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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ayutthaya Thailand

Peace Discovery in Ayutthaya
Thailand is not only famous for natural beauty; it also has a wealth of cultural and historical destinations that are like sought-after antiques found throughout the country. You will not only find history in Ayutthaya, but also peace, happiness, and an artistry that will grow in your mind without the aid of any supernatural power of a mysterious amulet.
Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya Province was the charming capital city of Siam, the former name of Thailand, for 417 years. The city achieved great material prosperity and was a renowned center of human civilization before it was terribly destroyed by a war against Burma (presently known as Myanmar).
The province’s historical park was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site because of the significance of the remaining magnificent Buddha statues, temples and architecture that Thai ancestors dedicated their lives to create and build many centuries before.
I arrived at Ayutthaya with a big sack of cameras and a pretty backpack, along with the hope of paying worship to Buddha images at several significant temples in one day. Since I was born in the year of pig and this year is the year of pig. I thought it would be auspicious to pay respect to some sacred sites so as to bring myself good fortune and a better life.
I choose to travel to Ayutthaya because the province has many magnificent temples and beautiful sacred sites, and because transportation between Ayutthaya and Bangkok is very convenient. I once visited Ayutthaya before and could still remember the atmosphere of the rural areas along the highways leading to Ayutthaya, which was a landscape of somnolent rice paddies. Now, more 20 years have passed, and many factories have been gradually taking the place of farms and agricultural areas, but there are some green areas left, and I could still see the rural way of life.
It took about hours before I reached the historical town of Ayutthaya. I could see some foreign travelers biking around the city in the morning. Some travelers opted to walk as a way to exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenes of the ancient city of Ayutthaya in the morning.
I took a Sam Lor (tricycle) to get downtown to search for a convenient guesthouse where I could stay and easily connect to other roads and nearby temples, since I planned to travel to and worship at nine temples within one day.
Most of the rural people of Ayutthaya are farmers or agriculturists. Aside from farming, the province is also famous for the flavorful “Roti Sai Mai” (pulled sugar “silk” wrapped in thin crepes), which is an important household industry in the central part of town.
I started off with a peaceful mind at about 3pm to explore Ayutthaya and to try to reach real happiness. There are certainly many temples in Ayutthaya, including some royal temples built on the command of kings. First I took a tricycle to visit pay respect at the Monument of King Naresuan the Great, which is situated on Thung Makham Yong. The monument was established to honor King Naresuan’s huge contribution to the country. There are many colorful small models of fighting cocks and two giant ones placed in front of the monument. I found a lot of salutary and ritual items such as incense, candles, and flowers that worshipers and travelers who came here to pay respect had left behind. Meanwhile, in back of the monument is an exquisite carved stone mural depicting King Naresuan’s courageous move to start a war against the Burmese forces that had invaded his home. He was victorious and rinally restored Ayutthaya independence. Another picture carved out of stone shows how King Naresuan once fiercely fought off an alligator that had been threatening townstalk.
I spent about 15 minutes taking pictures of the monument before moving to Wat Phra Chedi Phukhao Thong, which was the first temple I visited to pay homage. The most outstanding architectural feature of this temples is the stunning huge white pagoda that you can see from star. The pagoda was built during the early Ayutthaya period more than 400 years ago.
Wat Worachet Tharam was my next spiritual visit. The temple is adjacent to Khlong Tho, west of Wat Worapho. The temple was built by the request of King Ekathossarot as a memorial to King Naresuan, who died 1605. What you can see in the present time is the collapsed structure and foundations, broken Buddha statues, and the remaining broken bricks. The destination was a result of the war against foreign enemies in the past. Even if the roof of the temple’s grand hall or ubosot was destroyed, the giant Buddha statue in the ubosot is still in good condition and the light of the blue sky coming down from above helps make it look more charming. Meanwhile, the outside of the temple’s hall are bits and pieces of broken brick structures and remnants of the past glory. The changed condition of this historic site made me reflect about the great development of Buddhism during the Ayutthaya period.
I was guided to Wat Phra Non (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha), where you can see a giant reclining Buddha statue that is every bit as tantalizing as the one of Wat Phrachetuphon or Wat Pho in Bangkok. Anyway, it is not the country’s biggest reclining Buddha statue, because another one in Petchaburi Province claims that fame.
My spiritual journey would never be complete without visiting the ancient Wat Yai Chai Mongkol or Wat Chao Phya, which is a royal temple. It’s situated in Tambol Khlong Suan Phlu, Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya District. The temple was formerly known as “Wat Pa Kaeo”. There is a large stupa named “Phra Chedi chaiyamongkol” and a shrine that is the home for a reclining Buddha image, and the Tam Nak (Royal Palace or Residence) of King Naresuan inside the temple as well.
According to the history records, the temple was built by the behest of Phra Chao U-Thong or the King Rama I of the Ayutthaya period during AD 1357 to house the monks who returned after going study Dhamma in Sri Lanka. The temple was used as the pilgrimage place of Somdet Phra Wannarat during the rains retreat of Khao Phan Sa period when monks have to stay at the temple.
The temple is a must-visit monastery in Ayutthaya so don’t be surprised if you see a steady of foreign and Thai tourists coming there all day to pay homage and to feast their eyes on the ancient charm of old Siam. The large pagoda, stupa, and shrine of the temple have been mentioned far and wide.
The significant Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is situated on the north of Phra Mongkol Bophit Vihara, which was built within the boundary of a palace, just like the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The temple covers a vast ground and there are several ancient shrines and stupas in the area. Even if centuries have passed, the priceless beauty and the valuable artistry that out ancestors jointly built still remain in the bottom of my heart and in the hearts of all Thai people as well. The temple was established for various important religious rituals and ceremonies. It does not have any monks residing within.
Most of the ancient Thai temples were built from bricks joined together, which is clear evidence to show that our Thai ancestors were very intelligent, dexterous, and strenuous in building the temples since they did not have any hi-tech construction equipment and motorized machines at the time. It might cost much time and effort, but the result was worth the expenditure as it turned out to be a treasure recognized as a part of the world’s heritage. Nowadays a lot of travelers come here to witness the temples, historical parks, and the valuable art and culture that our ancestors built.
Wat Suwan Dararam is highly recommended it you want to find out more about the history of King Naresuan. It is outstanding for its artistic mural painting in the central hall that tell the story of King Naresuan’s whole life. The temple was built during the late Ayutthaya Period, during the reign of Somdet Phra Prathom Boromratchanok (Thong Dee). It has been renovated and developed several time since until the reign or the King Rama VI of Chakri Dynasty, who invited veteran artists to paint murals on the wall of the grand hall describing great historical. Wat Suwan Dararam is regarded as a symbol of the Chakri Dynasty and was registered as one of the country’s magnificent historical in the Royal Gazette No. 52 on March 8, 1935.
So you can see that Thailand is not only abundant in natural beauty; there are many tourist destinations that offer opportunities for cultural historical exploration, such as Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Ban Chiang, Haripunjaya, Lanna, Lopburi, and Bangkok. It’s like there are priceless antiques scattered throughout Thailand waiting to be found by you.
As for Ayutthaya, there are many temples, shrines, sacred sites, monasteries, and tons of cultural spots that you can reach within a short walk. You could say that Ayutthaya is an integrated cultural and heritage tourist destination. You can walk or rent a bicycle to tour around the city and enjoy the best sunset and sunrise scenes, ancient temples, and nearby attractions to your heart’s content. Walking and bike tours also help the world save irreplaceable energy. We hope after reading this you will feel humble and curious about Thai history, and that you will find the peaceful path of your life by discovering the real meaning of life in Ayutthaya or elsewhere in Thailand.

