Watch Local Thais Worship
yutthaya is an island at the meeting of three rivers, the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak and the Lopburi. There are several ways to reach this island, but most of the time visitors will choose to cross the river by ferry. That is no surprise, for travelling by boat is popular among foreigners because it not only reveals the beauty as well as lifestyle of the people on both sides of the Chao Phraya but also what life was like at the time of the Ayutthaya kingdom.The Chao Phraya also served as a transportation channel for trading with foreign countries. The other way is to take a taxi or rent a minivan, and travel via the highway or expressway but beware of tourist scams. Some say the cheapest and scenic way to go to this place is by train, which regularly departs from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station and stops in Ayutthaya. The trip takes about 2 to 2.5 hours depending on the type of service. Bear in mind that the railway station is not on the island but across the river a short ferry-ride away. The ferries run every few minutes and are quite cheap.
There are some ruins to see and interesting legends to hear about, as Ayutthaya is an ancient city. Here are some that are worth a visit:
Bang Pa In Palace (Summer Palace of the King)
Bang Pa-In Royal Palace is a complex formerly used by the Thai kings. The palace is located on the Chao Phraya riverbank in Bang Pa-In district, Ayutthaya. The palace was originally constructed in 1632 by King Prasat Thong, but it is largely empty. King Mongkut began to restore the site in the mid-19th century, followed by King Chulalongkorn from 1872 to 1889. The attractions include large gardens and the landscaping within. There is also a Chinese-style royal palace and throne room, Wehart Chamrunt (Heavenly Light), a royal residence, the Warophat Phiman (Excellent Shining Heavenly Abode), a brightly-painted lookout tower, Ho Withun Thasana (Sages’ Lookout), and a pavilion constructed in the middle of the pond, Aisawan Thiphya-Art (Divine Seat of Personal Freedom). The palace remains largely open to visitors, and today the king and his family still use it occasionally for banquets and special occasions. There is an interesting story related to this palace. In 1881, Queen Sunanda Kumariratana and her only daughter, Princess Karnabhorn Bejraratana, were on their way to the Bang Pa-In Palace when the royal barge carrying them capsized. According to Thai law at the time, touching a royal was punishable by death, so onlookers looked on helplessly as they drowned and were instructed to do so by a guardian on another boat. King Chulalongkorn, shocked by the events, demoted and jailed the minister who had obeyed the letter of the law at such cost and erected a memorial to her in Bang Pa-In. This tragedy is widely known as ‘The Death of Queen Sunanda’ by Thai people.
A journey to Wat Pho in Bangkok would not be completed without taking a picture of a golden reclining Buddha in the area. Surprisingly, Ayutthaya also has a reclining Buddha, only this one is made from a bricks and mortar. Although the statue is less popular than the one in Wat Pho, the reclining Buddha in Ayutthaya Historical Park is certainly worth the visit. Located at the Wat Lokayasutha Ayutthaya, the reclining Buddha here is smaller at 36 metres as compared to 46 metres at Wat Pho. The statue is known as Phra Buddhasaiyart, and the area at ground level beneath its head is covered in tiny squares of gold leaf which have been paced there by local people as Buddhist tourist offerings. Flowers and incense are also presented as offerings. Phra Buddhasaiyart has been restored on a number of occasions in modern times, most recently after the flooding in late 2011.
Phra Chedi Si Suriyothai
Phra Chedi Si Suriyothai is situated in Wat Suan Luang Sopsawan. This is the place where Queen Suriyothai, King Mahachakraphat’s wife, was cremated. The ancient story says that Queen Suriyothai died on an elephant’s back, having saved her husband from danger in the war with Burma. The Queen’s noble death had a significant impact on Siamese society. The chedi and the temple were established in 1548 as a memorial to the Queen’s heroic deed. A white-andgold chedi was built as a memorial to a previous queen. Set in a small, well-kept garden, it is a memorial to the first heroine in Siamese history. It is also a proof of the honour that ancient Siamese society gave to women. The remarkable story is still told today.
When you goes to Wat Naphrame, take a look at the 2,000-year-old Buddhist monastery that lies adjacent to the main temple. You will see lots of stalls in the temple that sell Buddhist religious items rather than regular tourist souvenirs, and you will also see local Thais worshipping outside the main wat: it is such a beautiful experience.
Buy Coconut Ice Drops
When you arrive at Ayutthaya you will see coconut sellers everywhere. Yes this popsickle-like ice cream is a speciality product of Ayutthaya. The ice drops are molded into rectangular shapes and are available in several flavours such as plain coconut, young coconut, coconut with jackfruit and coconut with mango . The ice drops can certainly beat the heat and humidity around area.
Watch Thai Ladies Playing the Ranat
The ranat is a traditional Thai musical intrument made from bamboo and teak with two small mallets. Some are curved and some flat, producing different music pitches. It is similar to the Laotian and Cambodian versions. If you see Thai ladies playing xylophone-like wooden instruments that produce beautiful and haunting music, then you have seen the famous and interesting ranat.