I haven’t heard of Ayutthaya until my boyfriend showed me excitedly pictures of this place that is located just outside of Bangkok. Ayutthaya, which was founded in 1350, was the ancient capital of Siam (now Thailand) until it was destroyed by the Burmese army. After seeing pictures of the incredible temples and ruins, I had to put it on my bucket list. Spoiler: exploring Ayutthaya was one of my favorite things to do during my trip around Thailand!
Ayutthaya was the perfect getaway after the hustle and bustle in Bangkok. It is a calm and tranquil historical park, that was also declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park with it’s temples and Buddha statues is basically an island surrounded by several small rivers. Wandering around the ruined cities, will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The best way to get around in Ayutthaya is by renting a motorbike or a bike. You can do that near the train station. Another option is to ride a tuk tuk or to walk, if you have enough time.
Wat Phra Mahathat
Our first stop was one of the most visited sites of Ayutthaya, Wat Phra Mahathat. This temple was built in the 14th century and is one of the largest sites that you can visit. It is most famous for its Buddha head that is tangled in the roots of a Bodhi tree. It is believed that the Burmese dropped the head while trying to steal heads of the sitting Buddhas. Later, nature took care of it. For the Thai people, this is a spiritual place, where you have to stand lower than the head in order to show your respect to the Buddha.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Phra Si Sanphet was my favorite temple that we have visited! It’s an impressive complex and used to be the largest temple in the city. These three buildings, that are called chedis, where built in the 15th and 16th century. Each of them houses the ashes of a member of the royal family. This site also contained a 16 m tall Buddha that was covered in 170 kg gold, which was melted down when the Burmese conquered the city.
Our next destination was Wat Ratchaburana, which was built in memory of two royal brothers who fought to death for the succession of the throne. Pretty dramatic history for a temple! When we arrived at the temple, I just stood there for a couple of minutes and admired it. This temple made me feel tiny!
How to get there
The easiest and cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is by train. Head to the Hualamphong Train station and buy tickets for the third class, which will cost you about twenty baht. The train ride takes one and a half hours and you can watch the beautiful scenery. If you buy the third class tickets, be quick with entering the train as you won’t have any reserved seats.
Have you been to Ayutthaya? How did you like it?