More Information about Ayutthaya
The ruined city of Ayutthaya is a must for visitors. It is a haunting place with the elegiac splendor of the ruins and shattered images, and it is easy to imagine the original island city of moats, and grand temples with rows of Buddhas with enigmatic stone smiles… “whose pagodas and palaces were the object of so much laudation from ancient travelers and which was called the Oriental Venice, from the abundance of its canals and temples whelmed in the dust with rank vegetation”, as wrote an awestruck early visitor. Ayutthaya is 72 kilometers north of Bangkok and accessible by road, train, or special river trip.
The modern town of Ayutthaya sits in the Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya Historical Park, a vast stretch of historical sites which has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage since December 13, 1991.
The Ayutthaya Historical Study Center located on Rochana Road is devoted to the study of Ayutthaya and is responsible for the Museum of the History of Ayutthaya, which exhibits reconstructions from the city’s past. The center also supports an information service and a library containing historical materials.
The centre opens daily from 09.00 to 16.30 (09.00 to 17.00 on official holidays). Admission fee 20 Baht. Foreigner student fee 50 Baht. Foreigner Fee 100 Baht
How to get there
: The centre is situated near the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum with another smaller part of the centre near Wat Phanan Choeng.
Contact:Tel. (035) 245-123-4
The principal Buddha image at Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit is one of Thailand’s largest bronze images. Many small Buddha images were also discovered here. The Viharn was destroyed when the Burmese sacked Ayutthaya in 1767 and was rebuilt in 1956 in its original style. The Ancient Palace was originally built by King U-Thong. During the reign of King Borom Trailokkanat and later kings, several new buildings were added, including Wat Phra Sri Sanphet. Notable buildings are Wihan Somdet Pavilion, Sanphet Prasat Pavilion, Suriyat Amarin Pavilion, Chakkrawat Phaichayon Pavilion, Banyon Ratanat Pavilion and The Tri Muk Building. These pavilions were almost totally destroyed in 1767, leaving just the brick foundations, porticoes and fragments of walls. The Tri Muk Building, a wooden structure with a brick foundation, was rebuilt in its original style at the command of King C?hulalongkorn in 1907.
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is the most important temple within the Royal Palace compound and corresponds to the Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok. In the year 1500, a 16-meter high standing Buddha was cast by King Ramathibodi II. The image was covered with gold and weighed some 170 kilograms. In 1767, the Burmese set fire to the image to melt off the gold, completely destroying the image and the temple. Nearby are three Ceylonese-style chedis built during the 15th century to enshrine the ashes of three Ayutthayan kings. These were renovated in 1956.
Khun Phaen House is located near Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit. This Thai-style house conforms to descriptions in a popular Thai literary work.
Wat Na Phramane, a recently-restored temple situated opposite the Ancient Palace, is an important 13th century temple. The most interesting objects are the principal Buddha image, fully decorated in regal attire, and another image made of black stone lying in the small Vihan.
Wat Phra Maha That at the junction of Chi Kun Road and Naresuan Road was built by King Naresuan in 1384. Its major feature was the high prang or pagoda, which was destroyed by Burmese invaders. When the government undertook to restore all Ayutthaya ruins in 1956, the Fine Arts Department excavated the pagoda and found a buried treasure chest containing many valuables including a relic of Lord Buddha in a golden casket, several golden Buddha images in different sizes, and many other objects in gold, ruby and crystal. There are now housed in Bangkok’s National Museum.
Wat Ratburana is situated opposite the Wat Maha That and may be considered its twin. It is the most important temple built by King Boromraja II, the seventh Amyutthaya’s King, at his brother’s cremation site. During restoration in 1958, many ancient valuables were found, including Royal Regalia made of gold and jewels, rare and antique jewel and gold pieces of superb craftsmanship, and golden Buddha images.
Chankasem Palace was built as a residence for his son King Naresuan by King Maha Thammaraja the 17th Ayutthaya monarch. The palace was destroyed by the Burmese and lay in ruin until King Mongkut ordered its reconstruction for use as a residence during his occasional visits to Ayutthaya. It is now a national museum and opens everyday, except Monday and Tuesday, from 9.00-16.00.
Chedi Phu Khao Thaong, commonly known as the Golden Mount Pagoda, stands some 80 meters high on Ayutthaya’s northern outskirts. Purportedly, this pagoda was originally built in Mon style by King Burengnong of Burmese to commemorate Burmese victory during the 1569 invasion of Ayutthaya. When Ayutthaya’s independence Naresuan in 1584, the pagoda was remodeled in Thai style. It was an important shrine; as a visitor commented to Bowring in 1855 – “There is on sacred spire of immense height and size which is still kept in some kind of repair, and which is sometimes visited by the king. It is situated about four miles from the town in the center of a plain of paddy-fields. Boats and elephants are the only means of reaching it, as there is no road whatever except such as the creeks and swampy paddy-fields afford.” The golden Mount at Wat Sraket in Bangkok was built as a replica. In 1956, the government placed a golden ball weighing 2,500 grams on top of the pagoda to celebrate 25 centuries of the Buddhist religion.
The Elephant Kraal locally called phaniat, was used to hold captured wild elephants in ancient times. It is a spacious enclosure made of massive teak logs. Behind the Kraal is the pavilion housing the royal seat. The last capture of elephants in the Kraal occurred in May 1903, during King Chulalongkorn’s reign, as a demonstration for royal guests.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, also called Wat Chao Phraya Thai, is located just outside Ayutthaya town. It was built by King U-Thong in 1357 for meditation. In 1592, when King Naresuan defeated Burmese by killing the Burmese Crown Prince in single-handed combat on elephant back, he constructed the temple’s large pagoda to match the high pagoda at Chedi Phu Khao Thaong which had purportedly been built by the Burmese. This massive pagoda, still in ruins, is visible from a great distance.
Wat Phrchao Phananchoeng or Wat phanachoeng is located south of Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya. It predates Ayutthaya and no records exist as to its date of construction or its builder. The principal image in the Viharn, known as Phrachao Phananchoeng, was built in 1325. It is a Buddha image 19 meters high made of stucco in the attitude of subduing Mara. It is most revered by the inhabitants of Ayutthaya.
Wat Suwandararam is an Ayutthaya period temple which was beautifully restored during the Chakri period. The walls of the main chapel have foundations that dip in the center, a typical architectural feature of that time. Delicately carved columns support the roof and the inside walls are decorated with brilliantly colored frescoes. It remains in use as a temple today.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is located on the bank of the Chao Phraya river to the west of the city island. It was built by the royal command of King Prasat Thong. The existing main Prang and pagodas around the corners are still in good condition.

