Ayutthaya: A Day Trip

Back in March 2018, I visited Bangkok for my fourth time in the last 7 months. Having pretty much exhausted most of the main tourist attractions, I wanted to visit other places that I hadn’t previously been to. My girlfriend, Sita, suggested going to visit the ancient capital city of Thailand, Ayutthaya. She explained how the Burmese burnt the city leaving now ancient ruins. As someone who loves history, this got me very excited to visit!

Ayutthaya is a place that you will find fun to explore if you’re interested in learning more about Thai culture and its history. However, I know some of you won’t be interested in history, temples and ruins, and so I thought I would pre-warn you!

Modern-day Ayutthaya has been built on top of the ancient ruins left by the Burmese attack. It’s quite strange to be able to walk around an ancient city that has all the amenities of a modern day city. The two intertwined so much that it does make for a great experience to be able to compare two completely different eras at the same time.

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In this post, I won’t go into every temple that we saw in Ayutthaya, as we visited most of them and there isn’t that much to say about each and every temple! However, I will sum up the best temples, and give some tips on how we got there and how we got around the city.

Starting our trip in Bangkok, we took a minibus from Bangkok Mo Chit Bus Station which took about 2.5hours to reach Ayutthaya where we got off at the final stop. (The minibus costs 60TBH for a single ticket).

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After getting off the bus, we walked around the city a little bit before hiring push bikes for the day. Originally we were going to hire a motorbike, but decided that as everything in the city is so close together, it would be fun to cycle. The bikes cost 50TBH for the day (Until 7pm). They also give you a map which clearly shows you where all the attractions are, making it nice and easy to locate your way around the city.

Soon after getting our bikes, we set off on our temple hopping tour and started at Ayutthaya’s Historical Park, which has most of the city’s ruins. If my memory serves me correctly, it costs 50TBH per temple for non-Thai citizens and 10TBH for Thai citizens. The Historical Park is probably the main attraction of Ayutthaya. As a bit of a history nerd, learning about the history and culture of the Ayutthaya Kingdom was so interesting! The site also has a model located at the front of the park which shows you what the Kingdom used to look like before being burnt down by the Burmese.

After we had finished walking around the Historical Park, we set off on our bikes again and visited Wat Phra Sri Sanphat. This was the holiest of the temples in the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Personally, this was one of my favourites, as the architecture was just awesome. Unfortunately, like most of Ayutthaya, the temple has succumbed to the destruction of the Burmese and has taken substantial damage. Nevertheless, the damage adds to the historical importance of the building as it is where the 35 Kings of the Kingdom would come and use for royal ceremonies.

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Without a doubt, the temple that I found most interesting has to be Wat Mathathat! Its location near the Grand Palace made it one of the most important temples throughout the Kingdom. Why I find this temple so interesting is how most of the Buddha’s heads are chopped off all the statues. So when you’re walking around it’s quite a weird experience to just go past statue after statue of Buddha with no head! Another interesting point to make about this temple is that there is a Buddha head in the roots of the sacred tree. This is where most of the tourists head first so it can get quite packed. Whilst there I noticed many tourists only came to see the Buddha head in the tree and leave the site soon after. However, I would advise walking around the whole site as it makes for a really nice walk. Also, the unusual sight of headless statues makes for a thought-provoking walk on why the Burmese did this.

 

Although I was told that the Burmese were the ones that chopped off the heads as they believed gold where inside. It seems that after doing some research, it was actually looters that had cut the heads off and sold most of them to collectors in Europe and the United States. Unfortunately for Thailand, after asking for part of their heritage back they were declined as they form part of many modern-day museums.

Before we headed back to Bangkok, we decided that we should go and get some food from one of the restaurants just outside the Historical Park. The food is really good and incredibly cheap! I got a Pad Thai for only 35TBH!

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Most of the people that travel to Thailand skip out Ayutthaya as it isn’t really a place that many people have heard of before. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my day trip to see all the ruins and I am glad I delved deeper into learning about Thailand’s history.

