A train ride of one and half an hour from Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok brought me to Ayutthaya. This is suitable destination for a day trip from Bangkok.
Ayutthaya, established in 1351, was capital of the Siam Kingdom. The city grew as an important trade point until in 1767 Burmese troops looted and destroyed it. From then on the former capital was left and neglected until it was later rediscovered. Sadly some temples were severely plundered, renovation was necessary. After renovation Ayutthaya has been declared a historical park with its temples and ruins.
While doing research for this place, I read there are many ways of transport from Bangkok: by train, bus, coach or a car. Arriving in Ayutthaya for those who do not travel by car, you can walk or rent a bike. I booked a tuktuk beforehand, so when I stepped out of the train, my tuktuk was waiting for me. The driver explained the city map and suggested a number of routes for a day trip. I agreed to visit three temples. Here we go.
This is our first stop, Wat yai chai mongkhon. This Buddhist monastery was built in 1357.
This lying Buddha is so serene. I love it.
Second stop is Wat Mahathat. My husband would really love to see this world-famous Buddha head in the tree. There are two possible years when this monastery was built, 1374 or 1384.
Wat Mahathat was the religious centre and enshrined relics of the Buddha. The complex is so big I came to realise it once I wandered along the ruins and chedis. However, despite many visitors and humidity it was pleasant to explore it.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet was the royal monastery and the most important one in Ayutthaya. Built in 1350 on the palace ordered by prince U-Thong. It was later used as model for the temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.
This Buddha statue is called Phra Mongkhon Bophit the Buddha of the Holy and Supremely Auspicious. It was sculpted in 1538. Unfortunately the vihara where it was located, fell into fire during the Burmese attack in 1767. After the renovation, this giant statue is put again in its home, the vihara. Phra Mongkhon Bophit is one of the largest bronze Buddha images in Thailand. Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit is located beside Wat Phra Si Sanphet.
For first timers in Ayutthaya or Thailand in general, here are some tips. When you visit a wat (temple), you are a tourist but there are locals praying in the same shrines you come to admire, please reckon with these:
The three Wats that I have seen are just a small part of the huge historical park of Ayutthaya. If I have a chance to come back to Thailand, I would love to visit Ayutthaya again and stay there for a night. Imagine the grandeur and magical sphere of the Wats under the light in the evening. It must be spectacular.