Bang Pa-In Palace
An original palace was built on this site by King Prasat Thong in the 17th century to serve as a summer retreat for the kings of Ayutthaya. When the new capital was established in Bangkok, Bang Pa-In fell into disuse and was left unoccupied for 80 years. It wasn’t until King Mongkut’s reign that Bang Pa-In was again visited by kings. King Mongkut stayed there and had a house built in the old palace’s compound. His son, King Chulalongkorn was very fond of Bang Pa-In. he stayed there every year and constructed the royal palace as it is today with its eclectic blend of Thai, European and Chinese influences. The palace surrounded by a 400 meter-wide lake and the Chumphon Nikayaram Temple are all that remain of King prasat Thong’s original construction work. The palace contains five important buildings:
1. Phra Thinang Aisawan Thippa-at is a delightful Thai style castle pavilion standing in the middle of the lake. It replaced a former building of the same name erected by King Prasat Thong.
2. Phra Thinang Warophat Phiman to the north of Saphan Sadet (the royal path to the river landing), occupies the original site of a two-storeyed Pavilion built during King Mongkut’s reign. One storey was used as the King’s apartments, the other as a reception hall. When the court was transferred to another building, the decaying pavilion was demolished and replaced by the new European design building to serve as a hall for state ceremonies.
3. Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1938. Formerly used as a highwater season resicence, only a few bricks now remain.
4. Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun is a Chinese-style building where the court generally resided during the rainy and cool seasons.
5. Phra Thinang Withun Thatsana is an observatory standing on a small island between Phra Thinang Uthayan and Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun.
A commanding view of surrounding countryside can be enjoyed from the top. Other interesting buildings include. The King Prasat Thong Shrine on the edge of the lake was erected during King Chulalongkorn’s reign. Wat Niwet Thammaprawat is a remarkable building constructed during King Chulalongkorn’s time on the outer island, south of the royal palace. The temple was built in the Gothic style resembling a Christian church. Tourists may cross the Chao Phraya river from Bang Pa-In to visit this temple.
Wat Chumphon Nikayaram is by the bridge on the way from the railway station. It was built by King Prasat Thong and subsequently restored. The two chedis in this temple are considered to be very beautiful.
Bang Pa-In Palace (Tel (035) 261 044) is located 18 kilometers south of Ayutthaya town and 58 kilometers north of Bangkok by rail or 61 kilometers by road. It is best visited by boat in conjunction with Ayutthaya. To access Bang Pa-In from Ayutthaya one can go along Phahonyothin road, make a right turn at Km 35, and continue another seven kilometers. The palace is open to the public everyday from 8.30 – 16.00 hrs. Admission is 50 baht per person.

