I choose to travel to Ayuddhaya because the province has many magnificent temples and beautiful sacred sites as the transportation channel between Ayuddhaya and Bangkok is very convenient. I once visited Ayuddhaya before with my family and could still remember the rustic atmosphere and the rural areas between the highways leading to Ayuddhaya. It was the vast landscape for growing rice and farming area. Now, 20 years have passed, many factories have been gradually taking the place of farm lands and other agricultural areas. Anyway, only a few farming areas and greenery area can still be seen to reflect the rustic charm or the rural way of life.
It took about two hours before reaching at the historical Ayuddhaya province. I could see some foreign travelers biking around the city in the morning as some travelers opted to walk as a way to exercise while enjoy and see the beautiful scene of ancient city of Ayuddhaya in the morning.
The overall climate and atmosphere at Ayuddhaya is completely different to Bangkok’s. You can breathe the fresh air to add power or fuel of life here in Ayuddhaya. The road is truly smooth, clean, and good condition and traffic here is also free flowing, plus the Ayuddhaya people are generous and friendly as well. No wonder why the province is one of the country’s must-visited cultural tourist destinations.
Most of the local people living in the province are farmer or agriculturist. Aside from just farming, the province is also famous for the flavorful “Roti Sai Mai” (Deep-stirred Sugar Wrapped with Soft Sheets of Bread), which is regarded as one of the small and medium-sized enterprises of most households in the central town.
Wat Worachet Tharam was my next moral visit. The temple is adjacent to Khlong Tho, west of Wat Worapho. The temple was built by the request of Somdej Ekathossarot as a memorial to the King Naresuan, who died in AD1605. What you can see in the present time is the collapsed structure and mortars, broken Buddha statues, and the remaining broken bricks, which is as a result of the war against foreign enemies in the past. Even if the roof of the temple’s grand hall or ubosot was destroyed, the giant Buddha statue in the ubosot is still in good condition while the light and the blue sky shining from above helps make the Buddha statue more charming. Meanwhile, the outside of the temple’s ordination hall is the remaining destructive wall, broken bricks and mortars because of war in the past. Even if the time has passed and changed the condition of this historic site, it still reminds me about the great development of Buddhism during Ayuddhaya period.
This moral tourism would never be completed without visiting this ancient Wat Yai Chai Mongkol or Wat Choa Phya, which is a royal temple. It’s situated in Tambol Khlong Suan Phlu, Phra Nakhon Sri Ayuddhaya district. The temple was formerly known as “Wat Pa Kaeo”. There is a large pagoda named “Phra Chedi Chaiyamonkol” and a shrine that is the home to a reclining Buddha image, and the Tam Nak (Royal Palace or Residence) of the King Naresuan inside the temple as well.
According to the history record, the temple was built by the behest of Phra Chao U-Thong or the king Rama I of Ayuddhaya period during AD1357 to house the monks that went to study Dhamma in Sri Lanka. The temple was used as the pilgrimage place of Somdej Phra Runnarat during the rains retreat or Khao Phan Sa period (three lunar months) when monks have to stay at the temple.
The significant Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is situated on the north of Phra Mongkol Bophit Vihara, which was built within the boundary of a palace like the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The temple covers the vast landscape and there are several ancient shrines and stupas in the area, which even if the time has passed, but the priceless beauty and the valuable artistry that our ancestors jointly built still remains in the bottom of my heart and the heart of all Thai people as well. It was established for various important religious rituals and ceremonies. This temple does not have any monks residing within.
Considering about the way or the method of the construction of the temple, most of ancient Thai temples were built through placing and joining bricks together, which is the clear evidence to show that Thai ancestors were very intelligent, dexterous, and strenuous in building the temple since there were no any hi-tech construction equipments and other supportive engines available at the time. It might be time-consuming, but the result is worth as it now turns out to be the World’s heritage, the valuable art and culture that Thai ancestors built.
Wat Suwan Dararam is highly recommended if you need to know more about primary history of the King Naresuan. The temple was built during late Ayuddhaya during the era of Somdej Phra Prathom Boromratchanok (Thong Dee) who ordered to have the temple built. The temple is outstanding for its artistic wall and mural painting in the central hall. The temple has been renovated and developed several time until the reign of the King Rama VI of Chakri Dynasty. The king allowed the veteran artist to paint murals on the wall of the grand hall describing about great historical stories. Wat Suwan Dararam is regarded as the symbol of Chakri Dynasty and was registered as the country’s magnificent historical site on the Royal Gazette No.52 on Mar 8, 1935.
In my opinion, Thailand is not only abundant with natural beauties; there are many cultural-oriented destinations and heritage sites located sporadically in Ayuddhaya, Sukhothai, Ban Chiang, Haripunjaya, Lanna, Lopburi, including Bangkok. It’s actually like the seed of antiques that are scatteringly sowed throughout Thailand waiting to be explored by you.
Take Highway No.1 on Phaholyothin Road and then take Highway No.32 to Ayuddhaya.
Take ordinary and air-conditioned bus at Mochit 2 Bus Terminal. The bus will leave for Ayuddhaya in every 20 minutes from 5am-7pm. The fare is about Bt30-47, taking about 2hrs.
There are no scheduled service boat between Bangkok and Ayuddhaya. But there are companies in Bangkok operate luxury cruise from Bangkok to Ayuddhaya. The price is available at Bt1,500-Bt1,800 per person. Walk in and check for more info and price at River City Pier in Bangkok.