I’ve seen a lot of blog posts from other travellers posting about underrated places to go in Thailand but nowhere in Thailand I went was as good as Ayutthaya. I don’t doubt that there are a million underrated places to visit there, but this is my favourite place we visited!
Ayutthaya is the capital city of Siam, which, when Siam became Thailand and the capital city became Bangkok, Ayutthaya became ruins. The temples were kept the best but even they fell into ruin. All it was was a two hour train journey from Bangkok, costing 15 baht each way for a third class train ticket (Read here for more information).
Because of this, Ayutthaya is a hub of ruined temples and buildings – everywhere you look there are ruins or bits of ruins and they are absolutely stunning.
We stayed in a lovely little hostel/hotel called Somjai Place to the east of the Island. The rooms were clean and airy with a TV and small balcony. It wasn’t the best room we stayed in but it was decent and the facilities made up for it. Downstairs at the front, they had bikes and mopeds for hire. We rented a bike each and decided to explore what we could from Ayutthaya. There were so many ruins around and they were incredibly intact! It’s this reason that I would recommend coming here for as they are spectacular and mostly free to look at unless you want a proper wander around, and then they are still relatively cheap.
My favourite Wat that we visited was Wat Chaiwatthanaram; it is one of the most famous Wats in Ayutthaya and it is stunning. It is the largest Wat we visited with a large prang at the top of some really tall, steep stairs!
Another fantastic thing to see and do when you’re in Ayutthaya is the wonderful floating market to the east and off of the island. It took us a long time to walk to the market and it seemed in an odd place in the middle of nowhere but it was definitely worth a visit! All of the stalls are over the water in little huts and you walk over a sort of pier to get from one stall to another. There is food and entertainment with other stalls and things to see and do whilst you’re there.
Whilst we were there we also found a sheep petting farm and an elephant hanging around for you to feed. There was a tiger there too, but we refused to give any money to the people holding him because of animal rights reasons (please read about this here and looking up other websites/blogs before visiting places like Thailand).
Another tourist attraction to definitely visit whilst in Ayutthaya is the Reclining Buddha. It’s massive and still gets dressed in huge golden robes by the local monks. There is no entry fee and it is really impressive. Definitely make a trip there if you can!
My favourite part of Ayutthaya was the elephants at the ElephantStay sanctuary. Although we could not afford to go and stay in the sanctuary, we found that we were able to go and visit the national park where they take the elephants for walks daily. The walks weren’t too expensive and the staff allowed you to play with the baby elephants and take pictures of them. It was lovely and the animals seemed very well looked after, although, be warned, the elephants did have cages on their backs. Even though this was the case, the elephants were only allowed on a certain amount of walks a day before being sent back to the sanctuary to rest.
Click here to read some more about ElephantStay in Ayutthaya.
To cut a long story short, Ayutthaya had a lot of things to do and was a wonderful trip. It was great for us as we didn’t have enough time to get up to Chiang Mai and this was a perfect alternative!
Click below to see gallery of photos from Ayutthaya.