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AYUTTHAYA TOUR

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Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya or Ayutthaya in short, is one of Thailand historical and majestic highlights. Serving as the Thai capital for 417 years (1350 1767: Kingdom of Ayutthaya), it was once glorified as one of the biggest cities in Southeast Asia. During the 17th century, most foreign visitors to Ayutthaya, traders or diplomats alike, claimed Ayutthaya to be the most illustrious and glittering city that they had ever visited. The map of Ayutthaya published in 1691 by Simon de la Loubere in Du Royaume De Siam is proof of such recognition.

The Kingdom of Ayutthaya

reached its apex in terms of sovereignty, military might, wealth, culture, and international commerce in the 16th century when the Kingdoms territory was extended far beyond present-day Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Ayutthaya even had diplomatic relations with Louis XIV of France and was courted by Dutch, Portuguese, English, Chinese and Japanese merchants.
Visitors can explore and appreciate Thai history in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, which is situated only 86 kilometers north of Bangkok. Visitors to Ayutthaya can marvel at its grandeur reflected through numerous magnificent structures and ruins concentrated in and around the city island surrounded by Maenam Chao Phraya, Maenam Pa Sak and Maenam Lopburi.

More importantly,Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, an extensive historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city, has been included in UNESCO World Heritage list since 13 December, 1991.

The Past

The Kingdom of Ayutthaya was built and developed in leaps and bounds. The ruins in Ayutthaya that survived the test of time embody both the glorious and ignominious stories of the Kingdom.

This ancient capital of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, founded in 1350 by King U-Thong, had thirty three kings of different dynasties and reached its peak in the middle of the18th century. A magnificent city with three palaces and over 400 magnificent temples on an island threaded by canals Ayutthaya was truly an impressive city that attracted both Europeans and Asians. After a 15-month siege the Kingdom of Ayutthaya was conquered and completely destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. When King Taksin the Great finally liberated the Kingdom, a new dynasty was established and the capital was moved to Thonburi.

The seal of Ayutthaya depicts a conch on a pedestal tray placed in a small castle under a Mun tree. According to legend, King U-Thong, founder of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, discovered a beautiful conch buried in the ground being prepared for the establishment of the seat of his Kingdom. Consequently, he had a tiny castle built to house the shell. Hence, the provincial seal.

The Present

Today, there are but groups of crumbling ruins and rows of headless Buddhas where once an empire thrived. The temple compounds are still awe-inspiring even in disrepair and a visit here is memorable and a good beginning for those drawn to the relics of history.

The architecture of

Ayutthaya

is a fascinating mix of Khmer (ancient Cambodian style) and early Sukhothai style. Some cactus-shaped obelisks, called prangs, denote Khmer influence and look something like the famous towers of Angkor Wat. The more pointed stupas are ascribed to the Sukhothai influence. For new arrivals who had limited their visit to Bangkok, similarities may be noted with the riverside Wat Arun, an 18th-century structure that was built in the so-called

Ayutthaya

style, a melding of Sukhothai Buddhist influences and Hindu-inspired Khmer motifs.

Ayutthaya

is administratively divided into 16 districts: Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Ban Phraek, Bang Ban, Bang Pahan, Bang Pa-in, Amphoe Bang Sai, Bang Sai, Lat Bua Luang, Maha Rat, Nakhon Luang, Phachi, Phak-Hai, Sena, Tha Rua, Uthai and Wang Noi.

Ayuthaya

‘s close proximity to

Bangkok

makes it a convenient way to see some ruins and get some history, though the sheer size of the old city means that many of the sites are scattered over a wide area and difficult to visit without a vehicle. Especially during the hot or rainy seasons, many visitors find their enthusiasm for ruins is soon conquered by the heat and humidity. If you have limited time or find the weather too much to handle, consider going north to Lopburi where the ruins are concentrated in a much smaller area and are easily visited on foot.

