“The doors of wisdom are never shut” – Benjamin Franklin
Step back into history for in Ayutthaya, Thailand
Wouldn’t it be nice just to have a weekend away from everyone and just explore a new city/town that you have never before? I wanted a weekend just to myself and explore a new place, I had to spend 1 night in Bangkok and then I have decided well I have only a weekend so I can’t go too far so I have decided let’s go to Ayutthaya and also because I have seen photos of it and was really interested to experience it. Maybe you have heard of this ancient city and if you haven’t visited it yet, I would suggest please do, you will have the time of your life well at least I had. Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. Ayutthaya was found in 1350. The city was attacked and razed by the Burmese army in 1767 who burned the city to the ground and forced the inhabitants to abandon the city. The city was never rebuilt in the same location and remains known today as an extensive archaeological site. This city is mainly characterized by the prang (high towers) and large palaces.
I always think we should keep history alive. Every town or city has a story to tell even if it’s sad or good – and we are all connected.
Sometimes people talk about the “Venice of the East”
This was my first time and I’ve seen photos of it but never went to visit but thought this could be great weekend spending in a beautiful and interesting city before heading to South-Africa for holidays. I had originally planned just to go there one night and then go to Kanachaburi but then I have ended up staying in Ayutthaya for 2 nights. If you like history you will love this city.
So this is all where my journey started from Bangkok. I left early from Bangkok on a humid Saturday morning and took the minivan from Mo Chit bus station in Bangkok to Ayutthaya. I had some luggage so the minivan will charge you extra when you do have luggage, so just keep that in mind. I didn’t care as I just wanted to get there, I was so excited. The trip didn’t feel long at all. I love that feeling going to a new place, knowing that you could walk around the city, eating different food, meeting new people, take photos and just explore. The rest of the passengers in the minivan were all sleeping, while I was looking out of the window and just observed my surroundings. The road was very busy but I guess it’s because was a weekend.
I first went to my hotel which was a 2 star but it was something totally different and a perfect location. It’s called the lumni village, its owned by Thais but their English is good and they were extremely helpful with information, about tours and just everything in general. It’s a real homey and welcoming feeling I’ve experienced and having said that I will go back anytime. They have only 6 rooms but I wanted a different experience so that is why I have booked it. It’s this old wooden stairs as you go up to your room with a big lock with wooden frames around the windows and you have a view of a river and you don’t wake up from traffic, I woke up from a rooster, it felt like I was on a farm but I have loved it. You can hire a bicycle from them for 60 baht a day and they serve breakfast too. Its only a 5-10 min walk from the local markets and really close to a 7 eleven, the historical park and the street its located it’s very quiet. I will definitely recommend this is if you are looking for something different but I think its more suitable for either couples, friends or if you are traveling solo. I wouldn’t recommend it for families with little kids as there are lots of stairs to go to your room.
This was my first time to Ayutthaya. This ancient and historical city has a special charm to it. My first day I went to the historical park to see the temples and I remember I have walked there and just stood there and admire this amazing temples that have got so much detail in it and I have just admired it, even if it was a super hot day, I have enjoyed every minute of it. The first temple I went to see is called the Wat Rachaburana which stands out for having large prang recently restored. Wat Ratchaburana was founded in 1424 by King Borommarachathirat II of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and built on the cremation site of his two elder brothers. The two brothers had fought to their deaths in a duel for the royal succession to their father Intha Racha. You can climb inside the prang for stunning views. The mysterious staircase down leads to 2 unrestored rooms with original paintings still visible on the wall. It’s really fascinating and the detail is amazing, I am so glad I have experienced that.
Then I went to a second Temple that day and that is called Wat Mahathat. In case you didn’t know “wat” in Thai means Temple. The Wat Mahathat Ayutthaya is located in the center of old Ayutthaya, between Chi Kun Road and Naresuan Road in the northeast corner of Phra Ram Park.This is a large temple that was quite thoroughly ransacked by the Burmese. Here you can also find the famous tree that has grown around the Buddha head. Its really a remarkable place.
That evening I went to the local market and had the most amazing dinner. It taste like coconut and then they put different fillings in for example corn or other sort of vegetables and then they roll it almost the size of a ball. I love trying new things.
Then my second day after waking up from a rooster and had the most amazing breakfast and hot coffee. Then I went back and enjoyed a river cruise, it takes about 2-2 and a half hours. The tuk tuk pick you up from your hotel, take you to the pier and then you go on a boat trip and then you can visit 3 temples and the last temple you spend a little bit more time to see the sunset.
The first temple that you visit during the river cruise is called the Wat phanan choeng, the second one is called Wat phutthsi sawsn and the last one is called the Wat chaiwatthanaram where you can enjoy a spectacular sunset.
So here are some tips or suggestions:
- Stay at least 2 nights if you can
- Stay close to the historical park then you don’t have to drive too far, location is always an important part
- Wear a hat and sunblock and drink lots of water – its really humid.
- The entrance of the temples will cost around 50 baht per temple.
- Getting around Ayutthaya – there is tuk-tuks but for me riding a bicycle was so much more fun.
- Try market food at least one of the nights
- If you have a thai silk outfit, wear it just to take photos at the temples – I didn’t do it but a lot of people dressed up, even little babies got dressed up and just imagine that photos and memories you will afterwards.
- Make sure you have enough space on your camera or photo as I couldn’t stop taking photos
- Just stop, stand and take in all your surroundings, for me personally I’ve loved just to stand there, look at the views and the detail of that temples.
- Apart from temples, there are always museums to visit and the Japanese village
- If you go to temples please try to be respectful and keep your voice down, sometimes tour groups go in those temples and shout, make so much noise and you have to keep in mind its still a highly respectable place
I will never ever forget this weekend and I am so grateful for this amazing experience I had.
Hi there! My name is Ané du Preez and I am from South-Africa but currently teach and live in Thailand. I am a writer and a solo traveler. I love learning about other cultures and traditions. My interest started when I was only a child and my grandparents shared their travel stories through pictures, stories, and writing. This blog is to share my wonderful adventures with all of you. I’ve been discovering the gems of mother nature and its amazing people. Join me as we venture into the beauty and inspiration that is all around us. I am an advocate for all to live their life to the fullest. To travel is to live!