Ayutthaya Temples, Thailand - One of the Best Places to See around Bangkok

Ayutthaya is probably the most popular (and impressive) historical site near Bangkok. After the first day in Thailand’s capital, which turned out to be extremely dreadful and filled with bad luck (you can read about it in this post), we were happy enough to leave it behind and go exploring different places in Thailand - hoping they would turn out to be better. And fortunately, they surely did. Ayutthaya Historical Park is rich in ancient temples and Buddha statues (especially the famous one at Wat Mahathat temple which is surrounded and entangled with branches and lianas).

 

How to get to Ayutthaya

 

As Thailand is one of the most popular destinations among western tourists, getting to Ayutthaya is extremely easy. If you have more time and want to save some money, you can travel by train from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Train Station. The journey may take over 2 hours one way.

Otherwise, you can also try to get a daily tour. I wouldn’t recommend booking it online as some of the prices are ridiculous – up to 100 USD! Try to reserve it while in Thailand – the tours are often offered by hostels, you can also shop around – but remember to check all the details and make sure that the tour will depart and return at the agreed time – Thailand is well known for con artists and the tour agencies do take advantage of the tourists. It also happened to us when we took a tour in Ko Thao. Due to misleading information we missed a ferry.

You can also combine the trip to Ayutthaya with other destinations nearby – like the floating market (which we did). However, this floating market seems to be only running for tourists – the sellers sell food and souvenirs only.

 

Ayutthaya – Is it worth it? The honest opinion

 

Ayutthaya is impressive. The temples, the statues and overall ambience of the place is great. However, as in any other flooded by tourist destinations, it has lost its unique charm. The guided tours, crowds and screaming children don’t help to enjoy this amazing site.

Of course, if it’s your first trip in the area, Ayutthaya will definitely impress you. You’ll probably remember it as the best destinations you’ve ever seen. But for those who have ventured further – e.g. to the places such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Bagan in Myanmar – Ayutthaya may seem like a small town compared to those huge ancient metropolises.

The size of the two above mentioned sites is so large that you cannot even walk around to see all the temples and attractions. This way, the masses of tourists are spread over a great area so you do feel the authenticity and grandeur of the place.

Nevertheless, although it is way less impressive, I would still consider Ayutthaya one of the most beautiful and worth to be visited historical sites near Bangkok. Don’t miss it!

 

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon Temple

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon Temple

Buddha Statue at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Buddha Statue at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

View from Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

View from Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Buddha statues at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Buddha statues at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Buddha statues at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Buddha statues at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Perfect place for meditation

Perfect place for meditation

One of the two Reclining Buddha Statues

One of the two Reclining Buddha Statues

Ruins of the temple complex

Ruins of the temple complex

Ruins of the temples

Ruins of the temples

Buddha statue surrounded by branches at Wat Mahathat Temple

Buddha statue surrounded by branches at Wat Mahathat Temple

The largest reclining Buddha statue

The largest reclining Buddha statue

The Reclining Buddha Statue

The Reclining Buddha Statue

The three stupas of Wat Phra Si Sanphet

The three stupas of Wat Phra Si Sanphet

The three stupas of Wat Phra Si Sanphet

The three stupas of Wat Phra Si Sanphet

The three stupas of Wat Phra Si Sanphet

The three stupas of Wat Phra Si Sanphet

 

What to see in Ayutthaya

 

Ayutthaya is probably best known for the entangled Buddha statue at the Wat Mahathat Temple. However, I must admit that the statue looks amazing in the photos, but in real life, it’s quite disappointing. If you want to experience the truly impressive statues and temples engulfed by the growing trees, you must see the Ta Phrom temple in Cambodia (take a look at the post about it).

Another worth mentioning temple in Ayutthaya is the Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon. It is a high temple which you can climb and it’s surrounded by dozens of Buddha statues. It was one of my favorite temples in the site.

You can’t miss the Reclining Buddha Statue – it is around 40 meters long and 8 meters high. It is not the only reclining Buddha in Ayutthaya, but definitely the largest and the most majestic one.

The three stupas of Wat Phra Si Sanphet are yet another well-known landmark of Ayutthaya. They resemble those of the Burmese city of Bagan a bit, but to a way lesser extent. They are also a witness of the bygone conflict and mixing between Thai and Burmese cultures.

All the above-mentioned temples are easy to reach just by walking around. It shouldn’t take more than half a day to visit them all.

There is, however, another temple - Chedi Phukhao Thong which is not located strictly in the Ayutthaya complex, but in the Phukhao Thong village nearby. If you book a tour, most probably this amazing Buddhist tower will be included in the itinerary. It’s the tallest of all the structures we saw that day and when you climb it, you can get a nice panoramic view of the area.

 

Roosters of Ayutthaya

 

There is an unusual and interesting thing about Ayutthaya that is not usually known or written about when mentioning Ayutthaya.

While walking around the temple complex, you’ll see thousands of colourful rooster statues of various sizes ranging from tiny to enormous, twice as tall as a human, standing literally everywhere. They are brought to this holy site as an offering by tourists, pilgrims and visitors. Why is that?

The story goes that a rooster saved the Thai kingdom during the difficult times of conflicts between Thailand and Burma.

In the 16th century, the Thai Prince Naresuan was captured by the Burmese and removed from Thailand. He was a captive in Burma and was forced to serve his enemies.

However, he still wanted Ayutthaya to gain independence once more and he made a bet with the Burmese prince. A rooster fight was arranged and Naresuan was promised that if his rooster wins, the Burmese will free Ayutthaya.

Of course, as it is obvious in those kind of legends, the Thai rooster won and Ayutthaya was free again. Now, the people want to show thanks, bring the roosters with them and put them around the King Naresuam memorial in Ayutthaya.

 

Chedi Phukhao Thong temple

Chedi Phukhao Thong temple

On top of the Chedi Phukhao Thong

On top of the Chedi Phukhao Thong

View from Chedi Phukhao Thong

View from Chedi Phukhao Thong

Buddhist Temple

Buddhist Temple

Buddhist Temple in Ayutthaya

Buddhist Temple in Ayutthaya

Buddha statue

Buddha statue

The roosters of Ayutthaya

The roosters of Ayutthaya

Roosters of Ayutthaya

Roosters of Ayutthaya

Roosters of Ayutthaya

Roosters of Ayutthaya

 

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