Is Ayutthaya near Bangkok worth visiting? Short trip to Ayutthaya in Thailand
Since I lived in Bangkok, I’ve decided to take a short trip to Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya is one of the places you should visit, if you are in Bangkok. Ayutthaya is a city located around one hour drive from Bangkok and you can find there a few temples that are totally worth seeing. My number one on the list of temples to see in Ayutthaya was Wat Mahathat, It is a temple, where you can find natural heart-tree known from The Game of Thrones. I was going on a trip to Westeros!
Short trip to Ayutthaya begins
When we arrived to our hostel, we left our backpacks and went out to see nearby temples. Ayutthaya is quite small city, so you can get to any part of it within minutes. As it has already been an afternoon, we were going to see only two nearby temples. I had to wait for the next day to see what was my main aim during this trip.
Two temples, that we decided to visit on the first day were Wat Yai Chai Mongko and Wat Phanan Choeng. I suppose there is some small entrance fee, if you would like to enter the temples, but I’ve decided to try to sneak in for free. My companion was Thai, so I just suited myself with self-confidence and walked inside the temple. There were no problems, noone asked any questions, noone noticed, noone cared. we were inside. We walked around Buddha statues and walking around Buddhist monks. It was really relaxing place, you could sense the atmosphere of peace over here. I really enjoyed that.
Wat Phana Choeng
The second temple was around two kilometers away from the first one. It took us around 15 minutes to get there and this time to enter for free, we walked around and found a rear exit and used it to enter. Wat Phana Choeng wasn’t impressing, at least for me. If I had to pay to enter here, I would be rather disappointed, lucky for me I entered for free. There was only one thing that seemed interesting – one Buddha statue. The more temples I visit, the more I feel like every temple looks pretty much the same.
It was almost an evening, so we decided to visit Floating Market nearby. When we got there, it turned out that we are out of luck – most of it was already closed. We walked around and finally we found one of the last opened places. We ate tasty meal and went back to our hostel. Let’s hope Wat Mahathat will be worth seeing after all.
Is Ayutthaya worth visting?
On the second day we woke up early in the morning. We rented bicycles and hit the road to Wat Mahathat. This morning bike ride was extremely pleasant and refreshing. On the way to the temple, we stopped in a small restaurant nearby and ate delicious breakfast. As soon as we were full, went to the temple located on the other side of the road. I looked around and noticed, that there is only one entrance to the temple and in from of it there is a booth where they sell entry tickets. Of course price for foreigners is at least 5-10 times higher than entry price for Thais, so I’ve decided to try to enter for free. I’ve spotted a group of Chinese or Japanese tourists and decided to join them walking confidently. No one bothered me or asked for the ticket when I was entering among them. I suppose they had a group ticket, that’s why we entered with them without any problems.
Soon after entering the temple grounds, I’ve found what I’ve come here for – heart tree or Tree of Buddha. Tree of Buddha is a Buddha Head in Tree Roots. Once it was a statue of Buddha, however when time flied by, a tree grew up around it and roots surrounded the statue leaving only the head visible from outside. It looks almost as if the Buddha head was carved in the trunk of the tree, just like heart-trees with carved faces in Game of Thrones. It’s really a spectacular view, however it was the most interesting part of this trip. Wat Mathahat is quite large complex and it’s certainly worth seeing. When we finished exploring this temple, we jumped on our bicycles and headed to a nearby temple of Wat Ratchaburana – our next pit stop.
Wat Ratchaburana – a total disappointment!
Wat Ratchaburana was right behind the corner, so we got there a few moments later. As usual I’ve trie to enter without buying the ticket, walking in with full confidence. Unfortunately this time it didn’t work. I was turned around by the guard and had to buy the entry ticket for the first time since we came to Ayutthaya. The irony was, that it was the only temple where I had to buy the ticket and it was the worst temple I’ve seen here. It was under ongoing renovations, so it was all surrounded by scaffolding. Wat Ratchaburana wasn’t really a place worth visiting, however Ayuthaya and especially Wat Mathahat is worth visiting in Thailand. If you are in Bangkok, it’s really worth to take a one day trip to Ayutthaya and see the Tree of Buddha.