Orientation

&

Information

The present-day city is located at the con­fluence of three rivers: Mae Nam Chao Phraya, Mae Nam Pa Sak and the smaller Mae Nam Lopburi. A wide canal joins them and makes a complete circle around the, (own. Long-tail boats can be rented from the boat landing across from Chan Kasem Palace for a tour around the river; several of

the old wat (temple) ruins (Wat Phanan Choeng, Wat Phutthaisawan, Wat Kasatthi­rat and Wat Chai Wattanaram) may be glimpsed from the canal, along with pic­turesque views of river life.

Tourist Offices

The Tourist Authority of

Thailand (TAT; 😀 0 3524 6078, 1672; Th Si Sanphet; open 8am-4.30pm daily) recently moved its visitors centre into the renovated municipal building right next door to the main TAT office. The floors above the vis 😀 ­itors centre contain interactive displays of life in old Ayuthaya. The tourist-police

office

(0 3524 1446, emergency 😀 1155) is nearby, next to the old TAT office.

Post

&

Communications

The main post

office

(Th U Thong; open 8.30am-4.30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-noon Sat) has an international

telephone service

(open 8am-8pm daily) up 😀 ­stairs. There’s also a small branch post office in the TAT visitors centre.

Ayuthaya Historical Park

A Unesco World Heritage site, Ayuthaya’s historic temples are scattered throughout

this once magnificent city, and along the encircling rivers. Several of the more cen 😀 ­tral ruins 😀 Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mongkhon Bophit, Wat Na Phra Meru, Wat ‘1’hammikarat, Wat Ratburana and Wat Phra Mahathat 😀 can be visited on foot, although you would be wise to avoid the hottest part of the day (11 am to 4pm). Or you could add more temples and ruins to your itinerary by touring the city on a rented bicycle. An ideal transport combination for visitors who want to see everything would be to hire a bicycle for the central temples and charter a long-tail boat to take a tour of the outlying ruins along the river. See under Getting Around in the Ayuthaya section in this chapter for details on modes and rates of transport. At many of the ruins a 20B to 30B admission fee is collected from Sam to 6.30pm. Wat Phra Si Sanphet This was the largest temple (admission 308) in Ayuthaya in its time and it was used as the royal temple/ palace for several Ayuthaya kings. Built in the 14th century, the compound once

contained a 16m-high standing Buddha covered with 250kg of gold, which was melted down by the Burmese conquerors. It is mainly known for the line of three large chedi (stupas) erected in the quintessential Ayuthaya style, which has come to be iden 😀 ­tified with Thai art more than any other 😀 single style.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Mongkhon Bophit
Wat Phra Mahathat
Wat Ratburana
Wat Thammikarat
Wat Phanan Choeng
Wat Na Phra Meru (Phra Mehn)
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Wat Mongkhon Bophit

This monastery, near Wat Phra Si Sanphet, contains one of Thailand’s largest Buddha images, a 15th-century bronze casting. The present wihdan (Buddhist image sanctuary) was built in 1956.

Wat Phra Mahathat

This wat (admission 30B; open 8am-6.30pm daily), on the corner of Th Chee Kun and Th Naresuan (Chao Phrom), dates back to the 14th century and was built during the reign of King Rame 😀 ­suan. Despite extensive damage 😀 not much was left standing after the Burmese hordes had finished 😀 the Khmer-style tower is still impressive: it was one of the first built in the capital. One of the most photographed sites in Ayuthaya is a Buddha head around which tree roots have grown.

Wat Ratburana

The Ratburana (Ratcha burana; admission 30B; open 8am-6.3Oprr daily) ruins are the counterpart to Wat Phri’ Mahathat across the road; the chedi, how ever, contain murals of the early Ayuthaya; period and are not quite as dilapidated.

Wat Thammikarat

To the east of the royal’ palace grounds, inside the river loop, Wat Thammikarat features overgrown chedi ruins and lion sculptures.

