Saturday, 10 March 2012

Things to Remember About Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is worth remembering, it really is. I have good memories of this old city of Thailand. I have two friends from Bangkok who show me around and explore its historic ruins, its history, and how it looks at the present time.


Ayutthaya is located approximately 80 kilometres north of Bangkok. History tells us that Ayutthaya was the Thai capital for more than 400 years.  During this period, Thai Culture flourished, and Ayutthaya became a centre for international commerce.
The present day city is located at the confluence of the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak and Lopburi rivers.  A canal joins them and encircles the town. 


To me, Ayutthaya is a relatively low-key site. It is quiet and I feel I can spend all day relaxing while enjoying the history of what this ancient site is all about.  A whole day going around the city is just worth it.  


Kwan and Denchai, are beautiful people in and out.  This young couple are God send.  Few minutes of exchanging ideas in the lobby of Umeda Building in Osaka Japan is long enough to understand each other and be a long time friends as what we are now.  Right there and then, they invited us to give them a call when we are in Bangkok. It is a coincidence that Thailand is in our itinerary and the last leg of our five-Asian journey. We literally painted the town red, both in Bangkok and Ayutthaya.  


Although we did not use public transport in exploring Bangkok and Ayutthaya, I want to make sure you read the information below to help you in going around conveniently in these two beautiful cities. You will see below public and private transport direction between Bangkok and Ayutthaya.

By Bus
  • There are direct air-conditioned buses that leaves Bangkok every half an hour from the Northern bus terminal on Phaholyothin Road starting 5:30 am until 7:20 pm.  Call this telephone to confirm: (Tel. 537-8055-6)

  • There are regular or non air-conditioned buses that leaves for Bang Pa-In, Bang Sai, and Ayutthaya many times daily from 5:30 am-7:20 pm.  The number to call to confirm this information (Tel. 272-5761-5 ext. 117)

By Car
  • Take Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin Road.) then take Highway No. 32 to Ayutthaya.
  • Take Highway No. 304 (Chaeng – Watthna Road.) or take Highway No. 302 (Ngamwongwan Road.) ; turn right to Highway No. 306 (Tiwanon Road.), then take Highway No. 3111 (Pathum Thani – Samkhok – Sena) and turn right at Amphoe Sena to Highway No. 3263
  • Take Highway No. 306 (Bangkok – Nonthaburi – Pathum Thani Road.) then take Highway No. 347
 By Train
  • Trains leave Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong Rama IV Road  daily every hour starting from 6:40 am until 10:00 pm. Call this number to confirm the information:   (Tel. 2230710,2230720) 

If you are staying in Ayutthaya for a couple of days and you have the time to explore the neighbouring places, you may plan your trip based on the following information. Notice that District is the English for Amphoe. Distances from Ayutthaya are enumerated below for your convenience.
  • Amphoe Bang Ban 10 kms.
  • Amphoe Bang Pa Han 13 kms.
  • Amphoe U-Thai 15 kms.
  • Amphoe Bang Pa-In 17 kms.
  • Amphoe Wang Noi 20 kms. 
  • Amphoe Sena 20 kms.
  • Amphoe Nakhon Luang 20 kms.
  • Amphoe Maharat 25 kms.
  • Amphoe Phak Hai 29 kms.
  • Amphoe Bang Sai 34 kms.
  • Amphoe Pha Chi 35 kms.
  • Amphoe Ban Sai 45 kms.
  • Amphoe Ban Phraek 53 kms.
  • Amphoe Tha Rua 60 kms.
  • Amphoe Lat Bua Luang 65 kms.

If you think you can stay a couple more days, going to the neighbouring provinces is recommended.  The following distances can be used to make your plan for this particular journey. Notice the distances in kilometres are from Ayutthaya:

  • Ang Thong 31 kms.
  • Suphanburi 53 kms.
  • Saraburi  63 kms.
  • Bangkok: 76 kms.

Ayutthaya Sights


The main historical sights lie in the northwest corner of the island. These sights can easily be explored on foot or, better, bicycle. A number of other very interesting sights can be found on the banks of the rivers opposite to the city, but these are much more spread out. You may need to rent a motorcycle or samlor to explore these.


In addition to the ruins listed here, the inner city is also home to two or three museums worth a visit.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet
The three bell-shaped chedis of Wat Phra Si Sanphet have practically become a symbol of Ayutthaya. The temple stands almost in the centre of the main area of the old capital.
Wat Phra Ram
Just across the street from Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the towering prang of Wat Phra Ram, an excellent example of a Khmer style temple from the beginning of the Ayutthaya period.
Wat Ratburana
Closer to the current city centre, Wat Ratburana was built in 1424 to hold the ashes of the king's two older brothers, who killed each other fighting over the throne. It is on the street across from the Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat
The temple was built in the early days of Ayutthaya in the late 14th century by King Borommaracha I. The story goes that the king had a revelation, and relics of the Buddha then suddenly appeared. The temple was built to house the relics.

To the north, west and south of the island are several temples dating from the city's golden age, or even before. The remains of the Portuguese and Japanese communities are also just south of the island, on opposite sides of the Chao Phraya River.

Wat Phanan Choeng
On the south side of Ayutthaya, right where the Chao Phraya and Pasak rivers join, is one of Ayutthaya's oldest temples, and one of its most lively to this day. The huge Buddha image around which the temple was built was cast in 1324.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkon
At the southeast edge of town lies the huge bell-shaped chedi of Wat Ya Chai Mongkon. This temple is easily accessible as it is along the road.
Wat Na Phra Mane
This small but interesting temple just north of the royal island has played a very pivotal role in the history of Ayutthaya.
Wat Phu Khao Thong 
Out in the flat plain of rice fields and fish ponds northwest of town rises the stark white chedi of Wat Phu Khao Thong. The name literally translates to "Golden Mount."
Wat Chai Wattanaram
Standing right on the river, Wat Chai Wattanaram is, in our view, one of the most impressive of the remaining monuments of old Ayutthaya.
Wat Phutthaisawan
Almost due south of the old town, on the south bank of the Chao Phraya River, is the very old temple of Wat Phutthaisawan. With its freshly whitewashed classically styled prang, the temple is easy to overlook. Most guidebooks do, but don't you make that mistake. The temple, with its skewed architecture, is quite interesting.

I am glad I had the chance to share the above information to you my fellow travellers.  There are  a lot more to write about Ayutthaya, the ruins, the people, and the food that is truly an amazing experience.  I leave it up to you to pick what you need that is good for a 3-day stay in this ancient city.

Happy travels!

From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a Canada-based freelance writer. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send a message @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail(dot)com.

I am posting more photos that I took during my stay in Ayutthaya. Enjoy!