The Best Way to Explore Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is an old historic city in Thailand which is in 1981 declared as one of UNESCO world historical sites.
Many temples and the ruins of this old city are the reasons of most people to visit Ayutthaya. Well, at least that was my reasons. I visited this historic city because I was very interested in exploring historical sites.
It was my very first time visiting Ayutthaya. After many hours on the train from Chiang Mai, I with two best friends of mine finally arrived at Ayutthaya train station at 07:00 am. And firstly, we start our journey on finding Thai Pakistan/ Saboojan Mosque to do our prayer and having breakfast near there.
After finish our breakfast, we continued our journey on finding Ban Suan Guest House (a guest house with good review from a guide book). But unfortunately, after walking for few kilometers we found that the guest house was closed already. What a day!
Finally, we decided to stay at the first guest house we found near the area. And after prayer Dhuhr, our journey exploring the city was just begun. We hire bicycles and ride it around exploring Ayutthaya.
Well, for me ride a bike is the best way to explore this old historic city. The slow ride definitely gives us a chance to discover more about Ayutthaya’s history and culture. It lets us experience the historic city in different way.
And here we go!
What to explore in Ayutthaya for one day
1. Wat Thammikarat
Wat Thammikarat is situated in the north inside the city island. The temple is adjacent to the east of the ancient palace. It is stated in the Northern Chronicle that this temple was built by Phraya Thammikarat. Son of Prince Sai Nam Phueng, before the establishment of Ayutthaya Kingdom. The temple had been called Wat Mukkharat at first and was changed to Wat Thammikarat later.
Wat Thammikarat was firstly referred to the reign of King Maha Chakkaphat (1548-1568) that he ordered to imprison the rebel, Phra Sri Sin at this temple. Then, it was mentioned again when King Borommakot has passed away (1758) and Prince U-thumporn, the Crown Prince, invited “Phra Thamma Kho Don” the senior monk of Wat Thammikarat to preach the three Princes harmony as King Borommakot’s desire.
The temple is believed to be important in Ayutthaya period because of it’s location beside the Ancient Palace. It was destroyed and abandoned during the war in the second fall of Ayutthaya (1767). Until the reign of Kin Rama V, the temple was ones again restored.
2. Wat Maha That
Wat Maha That is located to the east of the grand palace. It is the royal temple and most scared in Ayutthaya during the glorious time. Buddha relies were enshrined in the Mahathat Chedi (the principle pagoda). This monastery was once the residence of the Supreme Patriarch.
Ayuthaya chronicle said Mahathat Chedi was starting to be built in the reign of Phra Borom Rajathirat (Khun Wang Pha-Ngua) in 1374 and completed in the reign of king Ramesuan.
In the reign of King Song Tham the principal pagoda collapsed through the foundation but it was restored later in the reign of King Prasat Thong.
This monastery was destroyed and had been burnt in the last war between Ayutthaya and Burma in AD. 1767. It was leaved as the ruin.
3. Hua Rau Market
Fresh market of Crown Property Bureau at Ayutthaya City or “Talad Hua Rau” as usually called by local people is located at Hua Rau sub District. Phranakorn Si Ayutthaya District wich is the area inside the City Island. Up until now , it is the community’s fresh market where various goods have been traded among the local residents for more than 200 years.
The name “Hua Rau” has bee derived from “Rau” which means “barrage”, a kind of instrument for delaying the speed of river water. At that time, Ayutthaya City, the former capital city of Thailand, was very plentiful from outstanding location surrounded by 3 major river; Chaophraya River, Lopburi River and Pasak River. At the rainy season, he water overflow from these 3 rivers usually caused the flooding, then local residents used “Rau” to delay the speed of river water in order to prevent damages caused by the water overflow. Besides, this community has been the important trade center since Ayutthaya City was Thai Capital City because it is located at the water junction between the urban and rural areas, leading to the name “Talad Hua Rau” as named by the residents of this ancient city.
The unique characteristic of Talad Hua Rau is the “Chinese Opera” which has performed as the big event every year at forefront of the market because it has been told that there was a woman in Chinese Opera costume waved her arm to put off the big fire burning the two storey wooden houses in the market long time ago. And the local residents believed that she was the goddess called “Jao Mae Ton Chan” who is on duty to protect the market from the fire. Even though the commercial building were renovated during 1967 – 1984 local residents have still been afraid of fire and organized to have Chinese Opera performance to pay gratitude to Jao Mae Ton Chan for her protection of the market from the fire up until now. From that time on, they have organized to have Chinese Opera to pay respect to this “Jao Mae Ton Chan Shrine” or “Jao Mae Khung Num Shrine” which is located at the end of the market on the bank of city canal near “Mahachai Bulwark” in front of the barrage “Rau”.
Now “fresh market of Crown Property Bureau at Ayutthaya City” under the administration of Crown Property Bureau is conserved and being promoted to be the traditional market for tourist to allow the visitors to learn and experience the way of life of traditional community of Talad Hua Rau with plenty of delicious food both freshly prepared and preserved ones, available 24 hours everyday. And for sake the auspicious occasion ones can visit to pay respect to “Jao Mae Tan Chan Shrine”, the holy place of Hua Rau community.
Bang Lan night market is known as the biggest night market in Ayutthaya. It is very popular night market among local. Most of them buy the food to take home. Although there are also some of them buy the food to eat there.
Hua Rau night market has an impressive background. With the river and a temple on the other side, it is really nice to have your dinner here.