Finally...on my third time visiting Bangkok, Wira & I had a chance to visit Ayutthaya. We went there with 3 other friends from Indonesia who’s having Asia trip at that time.
Ayutthaya took place about 86 km north of Bangkok. In 1350-1767, Ayutthaya was a capital city of Thai. It was once glorified as one of the biggest city in Southeast Asia. Today, Ayutthaya has groups of crumbling ruins and rows of headless Buddha where once an empire thrived. The architecture of Ayutthaya is a fascinating mix of Khmer (ancient Cambodian style) and early Sukhothai style. Some cactus-shaped obelisks, called prangs, denote Khmer influence and look something like the famous tower of Angkor Wat. The more pointed stupas are ascribed to the Sukhothai influence.
We leave Bangkok to Ayutthaya at 11 am by air conditioned bus. You can take the bus from Chatuchak Bus Terminal (Mochit). It tooks 1,5 hours to get there. Otherwise you can take train. When we arrived in Ayutthaya, we used tuktuk as our transportation to get around. If you had spare time, you can rent a bicycle to get around. We spent 200 THB/person to paid tuktuk for 5 hours. Luckily, we got a tuktuk’s driver who can speak English. Wira was the one negotiated with the tuktuk driver.
First we visited Wat Yai Chaimongkon. Took place in southeast of the island, this temples lofty chedi is visible from most of the town. In here we can found Wihan Phraphutthasaiyat (Wihara of the Reclining Buddha Image). It was constructed in the reign of King Naresuan the Great for religious adoration and royal meditation. The Buddha image was restrored in 2508 B.E.
Next destination was Wat Mahathat (Mahathat Chedi). It is located to the east of the Grand Palace. It is the royal temple and most scared in Ayutthaya during the glorious time. Buddha relics were enshrined in the Mahathat Chedi (the principal pagoda). This monastery was once the residence of the Supreme Patriarch. According to Ayutthaya chronicle, Mahathat Chedi was starting to be built in the reign of Phra Borom Rajathirat I (Khun Luang Pha-Ngua) in 1374 and completed in the reign of King Ramesuan. In the reign of King Song Tham the principal pagoda collapsed through the foundation but it was restored later in the reign of King Prasat Thong. This monastery was destroyed and had been burnt in the last war between Ayutthaya and Burma in AD 1767. It was leaved as the ruin.
Beside the minor wihans in Wat Mahathat you can see the head of the sandstone Buddha image lies beneath a bodhi tree. This image is really famous, you can found lots of pictures/paintings of this image.
From Wat Mahathat, we went to Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal. The Kraal was built for the King to view the round-up of the wild elephants in the corral or on an open field. In here you can ride an elephant or give baby elephant some milk or food. You also can take a picture with baby elephant. Because it’s so smelly, we decided to go on tho the next place :).
The next place was Wat Chaiwatthanaram. It was designed in Khmer style which was popular at that time. The main prang is about 35 meter high in Khmer style with four small prangs.
From Wat Chaiwatthanaram, we went to Wihan Phra Mongkol Bopitah. It is located to the south of Wat Phra Si Sanphet. A large bronze seated Buddha image (Phra Mongkhon Bophit) was originally enshrined outside the Grand Palace to the east. It could be dated to the 15th century and originally intended to stand in the open air. Later, King Song Tham commanded it to be transferred to the west, where it is currently enshrined and covered with Mondop. This image measure 9.55 meters at the widest point across the lap and 12.45 meters high without the base.
Our last place to visit was Wat Phra Si Sanphet. It was situated on the premises of the royal palace which had been established in the reign of King Ramathibodi I (King U-Thong). In 1448 King Boroma-Tri-Loka-Nat dedicated the site of the palace to the construction of the temple. The important edifices in this temple are the three main stupas containgin the ashes of King Boroma-Tri-Loka-Nat, King Boroma-Rachathirat III and King Ramathibodi II. It wa a royal temple of the kingdom of Ayutthaya, used for such important royal ceremonies as swearing allegiance and it also served as the royal family’s private chapel and the place where the royal family’s ashes were preserved. No monks resided here though they were occasionally invited for particular rites.
From the last place, tuktuk took us to bus terminal so we can catch the bus to go back to Bangkok. Last bus from Ayutthaya to Bangkok at 6.30 pm.
It was a nice place to visit even though we don’t visit all the places.
Entry ticket cost 50 THB for all places we go except Elephant Palace. Most of the place open around 8 am to 5 pm.
Information about the places was taken from the information board at site and from Thailand Official Guide application for iPhone.