The Kingdom of Thailand is rich with historical sites and traditions which makes it one of the most diverse countries to visit where history and modernization co-exist together in harmony. There are also many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Thailand from the National Parks to ancient sites of historical significance. One such site is the Ancient City of Ayutthaya located about a two hour and half hour drive from Bangkok City.
Thaitourismguide currently offers the Bangkok to Ayuttaya World Heritage Tour as a way to visit and see one of Thailand’s national treasures. Ayutthaya is one of the most romantic of the ruined cities. Although enclosed within a modern township, it is considered as one of Thailand’s most revered national treasures. The ruins attest to the all-powerful and splendour of an empire that dominated Southeast Asia for almost 400 years. “In the bloody aftermath of a Burmese onslaught, most of the city was destroyed by fire, its people killed or taken to Burma as slaves.” It was a catastrophic loss on an epic scale that is now hard to imagine.
The Bangkok to Ayuttaya sightseeing tour by Thaitourismguide will travel to Bang Pa-In for the start of a sightseeing tour in the Ancient City. Ayutthaya was built in the Chakri Dynasty of King Rama V during the Ayuttaya period. The construction of the city included various temples, pavillions and places. The Ancient City of Ayuttaya is a must see for Thailand’s historical travel experience and this city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 13th December 1991.
The Ancient City of Ayutthaya is one of Thailand’s most historical and majestic highlights. Ayutthaya was at that time the capital city of Thailand and was known as the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Situated in the province of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, it was glorified as one of the biggest and richest cities in Southeast Asia and a regional monarchy power for 417 years. The ruins that now remain, many of which have been painstakingly restored, have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.
The architecture of temples, pavilions and other buildings in Ayutthaya is a fascinating mix of Khmer and early Sukhothai styles. Some cactus-shaped obelisks, called prangs, denote Khmer influence and look something like the famous towers of Angkor Wat. The more pointed stupas are ascribed to the Sukhothai influence. When looking at these remarkable structures, it helps to understand that, throughout Southeast Asia, it had long been the fashion to construct temples in stone, while royal palaces and utilitarian structures such as homes and businesses were made of wood. This is the chief reason why only religious structures have survived the ravages of time.
Ayutthaya is only located about 90 kilometres from Bangkok and can be visited on a daytrip sightseeing tour. Visiting Ayuttaya historical park, you would appreciate the architecture, craftsmanship and sculpture of Ayutthaya art. The unique expression of Siamese style depicts elegance combined to form a new definition of Asian religious architecture.
This is a very early morning tour and the pickup time is at 6.30 am from your hotel. You will be met by your /English speaking guide who will accompany you throughout the trip to explain all about the Ancient city and its surrounding areas. It is best for you to have a quick breakfast before your departure for the two hour plus trip to the province of Ayutthaya. Light clothing, a hat and good walking shoes is best. The first leg of your tour will bring you to Bang Pa-in and a visit to the Bang Pa-in Summer Palace. This was formally a riverine island at the time of King Prasat Thong who was the Ayutthaya King from 1630 to 1655. This place is fascinating with five buildings of importance which is the Phra Thinang Aisawan Thippa-at and actually is a Thai design castle pavilion that stands in the middle of the lake. The architecture of this palace is exquisite and a testimony to ancient Thai architectural craftsmanship. The other place is the Phra Thinang Warophat Phiman which occupies the original site of the Pavilion built during King Mongkut’s reign. It was two levels of which one was used as the King’s apartment and the other as a reception hall. The third building is the Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian which was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1938. It was formerly used as a high-water season residence when it rained a lot and chances of flooding were a possibility due to the proximity to the river but now only a few bricks remain. The fourth building is the Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun which is a Chinese-style building where the court generally resided during the rainy and cool seasons. The fifth building is the Phra Thinang Withun Thatsana which is an observatory standing on a small island between Phra Thinang Uthayan and Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun from which a commanding view of the surrounding countryside was one of the ways that the Thai Kings of old kept a look out for the kingdom.
Other buildings in the area included Wat Niwet Thammaprawat which is a remarkable building constructed during King Chulalongkorn’s time on the outer island. It is actually a temple but was built in Gothic style, resembling a Christian church. It is one of the oddities of Western influence during that period of time. A temple of significance at that time before the capital city of Ayutthaya was moved to now Bangkok City is Wat Phra Si Sanphet. This is the most important temple within the Royal Palace compound and corresponds to The Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok’s Grand Palace.
By this time you would be hungry from all the walking and sightseeing so lunch would be a scrumptious meal of traditional Thai food with a good portion of dessert to whet your appetite. The food comes in a variety of traditionally cooked Thai dishes which is not too spicy for the Western palate and gives you an insight into traditional Thai cuisine.
After lunch, you will visit the Wat Yai Chaimongkol. “Wat” is the Thai word for temple. This temple is also called “ Wat Chao Phraya Thai” and was built By King U-Thong in 1357 for meditation purposes. It might interest you to know that Ayutthaya’s full name was “Krungthep Maha-Nakorn Boworn Tawaravati Sri Ayutthaya Maha Dilokphop Nopparat Ratc Thani Burirom.” The name was also used in the Ratanakosin Period. It is not as long as the name given to Bangkok the current capital which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest name given to a city.
An interesting artefact to see is the Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit which is the principal Buddha image and is one of Thailand’s largest bronze images. Many small Buddha images were also discovered in the ruins. The Wihan was destroyed when the Burmese sacked Ayuttaya in 1767 and was rebuilt in 1956 in its original style.
To complete your tour of the Ancient City you will have a chance to visit one of the local product stores. Those of you who would like to get a souvenir or two can do so here or you could just mooch around while waiting for others before proceeding on the trip back to your hotel.
Ideally this trip is quite an eye opener especially when you see the rows of Buddha images fronting the centre pavilion. At certain times of the year during the Buddhist calendar year, these statues as well as the prangs of the Ancient City temples will be adorned with yellow robes to signify going into the new season. Do remember to bring along your camera for some of those memorable pictures because it is a sight you will seldom see elsewhere.
The Bangkok to Ayuttaya World Heritage Tour (Join in Group Tour) requires a minimum of two persons in the booking. All transportation, admission fee as in the itinerary, lunch and an English Speaking Guide is provided. You are only required to bring yourselves for a great time to explore this wonderful historical city and experience the might of the Thai empire for the past 400 years when they practically ruled the region, leaving Thailand as one of the countries that has never been occupied or conquered till this day!