Just two hours from Bangkok by van, there is a hidden gem; a place I never heard of before moving to Thailand. The place, Ayutthaya. “Founded c. 1350, Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Its remains, characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of its past splendour.” (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/576)
Above: Wat Mahathat
The city is now a modern bustling town which grew up in the shadows of the ancient city. There are glimpses of the past at ever turn. Next to the 7-11 you will see a ruin of temples past. As you walk the streets you can see the towering prangs in the distance. It’s a magical site with so much history and character.
Getting there is easy.
- Take a taxi to Mo Chit 2 bus station
- Go inside and walk ahead. Tell them you want to go to Ayutthaya. (ticket is 80 baht) Note that there are NO buses to Ayutthaya, you HAVE to take a van.
- Once there you will be dropped off in front of the tuk tuk station. A tuk tuk driver will approach you and try to get you to take a ride. DO IT! Unlike most of Thailand where you can bargain down, this is a set price 300 baht for 1 hour or 1400 baht for 4 hours. The ruins are miles and miles apart, it’s hot in Thailand. Splurge ,take a tuk tuk, and let him take you to the sites. Especially if you are there for only one day. COMPLETELY WORTH IT! (Bring water but there is a 7-11 across the street from the tuk tuk station so you can buy water there)
Yep, getting there is simple. Just don’t leave your wallet on the bus like I did. But the amazing tuk tuk drivers made a lot of calls and got it back to me in 30 mins will all of the contents inside.
Seeing the sites.
There are several ways to see Ayutthaya.
- Walking: wear comfortable shoes and bring a lot of water because you will be walking for miles.
- Bike: If you are staying your hotel may offer bikes for free or a fee. We paid 20 baht for 24 hours.
- Tuk tuk: see above
- By boat: This was amazing! The hotel offered a 4 hour evening tour by boat for 200 baht. You see Ayutthaya in a different light; traveling on water is simply breath taking and an awesome experience. The sunset over the ruins was more than anyone could ask for while traveling. And it was just plan fun. (good idea if you are traveling with pre teens or teens.)
Stay for 2 days or more to explore
Each site may have an entrance fee: 20 baht to 50 baht
Buy local: On the weekends art student are outside of Wat Mahathat. Their watercolors are amazing. Don’t go cheap with them. They are students!
I hope this information helps you plan your trip to Ayutthaya. Remember to slow down an enjoy where you are. Happy travels.