Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Travelogue: Travel Tips to Ayutthaya, Thailand

Just a quick hour drive up north of Bangkok is the beautiful city of Ayutthaya --
an ancient kingdom built by Rama I U-Thong, the first ruler of Thailand.  

The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there's at least 58 beautiful attractions to tour! 

There is so much history, ancient relics and beautiful temples to soak in in this beautiful city and it's unfortunate that we only had a day to tour around.  


If you find yourself in this lovely city, here's a few tips to enjoy your visit: 

1.  Hire a private van from Bangkok.  It's a bit pricey but it's the fastest and safest.   
     We hired a chauffeured van from this company and was very pleased with their service. 

2.  Visit Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan to see an impressivly towering 60-feet golden Buddha   
     statue!   Linger long enough to see a robe ceremony -- where faithful Buddhists honor their
     Buddha by offering the statue a vibrant orange new robe.

3.  Arrive early to see Wat Yai Chai Mhang Khon (Monastery of Auspicious Victory) before the 
     morning sun casts directly to the temple.   And if your timing is lucky enough, take this 
     shot (scroll below to see the 2nd photo that we took of a teenage tourist with the lovely brick 
     temple at the backdrop). 

4. Visit Ayutthaya Historical Park to see the ruins of this historic city, the once capital of the country 
    and home of the 1st King from the 13th century.  Find out how this once great   
    kingdom fell to its enemy in a gruesome and gory battle.   I hope not to get nightmares from it.  

5. Always rent an audio wherever it's offered.  For a  mere $3 (฿100), you get a  lesson in history 
    with a very interesting narration.  It's how I found out the interesting story in #5 above.   
    If nothing else, it will surely help bring the relics come back to life in your imagination.  
    Without it, everything will just look like another brick from another century.

6.  Visit Wat Maha That (Monastery of the Great Relic) and look for the sandstone Buddha 
     surrounded by tree roots.   Sure you'll get a wee bit disappointed realizing it's a tad small than 
     what the travel magazines promised and lured you into.   Regardless, it's not something you see 
     everyday and can't buy at the malls! 

7.  Stop for lunch at Coffee Old City.   There's a reason why it's voted #1 on Tripadvisor.   Order 
     their Tom Yum fried rice, Pad Thai to find out for yourself. 

8.  Visit Wat Chaiwatthanaram and find out what gift this once king gave his mom.   Puts our  
     mother's day card and charm bracelet gifts to shame. 

9.  Hire a boat to cruise around Chao Phraya or a bike to tour around the city.  But no matter 
     what you do, I beg not to hire an elephant ride!   Should you consider it for a moment, read this 
     blog and you'll surely change your mind. 

10.   After learning so much history of this great city, (assuming you followed #9 above), you'll 
        slowly start to harbor a little resentment to the people who ruined this city.   Chill!!  It happened
        more than 400 years ago.   Suggest to go back to the place in #7 to have a Thai Iced Tea.

10.  I was told to visit 9 temples in a day for good luck.   I had a all the good intentions but   
       unfortunately, I reached some form of temple fatigue towards the late afternoon after hours 
       in grueling heat.  (It's high 85F that day. I live in Minnesota, 80's is a grueling heatwave for 

So after 7 hours, 5 temples, countless relics and a lesson in Thai history -- all for a mere $30 
(฿900), we called it a day.

DSCF2730 DSCF2767 photo 4 photo 2.1 P1040428 P1040425 P1040420 DSCF2825 DSCF2813 DSCF2791 DSCF2783 DSCF2751

It's a shameless plug, I know... but thought you might enjoy my other travelogue posts here too!   

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