from May to October, the weather is cooler from November to February and the hotter season goes from March to May. So, the high season is from November to February.
Things to do
Ayutthaya is not only packed with valuable ruins, also you can find active temples and markets of local products and craft. The best option to go all over ruins is by bike, although if you want to go to further places like the floating market or certain temples maybe you should rent a motorbike or tuk-tuk or you can combine bike with tuk-tuk.
The official website describes briefly some ruins and only one temple, and it has no information about the price. The price is between 20 and 50 THB (in some ruins and temples the entrance fee is free). On this website Sawadee there is more information about attractions and temples.
I have listed below the essential places to visit in Ayutthaya:
1. Wat Phra Si Sanphet (ruins)
2. Wat Phra Mahathat (ruins). Here is the most photographed image: a Buddha head intertwined in a tree.
3. Wat Chai Wattanaram (ruins)
4. Wat Ratburana (ruins). Can be accessed to the crypt of the inside.
5. Wihaan Phra Mongkhon Bophit (Buddhist temple)
6. Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon (Buddhist temple).
7. Wat Phanam Choeng (Buddhist temple).
You can see the locations on my map.
➽ Attention visual spoiler: Some ruins can be traversed using Google Street View! 😱
Where to sleep? Where to eat?
Most travellers go on a day trip to Ayutthaya from Bangkok because in that time you can visit all the important ruins and temples. But, if you want to sleep there, there are also accommodations in the area.
Restaurants are around the main area of ruins (it isn’t nearby), so keep in mind the meal time to plan your visit in such a way that you are close to the restaurants area if you don’t want to be starving! 😛. We ended up eating in a hidden market, the food was tasty, you can see this restaurant on my map.
How to get there? How to leave?
The easiest and fastest way to go is by van from Bangkok. Some months ago, the vans departed from Victory Monument but since 25th October 2016 this stop has been removed and relocated to 3 bus stations: Mo Chit, Ekkamai and Sai Tai Mai. To go to Ayutthaya you should go to Mo Chit 2 Bus Terminal (you can see this station on my map). You should ask to the van’s driver about the departure time of the last van to be sure that you don’t lose it.
Other option that several travel agencies offer is a trip by boat to Ayutthaya from Bangkok, it’s like a cruise (or in the opposite direction: from Ayutthaya to Bangkok).
You can check other transportation options from different places in Thailand on Travelfish – Transport Ayutthaya, although don’t forget that the stop at Victory Monument was relocated and maybe this website isn’t updated.
Map of Ayutthaya
In the next map you can see all the places I’ve mentioned throughout this article (restaurant, where you can rent a bike, transport, ruins, temples, markets).
Our visit to Ayutthaya was during the first month of the hotter season: March. The temperature was between 30 and 36 degrees Celsius, it was tolerable for us: two persons from Málaga used to the hot land breeze, although we were stopping in every shadow 😄.
We rented two bikes and planned our own itinerary. The historical city is flat, so you don’t need to be fit, you only need to stand the heat. We didn’t have time enough to visit some temples located further away.
While biking we saw squirrels and a big lizard. With the exception of Wat Phra Mahathat, there weren’t too many people. At lunch time we didn’t know where to go, we didn’t see any restaurants near us. Finally, we found a market next to Wihaan Phra Mongkhon Bophit where there was a picturesque restaurant. This restaurant is in a curve of the market and it has round stone tables, some of these with doraemon’ tablecloths 😄.
We traveled by van from Victory Monument (Bangkok). I suggest to put your seatbelt because of the chaotic traffic and the way they drive, there is a big risk of accident!
Any contribution or question is welcome, please write a comment!