How to Get There
Bang Pa-In palace is located at Bang Pa-In district, 18 kmssouth of Ayutthaya. It is 58 kms north of Bangkok by rail,and 61 kms by road.
1) By Car : Travel by Phahon Yothin Road to the northand just follow the sign to Bang Pa-In.
2) By Bus : Bus No.17 (Bangkok-Bangsai-Bang Pa-In-Ayutthaya) leave from the Northern Bus Terminal(Morchit 2) every 30 minutes from 06.00 to 18.00 hrs.
3) By Boat. The tour agent can provide information on theorganized tour from Bangkok to Bangsai and Bang Pa-In.
Admission Fee Adult 100 baht/person.Electric golf car rental : 450 baht for the first hour.
Bang Pa-In Palace is often approached as a tour from Bangkok and often combined with a visit to Wat Niwet Thamaprawat which is directly opposite the palace. It is possible to get there yourself by van from Chao Phrom Market in Ayutthaya (fare 10 Baht) or bus from the Northern Bus Terminal in Bangkok (fare around 20 Baht for an ordinary bus and around 50 Baht for an air-conditioned bus). There are also river tours available directly from Bangkok. Contact:Telephone: (035) 261-044
The Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center at Bang Sai covers an area of 14 acres and is supported by Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques (SUPPORT) established under Royal Patronage on 21 july 1976. Farmers from Ayutthaya and other provinces undergo training in folk arts and crafts here. At this center you get a glimpse of how farmers in the four regions live and work and how they produce their arts and crafts. Products and activities which can be seen here include fern vine basketry, woven basketry, artificial flow-hand-woven silk and cotton, silk dyeing, wood carving, miniature hand-modeled Thai dolls, furniture making, and cloth items. All are available for purchase at the center and at every branch of Chitralada stores.

