Thailand | Ayutthaya in a Day
Still with 14 hours remaining before my flight back to the Philippines, me and my friends went out of the busy city of Bangkok and visited Ayutthaya to see some of its prominent temples. Ayutthaya is an ancient capital of Thailand, which is located in the central plains of the country.
The city boasts numerous magnificent ruins and temples. It is situated 85 km north of Bangkok. Because of its proximity, this place has also become one of the famous sites to visit outside Bangkok. Getting to this place is easy as there are numerous transport services that are bound here such as train, boat, vans and mini bus.
It was around 10:00 AM when we arrived at the area of Victory Monument. This area has several vans and other transport services that go to different places outside Bangkok, one of which is Ayutthaya. We rode a van to get to our destination for that day. Ticket costs THB 60 per person. There’s no definite schedule when the van will depart but it’ll leave as soon as it get filled with passengers.
We waited for almost an hour to finally have our seats in a van. Our travel time to Ayutthaya took about an hour and a half.
Getting a Tuk-tuk for a Tour
The van stopped on a place that appears to be the central part of the city. It was near the market and some business establishments. We’re in Ayutthaya, I figured. We then alighted from the van and wasted no time to look for a tuk tuk that can take us to a tour around this old capital of Thailand.
A tuk tuk driver then approached us. He offered his service, blah blah blah and told us about the rates. He initially charged us THB 1,000 for the tour that he stated that could end until 5:00 PM. We told him that what he was charging was ridiculous and we can’t afford it. We bargained and told him that we will not visit all of the sites. We only have few on our list. We might even finish the tour before 5:00 PM. We then asked him if we could make it to THB 600 for the tour. He agreed, eventually.
He hopped into his vehicle and started the tour.
Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol
First on our list was the Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol. This temple was constructed in the reign of King U-Thong. The temple is a spectacular ancient royal monastery. It had been the place of many significant historical events. This temple features a large reclining Buddha in saffron robes in its own ruined wiharn. A wiharn is a place to enshrine Buddha images. We haven’t seen this reclining Buddha, unfortunately. But what we had met was the spectacular huge monuments wrapped in golden cloth set in the courtyard, which is lined by Buddha images all sporting saffron robes.
The temple is open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily, with entrance fee that costs THB 20.
It was after taking our lunch when we visited this historical site, the Wat Chaiwatthanaram. This place is one of the famous Buddhist temples in the city of Ayutthaya Historical Park. The temple lies on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. It is one of the city’s well-known temples and a prime tourist attraction.
King Prasat Thong built the temple as the first temple of his reign in 1630. He constructed it as a memorial of his mother’s residence in that area. The temple was designed in Khmer style, which was popular in that time. Now we know why it resembles Cambodia’s legendary structure, the Angkor Wat.
The temple is open from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM daily, with entrance fee that costs THB 50.
Wat Lokaya Sutha
Next place that we went to after getting burnt from walking around the vast temple area of Wat Chaiwatthanaram was the largest reclining Buddha in the city, the Wat Lokaya Sutha.
Wat Lokaya Sutha is a massive temple ruin. There were monastery and other small chedi situated in the temple compound but what we had only went to see was the iconic reclining Buddha. This enormous image was the highlight of this place. The reclining Buddha stands 42 meters long and 8 meters high. The Buddha is wrapped in brightly coloured orange cloth.
There’s no entrance fee to visit this place.
Wat Maha That
We still had three temples on our list when our tuk tuk driver suddenly told us that we only have one destination left to visit then he’ll take us back to the van terminal. We’ve thought he’ll take us to a tour until later afternoon but it was still just 2 hours past lunchtime. We’ve told him our puzzlement. He insisted that it was already late, and we have to go back to the terminal after the last one that we’ll be visiting. Oh well, we didn’t argue with him anymore so we just kept on to his tricky actions and told him that we would like to get to Wat Maha That for our last stop. He spoiled the fun!
Wat Maha That is a large temple compound. This is where the well-known image of the Head of the Buddha, with tree trunk and roots growing around it. It was said that when taking pictures of you and the Buddha head, make sure to kneel to show respect as it is considered holy by Thais.
Aside from the famous Buddha head image, Wat Maha That was also the residence of the Supreme Patriarch or leader of the Thai Buddhist monks.
It is believed that the temple was built during the 14th century A.D.
Entrance fee for the temple costs THB 50.
It was a discontent that our tuk tuk driver ended our tour untimely that made us not to see all the temples on our list. Oh well, you’ll never completely experience Thailand if you haven’t encounter a scam.
In about 4 hours, we were able to visit 4 significant sites. Not bad yet there are still more to see on this ancient destination. Next time that I’ll be here, I’ll prefer to tour on a bike or a motorbike so I can have my time and I can freely roam around and get to the destinations that I desire to. Anyhow, the temples that we had gotten to during the short period of our stay in this historical city already suffice as a nice excursion out of Bangkok. It was good that I had able to visit this place before I had concluded my almost weeklong journey in Thailand.