There are two things I always do when visiting Thailand: eat local food and temple-hopping! As Indonesian, I find Thai food matches my taste as it is quite similar to my home country cuisine. Also, do I need to explain to you that temples in Thailand are incredibly stunning? If you are into both of those things, then Ayutthaya is a city you can not miss.
Ayutthaya is a city in Thailand, located only 80 KMs north of the capital city Bangkok. It was the second capital city of Siamese Kingdom from 14th to 18th century (the first capital city is Sukhothai). Ayutthaya was full of beautiful palaces, temples, and monasteries.
Unfortunately in 1767, the Burmese (Myanmar) army attacked the city and burned Ayutthaya all to the ground. The city was abandoned then and never rebuilt. The Siamese Kingdom moved to a new place you know now as Bangkok.
If you see any beautiful ruins with chedi-shaped made of red bricks on the internet, there is a big chance of it could be Ayutthaya. I love that it was very different than any other places I visited in Thailand before. The historical story is beyond. You couldn’t help but wonder how majestic the city was in its prime time when you explore the area.
Ayutthaya is very reachable from Bangkok, it will take you probably just an hour or two depending on the traffic. You can either take private or public transportation to go to here. If you have limited time in your trip, you can do a day-trip to from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, just like I did with TakeMeTour!
TakeMeTour is the largest online marketplace for local tours & activities in Thailand. But what makes TakeMeTour different than similar marketplace is they provide local expert to guide you! I find this very refreshing and unique, because no one can tell you the real stories and experience of a place better than the locals, right?
This is the Ayutthaya tour that I booked from TakeMeTour! Click to see the details!
07.30 AM – PICK UP FROM HOTEL IN BANGKOK
My day in Ayutthaya started around 7.30 AM from my hostel in Khaosan area, Bangkok. Meet Mai, the local expert for our trip in Ayutthaya! She is the sweetest and the friendliest person, I will tell you more about her later. Promptly, Mai and the driver Lung Kai (Mai told me lung means uncle in Thai), drove us to Ayutthaya.
The journey took us only an hour by car. I found this very time efficient, because if you use the public bus it will take you around 2 hours and you have to go to Mo Chit bus station first.
08.30 AM – ARRIVE AT AYUTTHAYA & WAT PHANAN CHOENG
First stop is Wat Phanan Choeng. Wat Phanan Choeng is a Buddhist temple made in 1324 AD, even before the founding of Ayutthaya. Here you can find a 19 meter high seated Buddha. It is the biggest seated Buddha in Thailand and also very popular among both locals and tourists in Ayutthaya.
Wat Phanan Choeng is one of few temples in Thailand with Chinese influence. In the area, lies a shrine made by the king for his bride, Chinese princess Lady Soi Dok Mak.
09.30 AM- WAT YAI CHAIMONGKHON
Wat Yai Chaimongkhon is one of the landmarks of Ayutthaya: a chedi standing high covered with yellow fabric. It was built by the king to celebrate his winning against Burmese army (Myanmar), hence the name Wat Yai Chaiyamongkhon: The Great Temple of Auspicious Victory.
If you ever heard of the reclining Buddha statue in Ayutthaya, it is located also in the area of Wat Yai Chaimongkhon.
10.30 – WAT MAHATHAT
One of my favorite visit in Ayutthaya!
Wat Mahathat used to be the royal temple of Ayutthaya Kingdom. After the Burmese attack years ago, it was severely damaged by fire and abandoned. Wat Mahathat then became a large site of ruins. The most popular spot is probably the Buddha head trapped in tree roots.
Notice the headless Buddha statue? It is said that when the Burmese conquered Ayutthaya, they chopped off all the Buddha statues’ head because it contained gold. They brought the gold to Yangon, Myanmar, and used them to build the famous Shweddagon Pagoda.
I never knew ruins can be this beautiful.
12.00 – WAT SUAN LUANG SOPSAWAN
On our way from Wat Mahathat to Mai’s shrimp farm, we found this beautiful temple named Wat Suan Luang Sopsawan. We stopped for a while because I really wanted to take picture of this white chedi! So gorgeous with gold on the tip of it.
Wat Suan Luang Sopsawan is a temple dedicated for Queen Suriyothai. She is well-known for sacrificing herself in the battle between her husband King Maha Chakkraphat and the Burmese army.
13.00 – MAI’S SHRIMP FARM
We know that one of the best ways to learn about a country’s culture is through local food. For that reason, Tourism Authority of Thailand along with TakeMeTour is collaborating on a campaign to let you see Thailand through the eyes of the locals named LocalTable.
Through LocalTable, you will get to experience the local gastronomy like no other: straight from local’s recommendation restaurant, or even from the local’s very own home! Like what I got in Mai’s family shrimp farm.
Mai’s shrimp farm was located a little outside of Ayutthaya, so it took some time to get to the farm. Fortunately the car ride was really comfy, I dozed off in the car on the way there! Hahaha. I couldn’t help but get a bit tired after exploring the temples.
At Mai’s shrimp farm, you can learn about the life of Thailand local shrimp farmers. In Indonesia we call this traditional method of shrimp farming as ‘tambak udang’. I’ve heard about ‘tambak udang’ all my life but never witness it myself, so this experience was actually my first time!
After showing us around her farm, Mai cooked us a meal with ingredients from her farm and garden. Let’s see the cooking process!
Here’s the resuuuuult!
I gotta say Mai’s cooking skill is superb. She didn’t use any recipe, she just go with her guts! But the result? Amazing taste! This is what I called the real local homemade cuisine.
16.00 – BIG BUDDHA and HELL-LAND
Before going back to Bangkok, Mai took us to visit Big Buddha statue near her farm. It was the biggest Buddha statue I’ve ever seen!
Near the Big Buddha, there was a unique place called Hell-Land. It is an rather strange area, I’ve never seen anything like this before. The place was full of disturbing, scary, and brutal sculptures. The whole area depicts of what is likely to happen in hell.
The intention of this place is well though. It is made to ‘remind’ people to do good in life, so they could avoid face these ‘things’ happen to them in hell.
16.30 – BACK TO BANGKOK
Then we went back to my hostel in Bangkok. FYI, Bangkok traffic could be bad around these hours, especially on weekdays. Again, I was grateful we were traveling by car so I slept the whole way back to Bangkok! Mai is too kind, she even provides scarf and neck pillow for us in the car so we’d be comfy the whole journey. We arrived at my hostel around 6 PM.
And that’s a wrap of our day trip in Ayutthaya! I had a fantastic day, and I think what makes me enjoy the trip the most is because I’m guided by the local. From Mai, I can get to know Ayutthaya from local’s perspective. Getting to know the local shrimp farm life, tasting the local culinary, they were all priceless experiences.
My previous trip in Thailand, I was just roaming the city with the help of mighty Google in hands. It wasn’t bad, but let me tell you: guided by locals is THE BEST way to explore a city!
I will definitely book another experience through TakeMeTour next time I’m in Thailand! I’m eye-ing the Mango Sticky Rice Cooking Class just because I love mango sticky rice so much lol. How about you?
TIPS & TRICK
- Most of the destinations in Ayutthaya are temples, so you have to follow the dress code. Wear something that covers your knees and shoulders
- Some temples require you to take off your shoes when entering. Better wear shoes that are easy to take off and put on
- All tickets are included in TakeMeTour, so no need to worry for extra expenses!
- Ayutthaya could be really sunny and hot! That’s coming from me, an Indonesian! I think the best transportation to go around Ayutthaya is by car. You can use scooter, but prepare for the heat. Bicycle is a no-no for me unless you go early in the morning or after 3 PM