Wat Phanan Choeng

Southeast of town on Mae Nam Chao Phraya, this wat was built before Ayuthaya became a Siamese capital. It’s not known who built the temple, but it appears to have been constructed in the early 14th century so it’s possibly Khmer. The main wihdan contains a 19m-high sitting: Buddha image that is named after Sam Po, a Chinese explorer who visited Ayuthaya in 1407, and is highly revered by Thai-Chinese. On weekends the wat is crowded with Bud 😀 ­dhist pilgrims from Bangkok who pay for lengths of saffron-coloured cloth to be ritu 😀 ­ally draped over the image’s shoulder. The easiest way to get to Wat Phanan Choeng is by ferry from the pier near Phom Phet fortress, inside the southeast corner of the city centre. For a few extra baht you can take a bicycle with you on the boat.

Wat Na Phra Meru

(Phra Mehn) North of the old royal palace grounds is a bridge that can be crossed to arrive at Wat Na Phra Meru (admission 20B). This temple is notable because it escaped destruction from the Burmese in 1767, though it has required restoration over the years. The main bot (central sanctuary) was built in 1546 and features fortress-like walls and pillars. Dur 😀 ­ing the Burmese invasion, Myanmar’s Chao Along Phaya chose this site from which to fire a cannon at the palace; the cannon ex 😀 ­ploded and the king was fatally injured, thus ending the sacking of Ayuthaya.

The bot interior contains an impressive carved wooden ceiling and a splendid Ayuthaya-era, crowned sitting Buddha, 6m high. Inside a smaller wihdan behind the bot is a green-stone Buddha from Sri Lanka in a European pose (sitting in a chair). It is said to be 1300 years old. The walls of the wihltan show traces of 18th- or 19th-century murals.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat Yai (ad 😀 ­mission 20B), as the locals call it, is south 😀 ­east of the town proper, but can be reached by tuk-nik (motorised sdamldw, or three-wheeled pedicab) for 30B. It’s a quiet, old place that was once a famous meditation wat, built in 1357 by King U Thong. The compound contains a very large chedi from which the wat takes its popular name 😀 and a large reclining Buddha. There are monks and a community of Bud 😀 ­dhist nuns residing here.

Other Temples

Just north of Wat Ratburana, to the west of a colourful Chinese shrine, are the smaller ruins of Wat Suwannawat. The 400-year 😀 ­old brick remains of eight chedi, a bot and a wihdan are arranged in a circle 😀 a typical early Ayuthaya layout.

The ruined

Ayuthaya

-style tower and chedi of Wat Chai Wattanaram (admission 20B), on the western bank of Mae Nam Chao Phraya southwest of the city centre, have been restored. These ruins can be reached by boat or by bicycle via a nearby bridge. If you go by road, you’ll pass Wat Kasatthirat on the way.

A short boat ride north along Mae Nam Lopburi will bring you to modern Wat Pa Doh. In front of the bot, a unique, Sukhothai-style, walking Buddha image strides over a narrow arch, symbolising the crossing from samsara to nirvana.

National Museums

There are two museums; the main one is the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum (admis 😀 ­sion 306; open 9am-4pm Wed-Sun), which is near the intersection of Th Rotchana (the city centre’s main street, connecting with the highway to Bangkok) and Th Si Sanphet, near the centre of town. It features a basic roundup of Thai Buddhist sculpture with an emphasis on Ayuthaya pieces. A selection of books on Thai art and archaeology is on sale at the ticket kiosk.

The second museum building, Chantha 😀 ­rakasem National Museum (Chan Kasem Palace or Phra Ratchawang Chan Kasem; ad 😀 ­mission 306; open 9am-4pm Wed-Sun), is a museum piece in itself, built by the 17th king of Ayuthaya, Maha Thammaracha, for his son Prince Naresuan, who later became one of Ayuthaya’s greatest kings. Among the exhibits is a collection of gold treasures from Wat Phra Mahathat and Wat Ratbu 😀 ­rana. Chan Kasem Palace is in the northeast comer of town, near the river.

