Bangkok is a hive of activity, with people, traffic, markets, street vendors, scooters and tuk tuks. This was my first visit to Bangkok, travelling with Tourism Thailand for Women’s Journey 2016 – Thailand through her eyes. Coming from a small country town in Northern Victoria, my first impression was one of feeling overwhelmed, however it was quickly replaced with fascination, wonder and awe for the vastly different way of life in this bustling city. If you’ve ever been to Bangkok, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Some of the things to do in Bangkok include taking a tour of the Grand Palace, Thonburi Palace and the Royal Barge Museum. But if you want to get out of the big city, take a day trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya.
Getting from Bangkok to Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is only about an hour’s drive from Bangkok. The most convenient way to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is to book a day tour. Day tours cover Ayutthaya’s main historical sites, such as the ruins and temples.
You can also get to Ayutthaya by bus (from Mo Chit Bus Station), taxi and minivan if you prefer to explore independently.
What to do in Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is about 50km north of Bangkok and is not something to be missed.
Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 and is the second capital of Siam (the former name for Thailand).
Apparently, by 1700, Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world. However in 1767 the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya and burnt nearly the whole city to the ground, and the city left in ruins.
In short, the people of Ayutthaya were forced to abandon the city. To this day it remains as a large archaeological site full of rich history, memories and relics from the past.
1- Wat Phanang Choeng
We visited Wat Phanang Choeng, a Buddhist temple which is located in Ayutthaya. It was actually built in 1324, 26 years before Ayutthaya was officially founded.
Walking around this area, I was awe-struck just thinking about the history behind the walls, imagining what must have happened, while the sweet smell of incense wafting around everywhere takes your senses back to a place that recognises on some level a past history.
One that is so rich and full of life, invoking a sense of nostalgia, it’s impossible not to be deeply touched by it all. Legend has it that this Buddha image, shed tears when the Burmese overtook Ayutthaya.
2- Wat Maheyong
Following on from there, Wat Maheyong is located just outside the city in the Hantra sub-district of Ayutthaya.
This Buddhist monastery was originally thought to have been built in 1438, during the reign of King Borommarachathirat II.
Wat Maheyong underwent a major restoration project in 1709. It and took somewhere around three years to complete. All that is left now though is the ruins of the temple, which again are spectacular to see.
It will leave you in a world full of wonder of a time that is beyond us, and hard to fully comprehend; something that will be etched in your mind and have you thinking about for days, if not months and years to come.
3- Ayutthaya floating markets
From there you can head to the Ayutthaya floating markets to get a bit of a shopping fix. There is well over 200 different shops offering clothing, art, souvenirs, and of course, plenty of food!
4- Candy Floss Street
On the way back to Bangkok, you would be remiss to pass by Candy Floss Street.
We were treated to the Thai way of making candy floss, and how sweet it is!
Candy Floss, but not as we know it. Wrapped in a sweet Roti crepe, it is pure sugary bliss.
Initially, we were a bit unsure of it, but that was quickly surpassed with the sweet deliciousness that leaves you craving more.