Monday, October 01, 2012

Thailand: Bangkok day-trip to the Historic City of Ayutthaya

My family has been to Bangkok before. Having seen many of the major attractions in the Thai capital, my parents asked me to plan a day-trip outside Bangkok this time around. So we rented a van and motored to the Historic City of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and capital of the Siamese kingdom of Ayutthaya from 1350 until it was ransacked by the Burmese in 1767. The trip to Ayutthaya takes about two hours.

It had been several years since I last visited Ayutthaya and it was raining during that trip. So I was looking forward to this visit, especially since the sun was out this time (after several days of nonstop rain). Since the city is mostly ruins of the ancient capital, and noting we had my young niece with us, I decided to start the day with an elephant ride around some of the historic monuments to get her excited.

Among the temples you get to see is the Wat Phra Ram which you won't miss because of the lagoon in front of it. The elephant ride is one activity you should do to encourage young people to appreciate the heritage of the place. We also got to feed the elephants after the ride which was really fun.

With that done, we proceeded to the temples. Note that each temple has its own entrance fee which costs more for foreigners. Our first stop was Wat Phra Mahathat วัดมหาธาตุ, also known as the Monastery of the Great Relic. Walking through the temple, you will notice rows of headless Buddhas and leaning prangs.

But one of the highlights of the visit would be the Buddha head engulfed by the roots of a fig tree. Remember to kneel or squat when having your photo taken since the Thais consider it disrespectful if you are higher than the Buddha head in the photo.

After a sumptuous Thai lunch, we visited Wat Ratchburana or the Monastery of the Royal Restoration. The highlight of the visit would be the main prang and royal vihara. After two temples, my family was all templed out. So we called it a day but stopped by Bang Pa-In Summer Palace พระราชวังบางปะอิน on the way back to Bangkok.

More photos of Ayutthaya, Thailand in the Ivan About Town FB page.

How to get to Ayutthaya, Thailand
Aside from renting a private vehicle, there are several trains and buses which conveniently connect Bangkok to Ayutthaya several times daily. In fact, they are very cheap! During my previous visit, I took the train going there and an air-conditioned bus going back.

The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok
During our visit to Bangkok, we stayed at the Westin Grande Sukhumvit which was conveniently located close to the BTS Asok Station. The hotel is quite memorable to me since this was where the opening ceremonies of the Thailand Medical Tourism Blog Contest were held.

We spent a comfortable two days at the Westin. And I enjoyed their breakfast buffet spread!

259 Sukhumvit Road
Bangkok 10110 Thailand
Tel. No. +66 (2) 2078000
Fax No. +66 (2) 2552441

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