Bang Sai Wan Pla
A special treat for fish buffs at the Bang Sai Arts of Crafts Center is Bang Sai Wang Pla, a ten-year project of the Fisheries Department on a 10 rai site opened in March 1998. It serves as a natural collection for 120 fish species from the Chao Phraya River (including the giant carp and giant catfish) and as an education center for aquatic animal study. Bang Sai can be reached by boat up the Chao Phraya River, by car along Bang Sai-Sam Khok road which branches off about 24 kilometers from Bang Pa-In Intersection, or by bus from the Northern Bus terminal on Phahonyothin Road. For details, call (035) 366 092 or 225 8165 – 8 (Bangkok).
Handicraft Villages
1. Aranyik Village Handmade knives :
Mu 6, Ban Aranyik, Tambon Tha Chang, Amphoe Nakhon Luang.
2. Rattan-Woven Village : Mu 2, Ban Yai, Tambon Ban Krathun, Amphoe Sena.
3. Palm-leaves Hats and other products : Mu 5, Ban Yai, Tambon Bang Nangra, Amphoe Bang Pahan.
4. Palm-leaves Carp : Mu 4, Ban Yai, Tambon Tha Wasukri, Ayutthaya.
5. Wood-Craving Products : Mu 4, Ban Yai, Tambon Ban Mai, Amphoe Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya. Boat trips to Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-In. There are no public boats going to Ayutthaya. However several companies organize excursions to Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-In. For further information, please contact,
- Oriental Queen Tel. 236 0400 – 9
- River Sun Cruise Tel. 266 9125
- Horizon Cruise Tel. 266 8164
- Chao Phraya Express Tel. 222 5330

By Car

Take Highway No. 1 on Phahonyothin Road and then take Highway No. 32 to Ayutthaya

By Bus
Take an ordinary or air-conditioned bus at Moochit 2 Bus Terminal. The bus will leave for Ayutthaya every 20 minutes from 5am – 7pm. The fare is about Bt30-60, and the ride takes about 2 hrs.

By Train
Trains will leave Bangkok for Ayutthaya at Hua Lamphong Station every hour from 4.20am – 10pm. The third-class fares is Bt15. For train schedules and other info, contact +66 (0) 2223 7010 or 1690.

