Ayutthaya – The Thai Ancient City
Ayutthaya, or actually Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, is an ancient city located 80 kilometers north of Bangkok. Back in the days, it used to be a Thai capital and now it serves as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The city was founded in the 14th centrury and until it was sacked by the Burmese 400 years later, it was one of the world’s largest cities at that time with population perhaps reaching 1,000,000, sometimes known as the “Venice of the East”. The ruins of the old city are well preserved in the Ayutthaya historical park that comprizes a couple of spectacular temples.
Ayutthaya can be easily reached from Bangkok by train or minivan. Naturally, the train is the cheapest mean of transportation, but minivan is still a cheap option (50B, $1.3). Both trains and minivans departure often, but I’d recommend to set off before 10, so you can make it to see the best of the ancient city. Most of the temples are closed by 4-6pm.
The ruins compound is not very big. Best option for getting around is renting a bike. There are many places you can do that, and price for a whole day is around 30-50baht ($1.5). You can also rent a tuk-tuk, but as it’s very touristy place, drivers will most lileky try to scam you. We decided to walk around the ruins, which is also possible, but takes relatively more time.
At the tourist information you can get a map of the historical park and start exploring on your own. The tour might become a bit tiring, especially when Thailand’s heat waves don’t give you a break. However, Ayutthaya is worth your effort. Also you don’t need to visit all the temples, as some are more impressive while the others not so much. We skipped a few as exploring the first few ruins was very exciting. After a while though, we got a feeling that we had already seen that. They are pretty much the same (same same but different).
Here are some of my best shots of the tour. Enjoy!
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