On our way to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, we decided to make a stop and check out the ruins of Ayutthaya. We spent two nights there, checking out the ruins and cruising along the river. It was only about an hour and a half train trip from Bangkok, so can also easily be done in a day trip from Bangkok if you don’t want to stay over.
Ayutthaya’s full name is Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya and is an ancient capital city of Thailand, which means it has a lot of history. The city was once one of the largest cities in the world, and central point for many international merchants. This all came to an end when the Burmese invaded the city in 1767 and almost completely burnt the entire city down. Leaving behind only a few remnants of how impressive the city must have once been.
Ruins of Ayutthaya
On our first day we visited Wat Mahathat in the Ayutthaya Historical Park. This is the sight of the famous Buddha in a tree, where the tree’s roots have grown over the Buddha leaving just the face visible.
We then just walked around the city for the rest of day, as this was only our second stop on our trip in Thailand everything was still so exciting. We were still getting used to the whole Thailand vibe. Many people in our hostel rented bicycles to cycle around city, which I think is a great idea! Any way to make getting around easier in the insane Thailand heat is a winner.
Sunset boat tour around Ayutthaya
We then hopped onto a sunset boat tour around Ayutthaya in the afternoon which takes you around the river that circles the main city. The boat stopped at all of the temples and ruins along the river, which was a great way to see all of the sights. You get about 20 minutes at each stop to explore then hop back onto the boat to get to the next stop. I would definitely recommend going on a boat tour. There are Tuk Tuk drivers that also offer you a day tour taking you to each of the stops, but I don’t think they would be as nice as the boat tour. It’s also just great being on the water, and seeing all of the houses along the river. The locals are all so friendly, and wave to you as you breeze on past their balconies.
It was amazing to see the ruins of Ayutthaya as the sun was shining its brilliant golden light, perfect for awesome photos.
We then went off to the night market for dinner – a definite must when visiting this city. It’s not as big as other night markets around Thailand, but there certainly is a wide variety of food to choose from. It is a bit daunting when you first arrive as the path is very narrow, with stalls on both sides and loads of people going in both directions. The smells are also pretty intense, which often put a stop to my appetite (something that did get easier as we spent more time in Thailand and I got used to the smells). You’ll eventually find something that grabs your attention – don’t be afraid to try something a bit out of your ordinary food choices.
Accommodation in Ayutthaya
If you’re looking for a hostel in Ayutthaya, I would recommend Stockhome Hostel. Very affordable, in a great location and has a really friendly atmosphere. During our one month in Thailand, we met the most awesome people in this hostel. Each night was spent on the patio, chatting with the other travelers over a few Changs. The beds weren’t that comfortable though (hard mattresses are VERY common in Thailand) and the breakfast was toast and jam (one morning the bread was green…not moldy green, just green. Very interesting), but you can get over that when you’re saving a few extra Baht’s on accommodation.
If you’re not keen on staying in Ayutthaya and have a spare day in Bangkok with nothing to do, then check out this day tour to Ayutthaya with Trazy. It includes pick up from your hotel, transport to see the ruins of Ayutthaya, tour of the temples and a cruise.
All photos by Michael Langer.