By Boat
There are no scheduled boat services between Bangkok and Ayutthaya, but there are companies in Bangkok that operate luxury cruises to Ayutthaya. The price is about Bt1,500 – Bt1,600 per person. Walk in and check for more info and the price at River City Pier in Bangkok.
Get in
By car
From Bangkok, one can get to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya by various routes:
Take Highway No.1 (Phahon Yothin) via Pratu Nam Phra In and turn into Highway No.32, then, turn left to Highway No.309 to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.
Take Highway No.304 (Chaeng Watthana) or Highway No.302 (Ngam Wong Wan), turn right into Highway No.306 (Tiwanon), cross Nonthaburi or Nuanchawi Bridge to Pathum Thani, continue on Highway No.3111 (Pathum Thani – Sam Khok – Sena) and turn right at Amphoe Sena into Highway No.3263 to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.
Take Highway No.306 (Bangkok–Nonthaburi–Pathum Thani), at Pathum Thani Bridge Intersection, turn into Highway Nos.347 and 3309 via Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, Amphoe Bang Pa-in, to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.
Take Expressway No.9 (Si Rat Expressway) via Nonthaburi – Pathum Thani and down to Highway No.1 via Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, turn left into Highway No.3469 towards Bang Pahan and turn right at Worachet Intersection to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya.

By train
The cheapest and most colorful way of reaching Ayutthaya is by train. All north and north-east line trains depart from
Bangkok's Hualamphong Train Station and stop in Ayutthaya, a trip of about 1.5 hours - 2.5 hrs depending on the type of train service. According to the State Railway of Thailand website, First Class costs 66 baht, Second class (non-aircon) costs 35 baht (seats can be booked in advance), while third class is just 15 baht (no reservations). You can check all the fares in the website. Trains pass by the province’s Amphoe Bang Pa-in, Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya and Amphoe Phachi, where at Ban Phachi Junction the railway lines separate to the North and Northeast. Then, mini-buses can be taken from the railway station into the city. See Thailand "State Railway" for schedule and cost.
Please note, from experience, when you enquire about train services at the official information or ticketing counters, rates vary, perhaps due to the confusing variety of train services.
In addition, a Bangkok – Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya train pulled by a steam locomotive is usually provided by the State Railway of Thailand on 3 special occasions every year. The first one is on 26 March which marks the establishment of the State Railway of Thailand and the inauguration day of Thailand’s first railway line between Bangkok – Nakhon Ratchasima in 1890. The second, 12th August - the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Regent Sirikit. Third, 23 October – the memorial day of King Rama V, founder of the Thai railways. And the forth, 5 December – the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. For more information, please contact the State Railway of Thailand at Tel. 0 2220 4334,
and Ayutthaya Railway Station at Tel. 0 3524 1521.
Ayutthaya's train station is to the east of the central island. The easiest way to get to central Naresuan Road is to walk straight ahead from the station and take the cross-river ferry for 4 baht.

By bus
Buses operate every 20 minutes or so from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit 2) directly to Ayutthaya. First class air-con buses charge 60 baht, while second class is 45 baht. Allow at least two hours for the trip since the buses stop rather frequently and there are often jams on the roads out of/into Bangkok.
To get to Northern Bus Terminal, take to Moh Chit BTS Station. Upon exiting gantry gates, cross the bridge on the right to go to bus-stop, and take bus service 3 or bus service 77. (air-con buses charge 12 baht, non air-con buses charge 7 baht.) Bus ride is about 10 - 15 minutes and the Northern Bus Terminal destination is the last stop for the bus services. However, buses do not stop in the Northern Bus Terminal, but at the bus stop across. Cross the bridge to get to the Bus Terminal.
Also you can take a minivan from the Victory Monument direct to Ayutthaya. Takes ~1 hour and costs 60baht. Buses depart every 20 minutes or so
The buses are from 4:30AM–7.15PM. For more details, please call Tel. 0 2936 2852-66
and Ayutthaya Bus Terminal, Tel. 0 3533 5304.
In Ayutthaya, the central BKS bus station is on the south side of Thanon Naresuan next to the Chao Phrom Market.
songthaews to Bang Pa-In also leave from here. Some 1st-class buses to Bangkok, however, leave from the north side of the road some 500m to the west, on the other side of the khlong (canal); the queue for air-con buses is easy to spot.
Kanchanaburi, take a local bus from the main bus station to Suphanburi for 45 baht (2 hours), then another local bus to Ayutthaya for 40 baht (1.5 hours). A taxi from Kanchanaburi costs 2000-2500 baht (2 hours).
There is also a central bus station east of town serving northern destinations. It can be reached by songthaew - ask around to find the appropriate stop.

