Before there was Bangkok/ Krueng Thep and the Thonburi Kingdom. There was the great ancient city of Ayutthaya.
Good morning (sawasdee torn chao) everyone! Feeling like you’ve explored all that Bangkok has to offer? Fancy a day trip that is not too far from our modern capital? Then Ayutthaya is definitely something you shouldn’t miss out on!
Ayutthaya or in its full name, Phra Nakorn Sri Ayutthaya is the second ancient capital of the Siamese Kingdom (as we have mentioned in our previous article on the origins of Pad Thai, the former name of Thailand was Siam).
Founded around the 1300s, Ayutthaya was named after the ancient holy city of Ayodhya, in India. Surrounded and connected by canals and rivers (Lopburi, Pasak and the major Chao Phraya), Ayutthaya became a major trading hub of Southeast Asia by the dawn of the 1700s. Many merchants from the Middle East, China, Japan, India, Portugal, the Netherlands and France sailed over to trade at this once grandeur city. According to old French and Dutch maps, the city’s palaces, temples and pagodas were covered with gold.
Today, the beautiful ruins of Ayutthaya is what is left of the one of most prospering empires of that time. The Burmese invasion in 1767,  led to a successful destruction of the old capital where everything was burned to the ground, with all the gold melted down and taken away. This loss also led to the relocation of the capital of the Ayutthaya empire to the Thonburi Kingdom which ultimately relocated across the Chao Phraya River to Bangkok.
Since December 13, 1991, Ayutthaya’s ruins has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are a large number of palaces and things to see in Ayutthaya. At the very least, we recommend you try to visit the following attractions:
  • Grand Palace
  • Chantharakasem Palace (front Palace).
  • Wang Lung (“Back” Palace)
  • Wat Chaiwattanaram
  • Wat Mahathat
  • Wat Thammikarat
  • Wat Ratchaburana
  • Wat Phra Si Sanphet
  • Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit
  • The Ayutthaya floating market
Temples usually have entrance fees from anywhere from 20-50 baht.
Getting around Ayutthaya:
It depends entirely on what you are after. If you are on a mini van tour (many can be organised by some tour companies, your hostels or hotels), getting around will be rather effortless. Although, if you want the more adventurous route, you can always hire bicycles and roam around the island of Ayutthaya or even beyond (going to the floating market). The distances between temples and other scenic sites are rather small. Taking the Tuk Tuk can also be an option.
How to get to Ayutthaya:
Booked tours
If you prefer the convenience and comfort of a scheduled tour, depending on where you are staying, be sure to ask your hostel or hotel for official tours that they can vouch for. Travelling this way, you won’t have to worry much of getting there back and forth.
Train
Taking the train is one of the cheapest and a very scenic way of travelling to Ayutthaya. Trains departs from Bangkok Hualumphong station to Ayutthaya. The ride generally takes about 1 hour to 2 hours. Second-class seats with air conditioning  cost around 245-345 baht, while the third-class seats are merely 15-20 baht. Please bare in mind that there are no reservations and the availability of seats are not always guaranteed.

 

Bus
There are buses that leave directly for Ayutthaya from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal. You can get there by taking the BTS to Mo Chit Station. First-class (air-conditioned buses )will cost you 56 baht. Travelling this way can take around 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on the traffic.
Now that you know more about Ayutthaya, be sure to send us pictures of your adventures to Chao Hostel’s Facebook page, let us know how you are doing out there in the wild! Happy exploring everyone!
From all of us at Chao Hostel,
Sawasdee krub.

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