Ayutthaya is the former capital of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province in Thailand. The city is named after the city of Ayodhya in India. The Fine Arts Department of Thailand reports that Ayutthaya was founded in 1351 by King U Thong, who made it the capital of his kingdom. That way it became the second Siamese capital after the city Sukhothai. Estimations say that Ayutthaya must have been a large city, reaching around 300.000 people around the year 1600 and possibly around one million around the year 1700. If that’s true it was one of the biggest cities at that time.
Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Lokayasutharam)
Wat Phra Ram
The city was destroyed in the year 1767 by the Burmese army. This resulted in the collapse of the kingdom. You can still find the ruins of the kingdom in the form of many temples if you visit this modern city of Ayutthaya which is located near the old city.
It’s very easy to get there. When my girlfriend and I were traveling in Thailand a few years back we thought about visiting this place on our way north to Chiang Mai. But in the end we figured out it was way easier to just do a trip from Bangkok. With this blog I want to share some details of our trip to Ayutthaya. In that time I did not had a DSLR camera yet so the photos in here maybe a bit lower of quality I usually post.
When in Bangkok we just went to the Democracy Monument and there were loads of shuttle busses waiting for people to bring them to any place in Thailand. We picked one and in one and a half hour we arrived in Ayutthay. The old city is a pretty big area with temples scattered all over the place. At the drop off point there were tuk-tuks and cabs waiting for us, but after a quick talk it was pretty clear they were charging way too much. So we grabbed our Lonely Planet and searched for a bike shop. We’ve read that you can easily discover the place by bike and luckily that day it was a bit cloudy so no too hot. So the bikes were a good choice. We didn’t feel like riding around on a screaming 2-stroke engine all day anyway.
It’s pretty fun to bike because as I mentioned before, the temples are scattered all around the city and are nowadays surrounded by houses and other buildings. So it’s not that you’re biking around in a deserted area with some temples. The temples are very different and some require a small entry fee, but most of them are free to visit. The most famous temple is Wat Chai Watthanaram. This Buddhist temple is built in the year 1630 and was the first temple of the reign. The temple is 35 meters high.
Another iconic image you can find at Ayutthay is the Buddha head in tree roots at Wat Mahathat. Nobody really knows how the head became entwined with the roots, but a possible explanation is that the tree just grew around it during the period after the Burmese army destroyed the place, when the places was abandoned.
We biked around the place all day. It was really interesting with the history and everything and because the area is quite big, it’s not so crowded at most temples. Alternatively from biking (and a tuk-tuk) you can also do a boat tour over the Chao Phraya River from where you can also see a lot of temples. In historical perspective I would definitely recommend visiting either Ayutthay or Sukhothai. Sukhothai is pretty comparable with Ayutthay. But were in Ayutthay the temples are mostly ruined by the Burmese army and treasurhunters, the temples in Sukhothai are well conserved. But we’ve not been there, so I can’t tell much about it.
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!steemitworldmap 14.371814 lat 100.586539 long Ayutthaya d3scr