Ayuthaya Historical Study Centre

Funded by the Japanese government, the US$6.8 million Ayuthaya Historical Study

Centre ( 0 3524 5124; combined admission adult/student 100/506; open 9am-4.30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Sat & Sun) has two buildings: The main one is on Th Rotchana near the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, and the annexe is just south of Wat Phanan Choeng on the south bank of the Mae Nam Pa Sak and Mae Nam Chao Phraya junction, in a district that housed a Japanese commu 😀 ­nity during Ayuthaya’s heyday. The hi-tech exhibit area in the main building covers five aspects of Ayuthaya’s history: city develop 😀 ­ment, port, administration, lifestyles and trad 😀 ­itions. The annexe contains an exhibit on foreign relations with

Ayuthaya

.

Elephant Kraal

This is a restored version of the wooden stockade once used for the annual roundup of wild elephants. A huge fence of teak logs planted at 45-degree angles kept the ele 😀 ­phants in; the king had a special raised pavil 😀 ­ion from which to observe the thrilling event.

Places to Stay 😀 Budget
Hostels & Guesthouses

There are sev 😀 ­eral budget guesthouses in Ayuthaya to choose from, most in a small area on Th Naresuan. As elsewhere in Thailand, sham-18w (also written samlor) and tuk-tuk drivers will tell you anything to steer you towards guesthouses that pay commissions.

Baan Khun Phra ($ 0 3524 1978; 48/2 Th U Thong; dorm beds 150B, singles/doubles 250/3508), formerly known as Reuan Doem, is an 80-year-old teak house almost directly across the river from the train station. This is the most atmospheric place to stay in Ayuthaya. Besides rooms, there are beds in a four-bed dorm. Rooms come with ceiling fans and shared bathroom. The place was recently given a tasteful renovation and is decorated with the friendly owner’s antique collection. A very good restaurant extends from the river side of the house.

Tony’s Place ($ 0 3525 2578; 12/18 Th Naresuan; fan rooms 160-250B, air-con 350B) is a two-storey house surrounded by trees on a street with a number of guesthouses. Rela 😀 ­tivcly new and very friendly, this place has a good restaurant and bar with pool table. Without a doubt this is the most amiable and best value accommodation on this street, and it shows: Tony’s Place is quite popular.

PS Guest House (single/double rooms with fan 100/1508, air-con 3008) is a two-storey house on it hack road parallel to Th Naresuan and off Iii (‘bee Kun.

PU Guest House

( 0 3525 1213; 20/1 Soi Thaw Kaw Saw; rooms 1408) doesn’t offer a very friendly reception.

TMT Guest House

( 0 3525 1474; room with/without bath 400/2008), around the corner from PU Guest House, has small but clean rooms. The following four places are run by the same extended family. Ayuthaya Guest House, near Tony’s Place, comes with it warning: the owner is abusive, even violent, towards guests and we don’t recommend you stay here. Toto Guest House ( 0 30)11 1468; beds in dorm 1008, rooms with bin 3508, with air-con 5008) is next door to (and managed by) the Ayuthaya Guest House BJ1 Guest House (0 3525 1526; sing/ I doubles 100/1608), with fan rooms, is next to Toto. It’s rather run down and dreary. New BJ Guest House (a 0 3524 4046; 19/2′) Th Naresuan; dorm beds 808, singles/doubh,t 120/1508) offers fan rooms and dorm beds. There was a `for sale’ sign at the front when we visited so it might not be around by Ihr time you read this.

