Thailand Adventures: Ayutthaya

Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya was once considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This historic city that flourished from the 14th to 18th centuries used to be also the second capital of Siam. The city is now an archaeological ruin, characterized by the remains of tall prang (reliquary towers) and big Buddhist monasteries, all of which give an idea of the city’s past size and the splendor of its architecture. Most of the ruins are temples and palaces which are the only buildings that were made of stone during that time.

Here are some pictures from our visit to this beautiful, historical city of Ayutthaya.

The Ayutthaya Train Station is located outside the Ayutthaya

The Ayutthaya Train Station is located outside the Ayutthaya. To get to the island itself, you have to take a short ferry ride (10 minutes) located at the ferry terminal a few meters away from the train station.

Ayutthaya is smaller than Bangkok but under the heat of the sun, walking from one temple ruin to the other can be tiring and exhausting. I suggest renting a motorbike (100 baht/24 hours) or a bicycle (30-50 baht/24 hours). There are many shops that offer motorbike/bicycle rentals. This will give you a fun and interesting experience to explore the city’s markets, parks and some temples that are located outside the main city center.

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is located on the city island in Ayutthaya’s World Heritage  Historical Park. It is the largest temple in Ayutthaya, known for its distinctive row of restored chedis (Thai-style stupas).

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is located on the city island in Ayutthaya’s World Heritage
Historical Park. It is the largest temple in Ayutthaya, known for its distinctive row of restored chedis (Thai-style stupas).

Take note that most temple ruins have an entrance fee of 50 baht although you will see the ruins even from outside and not going inside it. We paid the entrance fee for some ruins but just biked outside on some. There are so many!

Probably one of the most recognizable images from Thailand is of a stone Buddha head entwined within the roots of a tree located in a temple in Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam.

Probably one of the most recognizable images from Thailand is of a stone Buddha head entwined within the roots of a tree located in a temple in Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam.

Or you can ride an elephant like them.

You can ride an elephant like them. There are many of them especially near the ruins of Wat Phra Sri Sanphet.

Some monks visiting the ruins of Wat Phra Mahathat.

Some monks visiting the ruins of Wat Phra Mahathat.

A prang is a common shrine element of Hindu and Buddhist architecture in the Khmer empire. It is a tall tower-like spire, usually richly carved. prang is from the ruins of Wat Phra Mahathat inside the Ayutthaya World Heritage Park.

A prang is a common shrine element of Hindu and Buddhist architecture in the Khmer Empire. It is a tall tower-like spire, usually richly carved. prang is from the ruins of Wat Phra Mahathat inside the Ayutthaya World Heritage Historical Park.

These headless Buddhas can be seen inside Wat Phra Mahthat. In 1767, the Burmese attacked and destroyed Ayutthaya decapitating all of the statues of Buddha.

These headless Buddhas can be seen inside Wat Phra Mahthat. In 1767, the Burmese attacked and destroyed Ayutthaya decapitating all of the statues of Buddha.

In Ayutthaya, we stayed at Tony’s Place (200 baht/double room). It is probably one of the busiest hostels in town but there are other places that offer cheap (er) accommodation along the main traveller-oriented area on Soi Torgorsor, between Pamaphrao Rd and Naresuan Rd. When we arrived in the area, we just walked around asking a few hostels and comparing prices. We were very tired so we only compared a few hostels and decided to stay at Tony’s Place.

Wat Maha That or the Monastery of the Great Relic is inside the Ayutthaya World Heritage Historical Park.

Wat Phra Mahathat or the Monastery of the Great Relic is inside the Ayutthaya World Heritage Historical Park.

Maybe you might want to try some of the diverse foods at Ayutthaya's market. There is a food market near Wat Phra Mahathat where you can have a taste of deep fried worms and insects like these...

Maybe you might want to try some of the diverse foods at Ayutthaya’s market. There is a food market near Wat Phra Mahathat where you can have a taste of deep fried worms and insects like these…

There is a market close to Ayutthaya World Heritage Historical Park, across the ruins of Wat Phra Mahathat. The market has delicious local food so it might be a good spot to have dinner after visiting the ruins.

There is a market close to Ayutthaya World Heritage Historical Park, across the ruins of Wat Phra Mahathat. The market has delicious local food so it might be a good spot to have dinner after visiting the ruins.

More ruins!

More ruins! Note that to get inside the ruins, there usually is an entrance fee of 50 baht per person. Many times though, you can see the ruins from afar. Giraud and I paid for some ruins but just snapped photos from outside in others.

As with most hotels/hostels in Thailand, there will information and maps for tourists and guests. Make sure to ask for a map and talk to some people and/or fellow travellers about other interesting things to do in the city. 🙂

Accommodation: Tony’s Place, 200 baht/double room with fan, hot shower and WiFi

Food: Lots of food options at the public market/s and the restaurants at the main tourist area on Soi Torgorsor, between Pamaphrao Rd and Naresuan Rd

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