Once upon a time, a great city reigning over trade in South East Asia stood in incredible glory. By 1700, Ayutthaya had almost one million inhabitants and was the trading capital of Asia. What happened to the city that now gives a glimpse into an interesting past? What stories lay behind ruins barely there and those still standing tall? Come with me and explore Ayutthaya’s enchanting highlights.
How to get there from Bangkok:
- Take a minivan for 60 Baht from Victory Monument directly to Ayutthaya. It takes about an hour and a half.
- The train regularly departs from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Train Station for 245-345 Baht for second class and 15-20 Baht for third class. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes-2 hours and 30 minutes.
- You can take a bus from Moh Chit Terminal. It costs about 56 Baht and is about 1 hour and 30 minutes without excessive stops.
How to Get Around Ayutthaya
There’s plenty of ways to get around. You can rent bikes, Tuk Tuks or in my case, a car. The best part of Thailand is you can negotiate the price you want. If something sounds unreasonable, you can barter down or go to the next person for a better price.
- Bike rentals: 50 Baht
- Tuk Tuk: 300 Baht per hour or 1,000 Baht for 4 hours
- Scooter: 300-400 Baht per day
- Private Car: 900 Baht for 6 hours
Pet an Elephant
Elephants are the most beautiful creatures I have ever encountered in my life. They’re insanely smart and the way they flap their ears back and forth is adorable. I’d touched simulated elephant skin in museums and seen them in zoos, but never did I imagine I would have the ability to touch a real and majestic animal. The first time I was close to an elephant in Ayutthaya, I was petrified. I literally couldn’t go near it. I’d read news articles how elephants could be super aggressive and trample you. After all, it is a wild animal and it will do what it needs to do if threatened or distressed.
But for some reason, the elephant reached out its trunk to me. I heard it breathe and watched it move the tip of its trunk. Maybe the elephant knew I was afraid and backed up a bit, but I plucked up my courage and reached out to feel the trunk. Slowly, I gathered my courage and relaxed as I pet the elephant. It is a cool experience. Try it. It’s an experience you’ve never encountered.
There is an elephant riding service located just outside the Floating Market. To touch the elephants and take pictures is free.
Ayutthaya Floating Market
My only warning about the market is to watch what you eat. Thai food is amazing and has various spices and vegetables most people don’t eat. You will feel pain like no other if you don’t eat the right food. Observe how and where the food is cooked and make your decision from there.
For the market tour, they take you by boat around the canals. You can witness all the shops and see a show as you eat. The facilities were very clean and the water didn’t smell bad at all.
Cost: 200 Baht
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet
The name means Temple of the Holy, Splendid Omniscient. Holy and splendid this temple is because it was once the most beautiful at the site of the Royal Palace. This was the temple of the royal family and no monks lived there. It was used exclusively for royal ceremonies. Wat Phra Sri Sanphet was extremely breathtaking and definitely worth the visit.
Cost: 50 Baht
Wat Phra Mahatha
Wat Maha Tat is known as Monastery of the Great Relic in English. This was by far my favorite ruin I’ve ever seen. The reddish-brown, earthy colors of the stone gave a hard contrast against the blue sky that day. Like I’m talking a huge color pop. Wat Maha Tat was one of the most important temples because of its enshrined relics of Buddha, religious importance, and it’s proximity to the Grand Palace. Basically the closer you are to royalty the more awesome your religious building gets to be. I’m sure this will grab your attention.
Cost: 50 Baht
Honorable Mention: Wat Panan Choeng
The coolest part about this Buddha is how big it is. I wasn’t impressed by much else. It is a place of real worship, so please be respectful to all those who go there. People take the respect of Buddha seriously. Absolutely no short shorts, skirts, showing shoulders or cleavage, or bare feet. You will not be permitted to enter otherwise.
Why hang out in Bangkok when there are so many more interesting places to travel in Thailand? Ayutthaya has incredible scenery, a once glamorous history and views for days. Where would you go first?