Hotels Two standard Thai-Chinese 😀 styli’ hotels at the junction of Mae Nam Lopbui i and Mae Nam Pa Sak have been accomnio dating Ayuthaya visitors for over two decades now, and it shows. Both places air pretty run down. U-Thong Hotel (( 0 3520 1136; Th U Thong; singles/doubles with tan 300/3708, with air-con 380/4508), near Hun Raw Night Market and Chan Kasem Palace, has adequate rooms with fan or with air con, TV and hot-water shower. Check the air-con rooms before agreeing to one as some of the machines are on their last legs. Cathay Hotel (0 3525 1562; 36/5-6 Th U Thong; singles/twins with fan 150/2708, rooms with air-con 3008), a little southeast of the U-Thong Hotel, has rather dirty rooms with fan, and some with air-con. Both hotels back up to the river. The II Thong is the better choice, but not by much.

Places to Stay – Mid-Range & Top End
Wieng Fa Hotel

( 0 3524 3252; 1/8 😀 Rotchana; rooms 400-5008) is a friendly, cosy, two-storey place with clean, relatively quiet rooms around a garden courtyard. All rooms come with TV, fridge and air-con; English is spoken.

Suan Luang Hotel

is a five-storey hotel beside the Ayuthaya Historical Study Centre. This place has decent air-con rooms with fridge and TV as well as a couple of six-bed air-con rooms. All rooms have bathroom and TV.

Ayothaya Hotel

( 0 3523 2855, fax 251018; 12 Soi 2, Th Thetsaban; rooms 1100 😀 ­3500B), formerly the Sri Smai Hotel and just off Th Naresuan, is a more upmarket place where rooms have air-con, bathroom, fridge and cable TV. There is also a swim 😀 ­ming pool.

U-Thong Inn

( 0 3524 2236, fax 0 3524 2235; Th Rotchana; old-/new-wing rooms 1000/1500-25008) is moving towards the top end, and offers comfortable air-con rooms in the old wing, while in the newer wing rooms have separate sitting areas. The new wing is better value. Facilities include a pool, sauna and massage room. Discounts of up to 50% are given in the low season. It’s past the turn-off for the train station.

Ayuthaya Grand Hotel

( 0 3533 5483, fax 0 3533 5492; 55/5 Th Rotchana; rooms high season 1300-1800B, low season 1000 😀 ­12008) is a six-storey hotel out beyond U-Thong Inn, and features rooms with all the mod cons.

Krungsri River Hotel

(0 3524 4333, fax 0 3524 3777; 27/2 Th Rotchana; single/double rooms 1600/18008, suites 5000-10,0008) is a nine-storey hotel and Ayuthaya’s flashiest digs, with decked-out rooms and suites. Fa 😀 ­cilities include a bar/coffee house, Chinese restaurant, beer garden, fitness centre, pool, bowling alley and snooker club.

Tevaraj Tanrin Hotel ( 0 3523 4873, fax 0 3524 4139; 91 Th Rotchana; singles/doubles from 900/1200B) is a 102-room hotel next door to the Krungsri, and has similar rooms with river views; rates include breakfast. It has a floating restaurant on a converted rice barge.

Places to Eat

The most dependable and least expensive places to eat are the Hua Raw Night Market, on the river near Chan Kasem Palace, and the Chao Phrom Market, opposite the ferry piers along the eastern side of the island. The stalls at the former offer a good variety of Thai-Chinese and Muslim dishes. Chainam is a restaurant near Chan Kasem Palace near the Cathay Hotel. It has tables on the river and a bilingual menu 😀 on which dishes spelled out in English cost about 30% more than on the Thai menu. If you have a prob 😀 ­lem with this, try practising your Thai and order from the similar places nearby.

Malakor (Th Chee Kun; dishes 35-50B), op 😀 ­posite Wat Ratburana, is located in a two-storey wooden house with a charming view of the temple and has good, cheap Thai dishes, plus an excellent selection of coffees.

