Visiting Ayutthaya, Thailand, is one of the best day trips to take from Bangkok. It’s Thailand’s ancient capital city, second after Sukhothai. The city has a very long history with many ups and downs. It was overthrown by the Burmese in the mid 1700’s and many of the gems and treasures from the temples were moved the Yangon at the Shwedagon Pagoda (another very impressive site if you visit Burma). I have visited Ayutthaya a number of times while living in Thailand, but a few weeks ago I joined a small travel blogger group and we toured a few of the most important temples, and I also snuck away for some food and refreshment! The Ayutthaya historical park is the most significant section of the city, an area where there’s a concentration of temples and historical sites to visit. The city in now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first temple we stopped at was Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (วัดใหญ่่ชัยมงคล), a must visit temple in Ayutthaya. The temple is recognized by its huge chedi that leans a little to the side, sort of like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. At the site, you can then climb a flight of stairs to the middle level section that offers a nice view of the surroundings. Surrounding the temple are many statues of Buddha, most of them wrapped in orange cloth and in many symmetrical patterns. Just like Wat Pho in Bangkok, there’s also a reclining Buddha, though this one made of stone and wrapped in yellow cloth instead of gold. I had visited the temple before, but had never stopped to see the palace of King U-Thong and his many roosters. After Wat Yai Chai Mongkon (วัดใหญ่่ชัยมงคล) in Ayutthaya we proceeded to Wat Phanan Choeng (วัดพนัญเชิงวรวิหาร), a temple that’s famous for housing a 19 meter high golden seated Buddha. The temple is a cross between traditional Thai and Chinese beliefs so there are lots of cross similarities and the temple is very Chinese Confucian in appearance. There are many section of Wat Phanan Choeng (วัดพนัญเชิงวรวิหาร), and you can spend some time walking around each section of the temple. It’s nearly always busy and bustling with people, especially on the weekends. Finally, the famous Wat Mahathat (วัดมหาธาตุ) is one of the most visited and well known temple complexes in the Ayutthaya historical park. It’s the temple where the famous head of Buddha wrapped within the banyan tree is – that’s always a favorite place for everyone to take pictures! The rest of the temple is not in that great of condition, but it’s mostly in ruins. The temple is still nice to walk around for a few minutes.
Ayutthaya is hot, and when you are walking around the temples, you’re going to sweat for sure! So be prepared for the sun and always remember to drink plenty of water. I also like to stock up on hydration by having a fresh coconut to drink the water. Finally, whenever you visit any city in Thailand it’s important to eat and to bring back some of the local speciality snacks. In Ayutthaya there’s nothing more famous than a sweet called roti sai mai (โรตีสายไหม), and if you don’t eat this, many Thais will say you didn’t even go to Ayutthaya. It’s basically a thin crepe pancake that’s combined with cotton candy like sugar, wrapped into a little taco and consumed. It is very sweet and full of sugar, but it is the taste of Ayutthaya and should be sampled! Have a great trip visiting the ancient capital city of Thailand!
Ayutthaya guide: http://migrationology.com/2013/07/ayutthaya-tour-photos/
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