Ayutthaya: For seriously 20 Baht one can take a train from Bangkok central train station to Ayutthaya. As this was the old capital of Thailand from 1350-1767 before the Burmese came and destroyed it in 1767, this city was home to major temples and buildings which can be remembered in the ruins found throughout the ‘island’. What do I mean with Island? Ayutthaya is circled with small rivers which make many travel books quote the ‘on the island ruins’ and the ‘off the island ruins’. The first of Europe to discover this place was Portugal which has left it’s mark with their burial ground and church plus the Dutch that followed shortly afterward and also left their mark. Find dogs roaming the streets here, the only unusual thing is that some can be more aggressive that the ones you’ve come across before. We luckily didn’t encounter anything to worry about. This place is a 1 to max 2 day place because the ruins can be seen in one day and the rest of the city is spread out and a bit dry.
Ruins: From the crumbling Chedi (Stupas) to the Buddha head grown in a tree, Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Phra Mahathat are in my opinion the must see of this Island. Start off your journey by visiting the Ayuthaya Tourist Center to get a clear background and history of the place as they have a huge museum upstairs plus the people in the center will help you create a useful route to see your wished temples.
In Wat Phra Si Sanphet take a look at the major Chedi that stand still strong and remember that inside they hold the relics of Buddha. Also an interesting fact is that a 250 kg gold Buddha once stood here but was melted and stolen by the Burmese when they attacked the city.
Wat Phra Mahathat was a must see because you’ll find the mysterious and iconic image of the Buddha head grown into the trunk of a tree. Some say that a Burmese tried to steel it but it was too heavy and left it behind and the tree grew around it and lifted it up while growing. Others say that it was placed here on purpose by locals to create a tourist attraction. What do you believe? Also notice all the Buddha heads missing on the bodies. This is because the Burmese wanted to destroy the religion and faith of the Thai when they concurred the city.
Must Eat 1
Market Food: Right across from our hotel there was a street called Bang Ian Road that had a night market every day selling fresh curry’s, fruit, papaya salad and dessert. Pull yourself together and stop saying no to all these strange foods, let yourself wander and dare to taste the different foods. You know you’ve been curious the entire trip what it tastes like and you’ll regret not trying it, even if you end up hanging above the toilet: at least you tried.
We ended up getting our food here 2 times because it was SO cheap: €2,50 for 2 people and we really had a lot of good stuff. Take the bags of goodness back to your hotel and ask them for a plate and some forks and start enjoying your meal! We ate Kanoom-Berng, Khanonkrok Done, Fried fish paste cakes, papaya salad and some other stuff we had no idea what it was called. Everything was between 20 and 30 Baht and really yummy, plus no toilet visits afterward (at least no irregular ones woo hoo).
Must Eat 2
Rush Lush: Ayuthaya is pretty spread out so if you have a hotel or guesthouse that doesn’t serve breakfast like we did you don’t want to spend hours searching for a place to eat. This joint was great! They had yummy French toast a clean hipster interior plus let you rent movies if you wanted and the best part: they had soy milk for in my cappuccino haha! (ps. Next door they have a really cool hotel called something like Stockholm it seemed really nice! Only strange thing is I can’t find it on internet anywhere… hmmm)
Must Eat 3
Lung Lek Noodles: This place is the hotspot to get the best noodles and if you want proof, take a look around and notice that 98% of the tables occupy locals slurping away their bowls. For 60 Baht you can get a steamy bowl of pork goodness with noodles and vegetables. Ask for extra bean sprouts to add some more volume to the soup and I would recommend to order the pork soup just because it has more flavour than the beef. Each table has different sauces that you can add to your soup like fish sauce to make it more salty, sugar for the Japanese tourists, dried chili’s for my boyfriend as he’s a chili monster. I’d recommend to go here for lunch when you want to take a break from the ruins and the heat.
Niwas Ayutthaya: This little hotel/homestay was cute and quiet reach it from the train station for around 70 Baht. In october kids in school have 1 month vacation so we noticed a grandmother and granddaughter playing the whole day very sweet together in the house. It’s all very comfortable but minimalistic. Our room had a separate bathroom (with cold water only) so we had to sprint half naked through the corridors hoping no one would spot us and they don’t serve breakfast here. But not to worry the location is perfect between the most interesting ruins and find restaurants and markets at a walking distance left and right. You can rent bikes for 50 Baht per day and I would recommend doing this when visiting the different tempels spread out through the city.
The nice thing about this hotel/homestay was that they were extremely friendly and they had lots of places to chill out. We ended up relaxing on their upstairs balcony together with their furry purry kitten that sought shelter when there was a massive tropical rainstorm. They had cushions, tables, chairs and a fan so we ended chilling here 2 nights in a row. We got food from the market 200 meters and brought it upstairs on the balcony and borrowed two plates and forks to enjoy the yummy dinner.
Must Find 1
Raw Vegetables: No no don’t worry the cook didn’t forget to stir fry or cook your vegetables, these raw pieces of veggies are meant to cool your mouth when the temperature starts rising. Were a bit too optimistic with ordering extra spicy? Grab a raw piece of cabbage or carrot and chew and enjoy.
Must Find 2
Duck nosed Tuk Tuk: Although they are family to the ones found in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand, these Tuk Tuk’s have something unique about them and that is their odd shaped nose. The story goes that they inherited this characteristic from Japan and they are still being made like this today here in Ayutthaya.
That’s all folks, next stop: Pak Chong Khao Yai National Park Thailand
For tips on other places I’ve visited check my older posts such as: Bali Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Bangkok Thailand & More.
Keep you updated and posted, until then Korp Khun Ka!