By minibus (Van)
Convenient minibus service (can get stuck in traffic, but makes no stops like regular buses) operates from the Victory Monument square in Bangkok. Take BTS Skytrain to the Victory Monument station, and go right on the elevated walkway - keep on it until you cross a large road, then descend - the buses are parked at the side side of the main traffic circle). The cost is usually ~70 baht, takes around 1 hour or 1 hour 20 min. It's quite convenient since you don't have to go to bus terminals (nearby Mochit) but the only problem is that the minibuses don't have much space to put big bags and have to wait until the car is fully filled.
Minibuses (Van) from
Kanchanaburi can be arranged by guesthouses or any tour operators for around 350 baht.
By boat
Cruise boats run up the river from
Bangkok, often stopping at Ko Kret and Bang Pa-In along the way. You'll need to book in advance as there are no scheduled services, just trips for tourists. It's a fairly lengthy trip (at least one whole day) and some of the larger boats offer (pricy) overnight tours. -- Boat from Ayutthaya to Bangkok leaves 11:30AM daily (arrives Bangkok ~4PM) = 1350 baht/person PH: 08 97662672
Travelling by boat to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya is popular among foreigners since it does not only reveal the beauty as well as lifestyle of the people on both sides of the Chao Phraya River, but also reflects the life in history at the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom when the Chao Phraya River served as a channel of transportation in trading with foreign countries.
Get around
It is advised to rent a bicycle for around 40-50 baht per day. You should get a copy of a map for free at the shop that rents you the bicycle. If you are physically larger than most Thais, be warned that the larger bicycles are not necessarily well maintained, so be sure that they work properly (seats well attached, handlebars don't slip in relation to front wheel direction) before you leave.
Alternatively, you can hop around town by tuk-tuk. Ayutthaya's tuk-tuks are larger than the Bangkok variety and you can easily squeeze in four or more on the two
songthaew-style facing benches. Only "official" tuk-tuk drivers or tourist "helpers" can pick up passengers from the train station. You can verify their status by looking for their photos/name on a "Tourist Officials" board displayed at the southern end of the platform. These people are required to charge/work for fixed charges, usually quoting 300 baht/hour, but this can usually be bargained to a slightly lower price (eg. 1000 baht for 4 hrs). The drivers are very helpful, and will bring you to most of the popular destinations.
TOT runs "trams" around the main tourist attractions for 20 baht/day.
The local bus to
Lopburi leaves the main bus station every 20 minutes and pass Wat Nah Phra Meru.
From Ayutthya, mini-buses can be taken from the railway station into the city. Hiring a mini- bus within Ayutthaya costs between 400-500 baht/day. For travelling between Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-in, mini-buses regularly leave Chao Prom Market, Chao Prom Road starting from 6AM. The fare is ab

