Tour to the Ruins of the Ancient city of Thailand – AYUTTHAYA
A great idea to go to an offbeat exploration from Bangkok is a days trip to the former royal capital of Ayutthaya. Ransacked and burned to the ground by the invading Burmese in 1767, the ruins of this once great kingdom now comprise an historical park & a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ayutthaya sits on an island at the confluence of three rivers – Lopburi River, the Chao Phraya River and the Pa Sak River. To explore the island, Travstore offers its service to travel by train, group tour bus or private vehicle, whichever is suitable to your pocket.
Since the place is located on an island, you need to catch a ferry to cross the river towards the historic heart of Ayuthayya. The temples (or ‘wats’) of Ayutthaya range from bustling centers for prayer and worship, through to sacred, rocky ruins. With a huge number of holy sites scattered around the town and surrounding areas, exploring them on foot would make for a momentous task. The best way to explore the ruins is to catch a tuk tuk where the driver will also act as your guide sharing his wealth of local knowledge.
Here are few stops that is a must visit while travelling in an around the ancient city
1. WAT YAI CHAI MONGKOL
Located southeast of Ayutthaya across the Pridithamrong Bridge, it is one of the most visited destinations by tourists & worshippers.
The center of the temple is the tall chedi (or stupa) made from red brick, wrapped in orange cloth, and leaning like the Tower of Pisa. Arranged around the stupa lay ornate, green gardens, populated by tropical birds and white stone buddhas that are clothed with orange fabric.
Although the grand chedi at Wat Yai Chai Mongkol is held sacred by the monks who still live and worship here, visitors are permitted to enter during the day.
There is also a replica of reclining Buddha on the site. Many people attempt to stick coins on the foot of Buddha as a sign of good luck.
2. WAT PAHANAN CHOENG
Not far from Wat Yai Chai Mongkol & located on the banks of Chao Phraya river there is another active temple called the Wat Phra Chao PhananChoeng. The temple here is known to serve Buddhists from all walks of life. The temple charges an entrance fee of 20 Baht from its visitors .
The main attraction of this temple is the 19 meter high giant gold statue of Buddha. Quite similar to the Bangkok’s Wat Pho & reclining Buddha, but this one is in seated form. Also another striking feature of this temple is flower strewn figure of Lord Ganesha where deity’s offer homage to him.
3. WAT PHRA SI SANPHET
Surrounded by the historical park, this place is also known as Ayutthaya’s Ghost Temples. Here visitors can take a ride on an elephant, watch a monkey show or shop in the market zones.
Visitors at Wat Phra Si Sanphet are given free range to explore the ruins, presided over by the three grand chedis. The three chedis themselves are believed to contain the relics and ashes of Ayutthaya’s greatest rulers: King Trailok, King Borom Ratchathirat III and King Rama Thibodi II. The passage to the dome is narrow, making you squeeze your elbow & knees, pitch dark, howling with bats etc thereby making you believe in ghosts.
4.WAT PHRA MAHATHAT
Remains of this site are mostly in crumbles, yet an entrance fee of 50 Baht is charged from the visitors because of its interesting features offered. Here the decapitated stone head of a Buddha has fallen amongst the roots of a tree – and over the course of several hundred years, has become absorbed into the wooden tangle. How the tree grew to surround the statue remains a bit of a mystery, but many think that during the period when Ayutthaya was overthrown by the Burmese and then abandoned, nature took over, eventually creating this world famous attraction.
While these ruins are definitely worth exploring, your trip will remain incomplete without buying roti sai mai – it’s the most famous kanom wan the city has to explore. Sugary candy floss is added to the thin crepe, rolled up & eaten like a taco. You will come across many vendors selling roti sai mai in Ayutthaya & this is something you must sample during your visit.
So next time you visit Bangkok, take a day ride or spend few days in the ancient city & explore its rustic remains.