Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Editor’s note: We know Bangkok as a city for great food, cheap shopping and “shiok” (that means really excellent) massage. Ricky took the time to take his family on a day trip from Bangkok, to Ayutthaya, a Unesco World Heritage site 80km from the capital and a world apart. Join him on his journey.
One of our all-time favourite day trip was a tour we took to Ayutthaya, from Bangkok.
We visit Bangkok quite often, but usually, just to shop and eat. On our recent visit, we decided to try this excursion,”Day Trip from Bangkok: Ayutthaya”. Very glad we did. It was not just the usual tour that takes you from one temple to another.
This was a full day tour. We booked ours with the hotel concierge after seeing their brochure at tour booking counter (we were staying at Pathumwan Princess).
The tour started with an early morning van pick up from our hotel – I remembered it was before 7am in the morning. The kids were groggy and I was grumpy. We were transferred onto a big tour bus, which was luckily air-conditioned and comfortable. The morning began to look better as the coffee from the breakfast table kicked in.
The first attraction we visited was Bang Pa-In, the summer palace. Well manicured, with an attractive landscape and interesting buildings.
We visited a number of sites in Ayutthaya and I frankly cannot remember the names of most of the temples we visited. But one of the more memorable was Wat Yai Chai Mongkon, an active monastery today, and one of the best restored in Ayutthaya. It is famous for its “chedi” (the pointed top stupa), built in the 1600s and one of the tallest structure in the region in its time.
It is also famous for a giant reclining Buddha statue.
The highlight of the tour was supposed to be the ruins at the main city of Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was an ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam.
Today it is a Unesco heritage site. In the mid-17th century, Ayutthaya was a city of more than a million people (more than the city of London had at that time). But our guide told us the sad history of the city – the city was first damaged in a war with the Burmese, then further pillaged… Mostly what is left were the foundations of the royal palace, and today mostly you see
a few ruins scattered among grassy fields. So it is quite sad.
After the visit, it was time to get onto a cruise on the Chao Phraya River, back to Bangkok. A buffet lunch was provided on our cruise and it was quite good – or maybe we were just famished by then, so we ate up fast. The cruise boat was air-conditioned but also has an open deck, where we spent most of our time.
The slow , relaxed cruise back was another highlight for me. We see everyday life along the klongs (river) as we sailed by, with views of the city and its folks going about their lives by the river unfolding.
Overall it was a relaxing day out, and I like to imagine that my kids have learnt something of Thailand. Bangkok is famous for shopping and eating, but the city is more than just that.
Editor’s note: The popular day trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya can be booked from various online travel agents such as Viator.com or Day Tour Bangkok. Have you had a day trip (from anywhere) that left a deep impression? Leave us a comment, or drop us a review here – we’d love to hear from you.