July 1, 2015

Thailand : A day in Ayutthaya

Continuation from almost one year ago.. hahaha
This trip was wayyy back in January 2014 but whaddaheck.. I just had the mood to finish it.

I have covered almost all the attractions in Bangkok so this time I decided to go to Ayutthaya. This former capital of Siam is located about 80 km north of Bangkok so it's perfect for a day trip.

After breakfast at my friend's crib, I joined the rush hour crowd on the MRT, heading to Hua Lampong railway station. I read that the best way of getting to Ayutthaya from Bangkok is by train. So train it was.

I didn't book my train in advance as the trains are quite frequent. And they are very cheap! The 80 km journey only cost me 15 Baht. When I was buying my ticket I almost asked the lady behind the counter, are you sure this is the right fare? But then I controlled myself and just kept quiet. Orang dah kasi murah accept je la. hahaha... But really, it's the correct fare. Just don't expect it to be first class la kan.

third-class coach

It can be packed during peak times so you have to be quick to get a seat. If not, you have to stand for half of your almost 2-hour journey.

Took a quick look at the tourist map at the train station.

As a former capital of Siam, Ayutthaya was strategically located on an island. So OK, let's cross the river. I was thinking of walking towards the bridge in the map when a few foreigners walked past me in front of the train station. Follow them la.. at least I don't have to walk alone.

They didn't head to the bridge though, instead they walked through the small road directly opposite the train station. Just a short walk from the main road, I already saw a small wooden jetty.  

Took a ferry which cost only 4 Baht.

The attractions are scattered all over the small island thus one needs a transport to go from one site to another. There are shops renting out bicycles and motorbikes right off the jetty. I got a bicycle for 50 Baht. Not only that, they handed me a bike lock and map of the island as well. Great.

So off I went riding the bicycle dangerously. One hand maneuvering the handle, the other hand holding the map. haha..

 The history of Ayutthaya and its notable ruins has established the island as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Once an impressive city, Ayutthaya's glory was brought to an end when the Burmese invaded the city in 1767. During the attack, the Burmese decapitated most of the Buddhas statues so you'll see a lot of headless Buddha statues around the ruins.   
Some of the ruins can be visited for free but some Wats charge around 50 Baht for entrance fees.   

Wat Phra Mahathat

You can spot the famous tree that has grown around a Buddha head. 

The story goes that when Ayutthaya was defeated by the Burmese, the site was destroyed and the head of the Buddha fell to the ground where tree roots grew around it in the deserted temple. 

Wat Ratchaburana

You can climb inside the prang and take the staircase down, which leads to rooms with original paintings still visible on the walls.

among the original paintings on the wall

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

This is the largest temple in the city and it is situated in the former royal palace.

Phra Mongkhon Bophit

Situated next to Wat Phra Si Sanphet is Phra Mongkon Bophit. This is an active temple with a huge gold Buddha statue inside.

Walking out from the temple, I dashed to the ice cream sellers under the trees.

Bless the ice cream guy cos it was soooo hot and I was tired from all the cycling.

Just a short distance from the temple is the Elephant Palace. Wanted to ride an elephant but 600 Baht for half an hour is expensive for me.

Looking at my watch, I can fit in one more Wat before catching my train back to Bangkok.

Wat Lokkayasutharam

The image of the giant reclining Buddha on my map brought me to visit Wat Lokkayasutharam. Not many people were there since it's a little off the tourist trail but it was totally worth the short detour.

Finally it's time to go back to the crazy life of Bangkok. Returned my bicycle and walked to the train station.

waiting for the train

Overall, it was an amazing site. But as usual, the thing about visiting Indochina region is I always got templed out at the end of the day. haha..

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