By bicycle
There are various bicycling routes in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya: Route 1 TAT Ayutthaya Office – Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre, a total distance of approximately 1km. From opposite TAT, turn left into Rotchana Road, via the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum and Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre on the opposite side. Visitors should spend an hour and a half here.
Route 2 Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre – Wat Phra Si Sanphet, a total distance of approximately 2km. From the Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre, turn left into Rotchana Road, via the old city hall, turn right into Si Sanphet Road, via TAT and Wat Ket, straight on to Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit and Wat Phra Si Sanphet, on the left. Visitors should spend at least one hour here.
Route 3 Wat Phra Si Sanphet – Wat Mahathat – Wat Ratchaburana, a total distance of approximately 1km. From Wat Phra Si Sanphet, go straight ahead on Naresuan Road in between Wat Mahathat and Wat Ratchaburana. Visitors should spend at least one hour at the two temples and may stop at the nearby Thai Boat Museum.
Route 4 Thai Boat Museum – Wat Na Phra Men, a total distance of approximately 1km. From the Thai Boat Museum, follow the old Chikun Road, turn left into Naresuan Road, turn right at the intersection and go straight ahead, turn left again into the around town or Rop Ko Mueang Road, follow the Lop Buri River to Wat Na Phra Men. Visitors should spend at least one hour here to admire the beauty of the Phra Ubosot and its principal bejewelled Buddha image of the Ayutthaya period.
Route 5 Wat Na Phra Men – Wat Lokayasutharam, a total distance of approximately 1km. From Wat Na Phra Men, turn right to follow the Lop Buri River, via the remains of the old Grand Palace of the Ayutthaya Kingdom on the left, go straight ahead and down the bridge, turn left to the canalside road, straight on and turn right into Wat Lokayasutharam. Visitors should spend about 15 or 30 minutes here.
Route 6 Wat Lokayasutharam – Wat Chai Watthanaram, a total distance of approximately 2km. From Wat Lokayasutharam, return on the same route to the entrance of the canalside road, turn right via Suan Somdet Phra Si Nakharin, go straight ahead to the T-junction and turn left across the Wat Kasattrathirat Bridge, turn left again and continue along the route to Wat Chai Watthanaram. Visitors should spend at least half an hour or more here.
Route 7 Wat Chai Watthanaram – Portuguese Village, a total distance of approximately 4km. From Wat Chai Watthanaram, continue on the asphalt road via old traditional Thai houses, turn left at the T-junction via Wat Phutthaisawan, the Portuguese Village is at the end of this road.
Route 8 Portuguese Village – Wat Phutthaisawan, a total distance of approximately 2km. From the Portuguese Village, return on the same route to Wat Phutthaisawan. Visitors should spend about half an hour here.
Route 9 Wat Phutthaisawan – TAT Ayutthaya Office, a total distance of approximately 1km. From Wat Phutthaisawan, pedal via Wat Phutthaisawan School, turn left to the ferry pier, cross the river on board the ferry, turn left to return to the TAT Ayutthaya Office.
There are still many other bicycling routes such as to the Japanese Village, Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon and Wat Phananchoeng. For more information, contact the TAT Ayutthaya Office at Tel. 0 3524 6076 – 7. Bicycles for rent are available at Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Tourist Police Office, in front of Ayutthaya Railway Station, Chao Phrom Market and several guesthouses at 50 – 70 Baht per day.

Ayutthaya is 76 kilometers north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins. Such ruins indicate that Ayutthaya was one of Indo-China’s most prosperous cities. Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, a vast stretch of historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city, has been included in UNESCO’s list of world heritage since 13 December, 1991.
There were three palaces in Ayutthaya: Grand Palace, Chantharakasem Palace or the Front Palace, and Wang Lang or the Rear Palace. In addition, there were many other palaces and buildings for royal visits located outside the city area of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, such as Bang Pa-In Palace at Amphoe Bang Pa-in and Nakhon Luang Building at Amphoe Nakhon Luang. out 30 Baht. The trip takes fifty minutes.

Tours to nearby natural and man made attractions can be made with local tour agencies. Some of the more reliable ones are Bangkok Day Tours
, Ayutthaya Boat and Travel or Nutty's Adventures. They all organize one day excursions and several day treks in Ayutthaya Province. The single-day excursions range in price from roughly 500 to 4000 baht. You can also hire a Rice Barge, and cruise through Ayutthaya and see its sights first class. Most of Ayutthaya's sites are on the protected western half of the island, while the modern city sprawls to the east. There are additional sites off the main island.

Hotel in Ayutthaya

Woraburi Ayothaya Convention Resort
Ayutthaya Tel +66 (0) 2256-0890-2 ext. 302 Fax : +66 (0) 2256-0738-39
3 star rating

Ayutthaya Tel: (66) 0-3533-7177, 0-3522-9955 Fax: (66) 0-3533-7178
4 star rating

The Lima Place
Ayutthaya Tel : 66 35 801808 Fax : 66 35 801800 Hotline : 66 86 8892389
3 star rating

Krungsri River
Ayutthaya Tel: +66 (0) 35-244-333 Fax: +66 (0) 35-243-777
3 star rating

Iudia on The River
Ayutthaya Reservation Fax:+66 2 6745544 or call: +66-81-SAWADEE or +66 2 6745555
4 ½ star rating

Riverview Place
Tel : 66 (035) 241-444 Fax : 66 (035) 241-110
3 star rating

Ayothaya Riverside Hotel
Tel : +66-3523-4873-7 .Fax :+66-3524-4139
3 star rating

Tel : +66(0)-35-232-855 Fax : +66(0)35-251-018
3 star rating

Ayodhara Village
Tel: 0 3595 0770, 08 1930 0770 Fax: 0 3595 0770
4 star rating

And others

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