Ayutthaya

Bicycle Ride - Highlights of Ayutthaya

   

Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya is the former capital city on the Chao Phraya River and a UNESCO World Heritage site of cultural significance. Ayutthaya has been in the annals of history for over 400 years with numerous stories of glory that have been passed down to the present. The city was once the hub of trade in Southeast Asia and there are many interesting things to learn from this wonderfully ancient city, from people of all walks of life to the unique forms of art.

Historical Center

This is the ideal first stop for a first time visitor. Get to know the city’s big picture before going out to experience it firsthand. Start from a bird’s eye view of the city with a miniature of the city plan that led the city to become the center of trade in Southeast Asia. See why Ayutthaya was once referred to as the “Venice of the East”. It was also a melting pot of people from many nations.

Wang Chang Ayutthaya and Elephant Kraal Pavilion

Experience Ayutthaya from a different perspective, move from the back of a bike to the back of an elephant. Choose from a variety of routes, both near and far. You can also take a moment to enjoy the antics of the elephants or give them something to eat. In the past, wild elephants would be trained at the Elephant Kraal Pavilion. This is where candidates with the best characteristics, according to Kochaluck’s Manual, were chosen for use in times of war or for the King, especially the rare white elephant.

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet , Mongkol Bophit’s Viharn

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet was a royal temple just like Wat Phra Sri Rattana Sasadaram in Bangkok. It is most well-known for the traces of three large bell-shaped chedis, while much of the rest are only ruins of the wihan, mondop and other buildings. Stop by to pay respect to Phra Mongkol Bophit, the large and highly revered Buddha image. During the restoration of 1957, many bronze Buddha images were found tucked away in chests. These are now on display at Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.

Wat Mahatat and Wat Ratchaburana:

Relish the greatness of the past. It was a common custom to keep the relics of the Lord Buddha at the city center in Wat Mahathat, the most significant religious center in old Ayutthaya.

Try exploring the chamber at Wat Ratchaburana to get a sense of the faith past generations had in Buddhism. Slowly descend the steep and narrow stairs down into the lowest chamber that once housed the Lord Buddha’s relic inside a golden chedi, which is now exhibited at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.

Wat Na Phramen

This temple was spared the destruction that befell many other sites during the second loss of the city, because at the time it served as the camp ground for the Burmese army. Take a moment to pay respect to the fully adorned Buddha image with its striking facial expression; superbly crafted in the old Ayutthaya style. Bask in the fine arts of Ayutthaya, as well as the gigantic ubosots of the period. Pay respects as well to Phra Kantararat, a Buddha image from the Tawarawadee period.

Wat Chaiwattanaram

Finish the day with a trip of the majestic principle prang, surrounded by eight chedi-shaped chapels (Meru Thit Meru Rai). Unlike other temples in Ayutthaya, it is inspired by the model of the universe according to Buddhist beliefs. Leisurely admire the details of the reliefs on the walls of the chedi-shaped chapels. Then appreciate the beauty of the Buddha images in the rectangular cross-shaped passage (Rabieng Kod), which are similar to those found at Wat Na Phramen, possibly showing a popular trend during the time of King Prasat Thong.