Moradok-Thai ( 0 3524 3342; Th Rotch 😀 ­ana; dishes 60-120B) is one of several res 😀 ­taurants that can be found on Th Rotchana. It’s a Thai food establishment that is very popular with Thai tourists. There is a selec 😀 ­tion of wines. It’s a good place to soak up the air-con after touring the ruins. There are four floating restaurants on Mae Nam Pa Sak, three on either side of Saphan Pridi Damrong (Pridi Damrong Bridge) on the west bank, and one on the east bank north of the bridge. Phae Krung Kao (open 10am-2am daily), on the southern side of the bridge on the west bank 😀 has the better reputation of these floating restau 😀 ­rants. Ruenpae, north of the bridge on the west bank, is similar. Baan Khun Phra (03524 1978; 48/2 Th U Thong) is an eatery on the river behind the guesthouse of the same name; it is also quite good and has the most intimate atmosphere of the riverside places. The restaurant at Tony’s Place (see Places to Stay earlier in this section) is the best of the guesthouse eateries. In the evening video movies are shown.

Getting There & Away

Bus Ordinary buses run between the North 😀 ­ern and Northeastern bus terminals in Bang 😀 ­kok and Ayuthaya’s main bus terminal on Th Naresuan (39B, two hours) every 20 minutes between 5am and 7pm. Air-con buses operate along the same route every 20 minutes from 5.40am to 7.20pm (64B); the trip takes 11 hours when traffic north of Bangkok is light, two hours otherwise. Near the Ayuthaya bus terminal is a minivan ser 😀 ­vice to Bangkok that runs every 20 minutes from Sam to 5pm for 45B. It drops off pas 😀 ­sengers at Bangkok’s Victory Monument.

If you’re arriving by bus from some place other than Bangkok or cities nearby, you may be dropped off at the long-distance bus terminal, 5km east of Saphan Pridi Dam 😀 ­rong at the Hwy 32 junction.

Songthaew (pick-up trucks used as buses or taxis; also written songthaew) to/from Bang Pa-In leave from the main bus termi 😀 ­nal on Th Naresuan and cost 10B; Bang Pa-In is about 45 minutes away.

Train The trains to Ayuthaya leave Hualam 😀 ­phong station in Bangkok every hour or so between 4.20am and 10.10pm. The 3rd-class fare is 15B (11/2 hours); it’s hardly worth tak 😀 ­ing a more expensive class for this short trip. Train schedules are available from the in 😀 ­formation booth at Hualamphong station. From Ayuthaya’s train station, the quick 😀 ­est way to reach the old city is to walk west to the river, where you can take a short ferry ride across for 2B.

Upon arrival at Bangkok International Airport, savvy repeat visitors to Thailand sometimes choose to board a northbound train direct to Ayuthaya rather than head south into the Bangkok maelstrom. This only works if you arrive by air during the day or early evening, as the last train to Ayuthaya leaves Bangkok’s Hualamphong train station at 10pm. There are frequent 3rd-class trains throughout the day between Don Muang station (opposite Bangkok Inter 😀 ­national Airport) and

Ayuthaya

.

Boat There are no scheduled or chartered boat services that run between Bangkok and Ayuthaya. Several hotels in Bangkok operate luxury cruises to Bang Pa-In with side trips by bus to Ayuthaya for around 1600B to 1900B per person, including a lavish luncheon. Longer two-day trips in converted rice barges start at 6200B. See River Trips in the Bangkok chapter for more details.

Getting Around

Songtheaw and shared ttk-tdk ply the main city roads for 5B to 10B per person depending on distance. A tsik-tuk from the train station to any point in old Ayuthaya should cost around 30B; on the island itself figure no more than 20B per trip.

For touring the ruins, your most econom 😀 ­ical and ecological option is to rent a bicycle from one of the guesthouses (about 30B to 50B a day). You can hire a sdamlaw, tuk-ttk or sawngthaew by the hour or by the day to explore the ruins, but the prices are quite high by Thai standards (200B per hour for anything with a motor in it, 500B all day when things are slow). Many drivers ask upwards of 700B for a day’s worth of sight* seeing – it would be much less expensive simply to take separate rides from site to site,

It’s also interesting to hire a boat from Tha Chan Kasem to do a semicircular tour of the island and see some of the less ac. cessible ruins. A long-tail boat that will take up to eight people can be hired for 500B fop a two- to three-hour trip with stops at Wa Phutthaisawan, Wat Phanan Choeng and Wat Chai Wattanaram.

