Ayutthaya is an old ruined city located at a distance of 85 kms from Bangkok.
This ancient city was founded around 1350, and was once the capital of Thailand (Siam).
The city was attacked and razed by the Burmese army in 1767 who burned the entire city and it has been in ruins since then.
I was interested to visit UNESCO World Heritage Site after looking at some of its photos on internet.
So we rented a bike and headed to Ayutthaya early in the morning.
Ayutthaya archaeological site contains ruined, burnt out palaces, temples, monasteries statues and more. It gives the glimpse of what an impressive city it must have been earlier days.
The most interesting place here was Wat Mahthat.
The iconic photograph of the Buddha's head entwined in the roots of a fig tree represents this place the best.
You can find the rows of headless Buddhas and large ruined structures here.
Another attraction was Wat Phra Si Sanphet, which is known for its distinctive row of Thai-style stupas. The temple once housed a 16 m high Buddha covered with 340 kg of gold, but the Burmese set fire to the statue to melt the gold and destroyed the temple in the process.
Wat Lokaya Sutha has 42 meters high and eight meters wide reclining Buddha statue.
Ayutthaya was said to be located on an island surrounded by three rivers connecting the city to the sea. This site was chosen by the kings, as it was located above the tidal bore of the Gulf of Siam, thus preventing attack of the city by the sea-going warships of other nations.
Now there are no traces of water, and the place is very dry and hot. There are many shelters to take rest while you are exploring these ruins.
Ayutthaya Historical Park is open 8:30 am-4:30 pm daily. The main places of attraction are:
• Wat Phra Mahathat / Wat Mahthat
• Wat Phra Si Sanphet / The Grand Palace
• Wat Chaiwatthanaram
• Wat Ratchaburana
• Wat Lokaya Sutha / Wat Lokkayasutharam
• Wat Yai Chaimongkol / Wat Yai Chai Mang Khon
• Wat Na Phramen
• Wat Phanunchoeng
• Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
You can also visit the beautiful Bang Pa-In Summer Palace on the way the way to Ayutthaya.
All the roads in Thailand are wonderfully laid, but it is not the right country to explore on bike; as 2 wheelers are not allowed on most of the roads; and we were flagged off by the Thai police twice on the way to Ayutthaya and later were caught by the cops, despite lot of precautions. Most of signboards are in Thai language and we had missed to notice that we are riding on wrong road. Had to plead, negotiate and bribe to get the driving license back.
The best way to exlore this historical city is by taking a One Day Tour organised by various travel companies.