October 2012
« Sep   Nov »

Ayutthaya is an ancient capital and modern city in Thailand – Part 2

Ayutthaya, full name Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, is an ancient capital and modern city in the Central Plains of Thailand which is 85 km north of Bangkok.

Places to see in Ayutthaya

Phet Fortress, (Southeast of the island)
• This fortress was the city’s most important defensive structure in the 15th century.
• It was originally built of wood in 1350 A.D. by King Mahachakraphat.
• The fortress was later rebuilt with bricks.
• Few walls still remain and the grounds have a nice view of the river.
• The fortress is close to Wat Suwan Dararam.
• It is right beside a ferry that can take you to Wat Phanan Choeng.

Wat Phra Ram, Sri Sanphet Road
• Open Time: 8AM-6PM, daily.
• This temple consists of one huge prang and some smaller Chedi and outbuildings.
• Staircases to the side of the prang give views of Ayutthaya.
• This monastery was located outside the grand palace compound to the east.
• King Ramesuan commanded it built on ground where the royal cremation ceremony for his father, King U-Thong, took place.
• There is a big lagoon is in front of this monastery.
• Its original name was “Nong Sano”.
• It was changed to “Bueng Phraram” and currently is Phraram Public Park.
• Price: 50 baht.

Phra Chedi Suriyothai , U-Thong Rd
• A white and gold coloured Chedi built as a memorial to a previous queen.
• It is set in small, well-kept gardens.
• It is the memorial for the first heroine in Siamese history.
• It’s of some interest as a proof of the honor that ancient Siamese society gave to women.
• It was renovated in 1990.
• During the renovations some antique objects were found. They were:
– A white rock crystal Buddha image in the posture of subduing Mara.
– A chedi replica.
– A golden reliquary.
• These ancient objects were brought to be under the care of the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.
• Entry: Free.

Wat Borom Phuttharam
• It was built some time during 1688–1703.
• This was built during the reign of King Phetracha on his former residence area near the main gate of the southern city wall.
• Its location and area plan was confined to be in the north-south direction by ancient communication routes.
• The King had all buildings roofed with yellow glazed tiles and the temple became known as “Wat Krabueang Khlueap” or the “glazed tile temple”.
• The construction took 2 years.
• The temple underwent a major renovation in the reign of King Borommakot.
• He had 3 pairs of door panels decorated with fine mother-of-pearl inlays.
• One pair of them is currently at Ho Phra Monthian Tham inside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
• The second is at Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple).
• The third was turned into cabinets and is now exhibited at the Bangkok National Museum.

Museums in Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre, Rojana Rd (Rotchana Rd)
• It is an interesting museum about the history of Ayutthaya.
• It’s best to visit this museum before heading out elsewhere.
• It places the remains into a historical perspective.
• A big part of the museum is dedicated to Siam’s relations with other peoples, but village life, art and culture are also dealt with.
• Admission for foreigners: adults 100 baht, children 50 baht.

Baan Hollanda
• This museum is situated near the site of the Dutch lodge which was first built there in the 1630’s.
• Baan Hollanda aims at telling its audience about the Dutch settlement, how they worked, lived and interacted with Siamese society and court.
• The museum will provide informal learning by combining education with pleasure.

Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
• Most treasures of Ayutthaya were stolen, burnt and melted by armies or treasure hunters.
• Some pieces survived though and are exhibited at this museum.
• Most of the riches are golden statues found at Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Phra Mahathat.

Chantharakasem National Museum, Uthong Rd
• Open TIme: Wed – Sun 9am – 4pm
• Former residence of King Naresuan the Great, built in 1577.
• Price: 100 baht (foreigners).

Off the Island
• Much of Ayutthaya’s history revolves around trade with other nations.
• These nations were not allowed to set up camp inside the city walls.
• Surrounding Ayutthaya’s waters are plenty of remains from the countries that once set sail here.
• They include: the settlements of Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal, as well as the interesting Thai-Chinese temple of Wat Phanan Choeng.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram
• It is situated southwest of the island on route 3413.
• Take route 3263 off the island and turn left onto route 3413.
• Open Time: 8:30AM-5PM daily.
• Due to flood damage, this temple is currently closed.
• However you can still walk around the outside (for free) and take pictures.
• The temple that graces the official tourist pamphlet for Ayutthaya, this Wat is a must see.
• Many intact pagodas surround a central chedi that you can climb from all sides.
• A nice view of the city can be had from the top.
• Price: 50 baht.

Wat Na Phra Mane
• This Wat offers a mix of old and modern buildings.
• It is unique because it survived the destruction of the city in the 18th century.
• The vaulted ceilings and a Buddha made of black stone are of special interest.

