I was very keen to cover as many sites from the Ayutthaya Historical Park as I could. My lovely hotel, Silp-Pa, was close to it all. The first day I walked around the “inside the islands” ruins.
One of the things that I immediately noticed upon my arrival in Ayutthaya, is that hardly anyone speaks a word of English. This was proved very challenging at some points since communication was completely based on gestures.
I relied on various things for my daily walk: lonely planet advice, my YouTube previous research, the maps that the hotel provided and obviously my google maps app. I then left for my four hours walk.
The Ayutthaya Historical Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. This was the strong motive for me to visit this city. Ayutthaya was built at the confluence of three rivers (Mae Nam, Chao Phraya, and Pa-Sak), it is essentially an island which helped as a barrier from invasion. At the same time, it was a central point for trade from 1350 to 1767, when the Burmese invaded them.
Inside the Island Sites:
- Wat Mahathat: Entry 50 bath, this is one of the most famous ones, it holds a sandstone Buddha head entangled in within a bodhi tree roots. It is also called the “the Temple of the Great Relic” and was one of the greatest temples in the Ayutthaya Kingdom. There I a central prang like most temples ruin. I took me around 50 minutes to walk around and enjoy the site. Next;
- Wat Ratchaburana: It took me 9 minutes from Mahathat to this ruin. Entry 50 bath, something about this temple is the detailed carving of lotus. I climbed inside the prang and visited the crypt (not recommended for those afraid of heights)
- Wat Thammikarat: It took me 25 minutes from Ratchaburana to this ruin. Entry 50 bath. This one was not on my list initially, I arrived there only by chance. It is one of the lesser visited ruins but I treasured it the most. Nowadays, it is, in fact, a working temple. When I entered the chapel, I was greeted by a monk, I was shocked by it because I was under the understanding that they could not interact with women; it felt truly special! he invited me near his post, he did some sort of chant on me, and then he put a bracelet on my wrist. It was really nice, it felt so peaceful. The most outstanding ruins here was a chedi, surrounded by lion’s statues. I noticed numerous rooster statues as well, which has some sort of story about a cook fight between Burmese and Ayutthaya royals.
- Wat Phra Si Sanphet: It took me around 15 minutes to walk from Thammikarat to this ruin. This one used to be a large temple, which once contained a 16 meters high Buddha covered in gold. Well, like the Spanish with the Incas; Burmese conquerors set fire on it to melt it down in 1767. The temple still holds three distinctive comprehensive engraved
Next Day: Off Island Sites:
Next day I was more tied up with time since I was travelling to Lop Buri in the afternoon, so I hired a tuk-tuk for two hours, at 200 baht per hours to take me to these three sites and then drop me at the train station
- Wat Lokaya Sutha: “the temple of the Earth”. Free of charge: The most impressive view for me, was the 42 meters Reclined Buddha statue, which is opposite some ruins. The Buddha was dressed up with a bright orange cloth. Ruins: Apart from the central tower seems still is a good condition, only the bases of few buildings remain.
- Wat Chaiwatthanaram: Entry 50 bath. Very impressive ruin, the central podium is surrounded by eight towers.
- Wat Phanan Choeng: My last visit before leaving Ayutthaya. This active Buddhist Temple’s most noteworthy attraction is its 19m Golden Buddha surrounded by 84000 smalls Buddha images. The view of this giant status left me speechless, truly wonderful.
That was the end of my stay in Ayutthaya. Apart from feeling a bit lost for not being able to communicate with the local people, (due to my lack of Thai language skills), I still felt that this visit was well worth it.
Next stop Lop Buri, for some monkey business.
“Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude …” Denis Waitley