From Ayuthaya’s train station, the quick 😀 est way to reach the old city is to walk west to the river, where you can take a short ferry ride across for 2B.

AROUND AYUTHAYA Bang Pa-In

Twenty kilometres south of Ayuthaya is Bang Pa-In, which has a curious collection of palace buildings (admission 100B; open

8.30am-3.30pm daily) in a wide variety of architectural styles. It’s a nice boat trip from Bangkok if you’re taking one of the cruise tours, although in itself it’s not particularly noteworthy.

The postcard stereotype here is a prettylittle Thai pavilion in the centre of a small lake by the palace entrance. Inside the palace grounds, the Chinese-style Wehat Chamrun Palace and the Withun ThatsaM building, which looks like a lighthouse with balconies, are the only buildings open to vAN itors. The latter was built to give a fine view over gardens and lakes. There are various other buildings, towers and memorials in the

grounds plus an interesting topiary

garden

where the bushes have been trimmed into the shape of a small herd of elephants.

Wat Niwet Thamaprawat

, across the river and south from the palace grounds, is an un 😀 usual wet that looks much more like a miniature Gothic Christian church than any thing from Thailand. Like Bang Pa-In, It was built by Rama V (Chulalongkorn). You get to the wet by crossing the river in a small trolley-like cable car. The crossing is free.

Getting There & Away Bang Pa-In cat be reached by minibus – it’s really a large sAwngthaew – (10B, 45 minutes), which d& parts around the corner from Ayuthaya”;l Chao Phrom Market on Th Naresuan. From Bangkok there are buses every half-hour

or so from the Northern and Northeastern bus terminal (ordinary 29B, air-con 44B; one hour). You can also reach Bang Pa-In by train from Bangkok (3rd class 12B, one hour).

The Chao Phraya River Express Boat

( 0 2222 5330) does a tour every Sunday from Tha Maharat in Bangkok. The tour makes stops at Bang Pa-In and Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts & Crafts Centre. It leaves Bangkok at 8am and returns around 6pm. The fare of 350B per person does not in 😀 ­clude the entrance fee to the Bang Pa-In

complex (100B) or the Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts & Crafts Centre (100B). For more ex 😀 ­pensive river cruises to Bang Pa-In, which include tours of old Ayuthaya, see River Trips in the Bangkok chapter.

Bang Sai Royal Folk A
rt

s & Crafts Centre

This 115-hectare facility ( 0 3536 6092; admission 1008; open 8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-7pm Sat & Sun), in Beung Yai, Bang Sai district, is an important training centre for artisans. Under the auspices of Queen Sirikit’s Promotion of Supplementary Oc 😀 ­cupations & Related Techniques (Support) foundation, handicraft experts teach craft techniques to novices while at the same time demonstrating them for visitors. The centre has craft demonstrations daily except Monday; call for more information.

The

Loi Krathong festival

here is consid 😀 ­ered one of the more traditional versions in central

Thailand

(nofirecrackers allowed).

Ayutthaya Attractions
Art, Culture & Heritage
Khun Phaen Residence

Khun Phaen House is a Thai-style house that conforms to descriptions in a popular Thai literary work. Khun Phaen’s house is near Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit.Si Suriyothai Park, which has a total area of 5 rai, is located within the area of the Ayutthaya liquor plant adjacent to Chedi Phra Si Suriyothai. Within the area is a common building, a Somdet Phra Si Suriyothai pavilion, a mound with marble Semas (boundary stones of a temple) aged over 400 years where the fragmented parts of Buddha images taken from Wat Phutthaisawan were buried, etc. The Liquor Distillery Organization, who sponsored the construction of the park, wished to devote all good deeds in transforming the former inner part of the royal compound to all of the late kings who used to live here. King Rama IX graciously named the park Suan Si Suriyothai on 25 May, 1989 and conferred the park to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on the eve of her 60th anniversary. The park is open daily to the public from 9.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m.