Wat Phanan Choeng
• Open Time: 8:30AM-5PM, daily
• This is a working monastery located south of Ayutthaya.
• It existed before Ayutthaya was founded as the capital.
• It contains the oldest large cast bronze Buddha image in Ayutthaya, called “Phrachao Phananchoeng” which was built in A.D. 1325.
• It is made of stucco in the attitude of subduing evil.
• There is a small room to the right of the main hall contains a nice collection of Buddha images.
• The room is painted with many individual unique pictures, in bright colors offset with gold.
• Price: 20 baht obligatory donation if entering from river side.

Wat Phu Khao Thong
• This is an impressive and huge white, and slightly wonky, chedi set in a big field.
• The actual nearby temple is still working and has small grounds with a smiling fat buddha image set in the ruins of a small viharn.
• You will see the ‘Monument of King Naresuan the Great’ on the way.

Wat Yai Chaimongkon
• Open Time: 8PM-6PM, daily.
• The large pagoda from far away and some its ruins appear on well known photos of temples in Thailand.
• It was constructed in the reign of King U-Thong.
• The temple features a large reclining Buddha in saffron robes in its own ruined wiharn, and, most spectacularly, a huge chedi swathed in golden cloth set in a courtyard which is lined by Buddha images all wearing saffron robes.
• Entry: 20 baht.

Best time to visit / climate

• Thailand is largely tropical.
• It’s hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F).
• From November to the end of February, it doesn’t rain much and temperatures are at their lowest.
• From March to June, Thailand swelters in temperatures as high as 40°C (104°F).
• From July to October, although it only really gets underway in September, tropical monsoons hit most of the country.

Location on Google Maps

View Larger Map

Or click and paste the URL below on your browser:

How to get there?

1. By Car
From Bangkok, one can get to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya by various routes:
First Route
• Take Highway No.1 (Phahon Yothin) via Pratu Nam Phra In.
• Turn into Highway No.32.
• Then, turn left to Highway No.309 to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.
Second Route
• Take Highway No.304 (Chaeng Watthana) or Highway No.302 (Ngam Wong Wan).
• Turn right into Highway No.306 (Tiwanon).
• Cross Nonthaburi or Nuanchawi Bridge to Pathum Thani.
• Continue on Highway No.3111 (Pathum Thani – Sam Khok – Sena).
• Turn right at Amphoe Sena into Highway No.3263 to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.

Third Route
• Take Highway No.306 (Bangkok–Nonthaburi–Pathum Thani), at Pathum Thani Bridge Intersection.
• Turn into Highway Nos.347 and 3309 via Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, Amphoe Bang Pa-in, to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.

Fourth Route
• Take Expressway No.9 (Si Rat Expressway) via Nonthaburi – Pathum Thani and down to Highway No.1 via Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center.
• Turn left into Highway No.3469 towards Bang Pahan and turn right at Worachet Intersection to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.

2. By Train
• The cheapest and most scenic way of reaching Ayutthaya is by train.
• It regularly departs from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Train Station and stops in Ayutthaya.
• The trip takes about 2 – 2.5 hrs depending on the type of service.
• Second class seats(A/C) cost 245 baht, third class is just 20 baht.
• Check time table here: http://www.railway.co.th/home/Default.asp?lenguage=Eng.
• The railway station is not on the island but across the river a short ferry ride away.
• Walk across the main road and down the small street straight ahead.
• Ferry boats run every few minutes and cost 4 baht.

3. By Bus
• Buses operate every 20 minutes or so from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal directly to Ayutthaya
• First class air-con buses charge 50 baht.
• This trip is scheduled to be around an hour and a half.
• To get to Northern Bus Terminal, take to Moh Chit BTS Station.
• Upon exiting gantry gates, cross the bridge on the right to go to bus-stop, and take bus service 3 or bus service 77.
• Bus ride is about 10 – 15 minutes.
• The Northern Bus Terminal destination is the last stop for the bus services,
• However, buses do not stop in the Northern Bus Terminal, but at the bus stop across,
• Cross the bridge to get to the Bus Terminal.
• Bus service 3 runs also near Khao San.
• It goes by Thanon Chakrabongse Rd which is a street on the Western end of Khao San,
• Whole trip to Northern Bus Terminal from here takes in morning around 1 hour,
• Getting back in evening can take longer due to traffic.
• The buses are from 4:30AM–7.15PM.

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at tripadvisor.com
Hotels at agoda.com

Blogs / Sites about Thailand – Ayuthaya

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at wikitravel.org
Blogs at magictravelblog.com
Blogs and reviews at travbuddy.com

Images and photos of Thailand – Ayuthaya

Images at google.com
Images at tripadvisor.com
Images at molon.de
Images at trekearth.com

Videos of Thailand – Ayuthaya

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>