After the fall of Ayutthaya, Thailand decided to move its capital city to Bangkok which was designed in such a way to keep out foreign invaders. For centuries Thailand had been at war with its neighbours, especially the Burmese. By moving their capital to Bangkok, they had hoped that due to the defence of the capital being a lot stronger, this would put off future invasions of the Kingdom. 

Although I am a bit of a history nerd and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Ayutthaya,  I wouldn’t recommend going for more than one day, as all the ruins can be seen if you arrive early enough. The city doesn’t really have that much more to offer bar the ruins and temples and there are better places to spend more of your time in Thailand!

Unfortunately, as I broke my phone, the only pictures I have left of my trip are saved from what I put on Snapchat so I apologise for the lack of pictures!

Check out the rest of our Ayutthaya pictures here.

Published by

3TravelBug

Hi there! I'm Emilio, I am a recent university graduate who wants to inspire people to travel the world! I am 21 years old and my aim is to travel to as many countries as possible. I currently have visited 31 different countries since 2015, with many more planned for the future.

42 thoughts on “Ayutthaya: A Day Trip”

  1. I think it’s really great to see history right before your eyes! It’s too bad about the statues being in the custody of other people, but I also think it is interesting to see a part of the history of Thailand in an European museum, for instance. It would be amazing for somebody who does not have the means to travel!

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    1. Yeah, I never saw it like that! But I guess it does allow people who would otherwise never have seen a part of history the chance. Although I’m sure there are other ethical ways this history could be shown!

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  2. My looks like we may have skipped out on a gem when we visited Thailand. I absolutely loved Bangkok and clearly there are more places to add to my list of places to check out. This place is going on that list.

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  3. I find history of such places fascinating, and also how different side can tell you a different story.. Thanks for sharing this article, interesting read!
    And btw, Pad Thai for 35 THB – I’m ready to buy my ticket to Thailand right now! 😛

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  4. Oh, I would ‘have to’ visit Ayutthaya! I love less traveled areas and the beauty, history and story of this place sounds like a lifetime memory.. Your pictures capture the ruins beautifully.

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  5. Ugh, that’s too bad about your phone! I lost my main photo archive once, and now am paranoid about syncing it to the cloud… I had a chance to visit Ayutthaya once, after a meeting in Bangkok. I was really looking forward to it, since it was an important capital way back when. But I came down with a terrible cold and had to be confined to the hotel room and missed the excursion!

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  6. Loved reading your Ayutthaya post! We were there a few months ago too and as history enthusiasts, we explored every ruin, every temple and loved every minute of it! Your blog brought back such nice memories 🙂

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  7. I have to admit I haven’t heard of Ayutthaya but I have never visited Thailand before. I surprised more people haven’t visited to learn more about Thai culture and the wonderful history including the Wat Phra Sri Sanphat Temple. Thanks for sharing,
    Jaz

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  8. Emilio, you have captured this Siamese kingdom very well. It was lovely to read about the archaeological sites with palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues.

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  9. I am not that much into architecture photography, but in Thailand, I would like to give it a try. These temples look so unusual for a European eye.

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  10. I love visiting ancient sites and therefore this ancient city of Ayutthaya is worth visiting. Also the history behind is very interesting and I never knew about it before. Very sorry that your phone got broke but putting photos on social media save you. I loved those Pad Thai noodles.

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  11. Wow! This looks like a wonderful place for a daytrip from Bangkok. I have been in Thailand for 1,5 month, but have skipped this place. It is on my list next time for sure. Wonderful pictures!

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  12. Every time I read one of your posts I end up adding another place to my travel to do list. I’m also very into history and museums so this seems right up my alley!

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  13. We are planning a visit to Thailand this year and I would love to have Ayutthaya in our itinerary. It seems really incredible. I would love to go their and explore the ancient ruins. It was interesting reading about the history of Ayutthaya and I really look forward visiting this place.

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