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The Support Arts and Craft International Centre of Thailand

The Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand is located on the left bank of the Chao Phraya River, at Chang Yai sub-distract, on a plot of land covering an area of 45 rai 3 ngan. There are two mains building at the centre, namely Phra Ming Monkhon Pavillion and the Marketingplace Building.Phra Ming Monkhon Pavillion This is a large three-story building with the area of 😀 34,340 square meters used for product display and exhibitions of handicrafts for export. The first floor area is divided into 4 sections. Section 1 is the area for displaying products for living, dressing, giving and dining. Section 2 is the exhibition area for products from the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts centre. In addition, there are shops selling arts and crafts items made by trainees from both the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Training Centre and from other support arts and crafts centres. Section 3 is the area for shops selling Thai handicrafts comprising OTOP products and items from various regions of Thailand. 😀 Section 4, this area is allocated for demonstration of exceptional and rare pieces of Thai handicrafts. The second and third floor are the auditorium and the meeting rooms for trade negotiations to promote the expansion of arts and crafts products in international markets. Facilities to accommodate E-commerce are also provieded

Market Place This building is built to facilitate sales of 😀 handicrafts and OTOP products from the 76 provinces of the country. It is open everyday (Monday-Friday from 10.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday and national holidays from 9.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m.) For more information Tel : 0 3536 7054-9 , Fax : 0 3536 7051

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Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre

This compound is located on Rochana Road and is a National Research Institute devoted to the study of Ayutthaya, especially the period when it was the capital of Thailand. The Centre is responsible for the Museum of the History of Ayutthaya, which exhibits reconstructions from the past. In addition, the Centre provides information services and has a library containing historical materials about Ayutthaya. The Centre opens daily from 9.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. On official holidays service hours are from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. For more information, please contact Tel: 0 3524 5124 (Admission fee is 100 Bahts)

 

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Chao Sam Phraya National Museum

This museum is perfect for history buffs who admire fine arts and handicraft of the Ayutthaya period. Housed in the museum are various original antiques, mostly made of gold and decorated with precious jewels. In addition, there are various antique bronze Buddha images and famous carved panels. Of note is a receptacle in the Thai Pavilion that contains relics of the Lord Buddha and other objects of art that are over 500 years old.The museum which is located on Rochana Road, opposite the city wall is open daily, except Mondays, Tuesdays and national holidays, from 09.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m.Admission fee is 150 Baht.

 

For more information, call: 0 3524 1587

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Chankasem National Museum

Chankasem Palace was built during the reign of King Maha Thammaraja, the 17th King of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. During the reign of King Naresuan the Great the Palace became his permanent residence. Chankasem Palace, like the other palaces, was destroyed during the Burmese invasion. It has been renovated and reopened as a museum open to the public on Wednesdays through Sundays from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

 

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Thai Boat Museum

The museum is located at the residence of its founder, Mr. Phaithun Khaomala, a renowned Thai boat modeller and former boat builder. Inspired by their beauty and relationship to the lives of Thai people, Mr. Phaithun dedicated a part of his residence to preseving what he holds to be fine examples of the country’s treasured traditions.On display are a wide range of models from his large and exquisite collection, make in teak. Included in the collection are more than 100 models boats delicately made by hand. They range from Thai and Chinese junks to other traditional Thai boats and ocean liners. Among the most impressive items in the collection are models of Thailand’s famous Royal Barges. As some of them are rarely seen nowadays, the museum is considered a must-visit. Open daily from 8.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m. Call 0 3524 1195 for more information. The Thai Boat Museum is situated opposite Wat Mahathat, Bang Ian Road.

 

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