The Beauty of Decay

Welcome to Thailand!

The comfort when seeing this few words upon reaching the Thai airports…

I was so excited about visiting Ayuthaya, because that would mean that i will have completed 2/3 of the ancient ruin cities in Thailand. Prior this trip, I did pretty much homework to decide whether to take a train, cruise or minivan from Bangkok to the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Transport is really convenient in Thailand, though there may not be sufficient information online for us to know how.

To begin with, my flight arrival time is midnight, so i had a night stay near Don Muang Airport, nevermind the location, because it was cheap, comfortable and within walkable distance of the terminals. All i need is a 711 and a couple of street vendors to deal with my midnight hunger pangs. *Tesco Express nearby was a bonus!

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Silence in the city
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Miss this familiar scene? 711 Dogs
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The  magic of Thailand’s 711 is its ability to satisfy our need for retail therapy even in the wee hours.
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Look at the variety of options, I don’t know 711 saved how many souls.. hungry ones included
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Bustling street beside FuturePark Rangsit
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Who wouldn’t enjoy some aircon in this tropical climate~
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Packs of dogs chilling outside the shopping mall
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woof what do you want
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Drying salted fish on the streets, wanna try some?

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Getting to Ayutthaya via Mini Van from Don Muang, Future Park Rangsit

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Pictures taken from Google

The van station taking you to Ayuthaya is located across the highway, one will need to cross the pedestrian bridge to reach the place. Do not be confused with the van terminal beside the shopping mall. The Van station looks like the picture above.

  • Cost:  Less than 100baht/pax, you would have to wait for the van to be filled up before the driver is willing to leave.
  • Duration: Journey takes about 30 – 40mins
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The van can take up to 14 people
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City Municipality Building, where your minivan will drop you off.
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Ayothaya Hotel

This hotel is recommended for no-frills stay, as the rooms are clean and inexpensive. It’s safe and beautifully quiet. The downside is that the lobby is huge & stuffy, not very conducive for tourist waiting to check in or coming back from their visits. This hotel is strategically located within walking distance from the minivan drop off point (municipal building), bicycle rental shop and many more.

Visiting the UNESCO sites of Buddhist temples, monasteries, and statues is definitely a must when you are in Ayuthaya. But one should really spare some time to explore the other parts of this ancient city. Located diagonally across the minivan drop off point is the Chao Phrom Market. Here you can get your lunch or check in to the hotels nearby to freshen up before starting your temple visits.

Chao Phrom Market

Chao Phrom Market is Ayutthaya fresh market, opened 7am-5pm, daily.  Its good to come here and experience the sight and smell. There is an abundance of cooked food, raw seafood and meats, more fruit and vegetables than you can imagine, and other captivating snacks.

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Chao Phrom Market
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Surprise to see a modern bakery in a traditional wet market
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Food vendor delivering or collecting bowls back from customers.
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The market is open throughout the day, but also depending on individual vendors.
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Locals can totally rely on this market for their groceries
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Check out the Thai-Chinese shop selling old school tidbits and household stuff.

Travel Tips

Depending on your desired time to spend here, It is still good to rent some form of transport to explore all the sites. One may hire a tuktuk driver to bring you to all the Temples. But if you are like me who is only interested in one or two temple, a bicycle would be sufficient to bring you from Ayuthaya Municipal Building > Wat Mahathat Compound > Bang Lan rd (Night Market) > Naresuan rd. A proper visit will take entire day, while a visit to a couple of sites takes 3-4hrs.

    • Pack less, carry light
    • Wear comfortable clothing, sunblock and bring water
    • Carry a map around, keep the phone batt for your photographs 😉
    • Respect the rules e.g. Not climbing over the stupas
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Maps are available in most touristy places, you should be able to find them at your hotel lobbies, or bicycle rental shops.

Wat Ratchaburana

Admission Fees. There is a fee of 50 Baht (1.30 USD) to enter the grounds of Wat Ratchaburana. The temple is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm every day.  Monies collected are use to fund the maintenance and preservation of these sites.

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Wat Ratchaburana

The UNESCO historic site of Wat Ratchaburana aka Monastery of the Royal Repairs is situated on the corner of Chikun road and Naresuan Road, directly opposite Wat Mahathat in the vicinity.

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View of the main prang
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Steps leading up to the phrang
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View inside the prang

There is a two level crypt inside the prang tower, you can reach there via a narrow (REALLY NARROW) and steep staircase. It is warm and stuffy inside, really not recommended for those who are claustrophobic.

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View of Lower Chamber
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Ancient murals i assume to be depicting Buddhist Stories?
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View of the Main Vihara

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Opps spotted!
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Woof!
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Simply impressive
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Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat

Admission Fees:  50 Baht to enter the grounds of Wat Mahathat. The temple is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm everyday

Just next door of Wat Ratchaburana is Wat Mahatat, a must visit site of Ayutthaya. One of the most photographed Buddha around the world is the Renown for the stone Buddha head entwined within the roots base of a tree.

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Seeing this is like a dream come true

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Spot some elephants grazing nearby

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