Before Bangkok, there’s Thonburi (which is now part of metropolitan Bangkok). Before Thonburi, there’s Ayutthaya, a symbol of Thailand’s past glory and a reminder of the tensions and conflicts that almost every country in the region had against each other. Now, it is a UNESCO Heritage site, and being so close to Bangkok, a convenient day trip for many.
There are many ways to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok. One obvious method is by car. It is only an hour drive from the current capital to the former. Others take the train. It is inexpensive and a nice way to integrate yourself with the locals. The trip may take anywhere between one and a half to two hours. Getting there by boat is another way of getting there. It allows you to see how life is on the Bangkok and Ayutthaya sides of the Chao Phraya as well as giving you a feel of how travel was like during the Ayutthaya period when the Chao Phraya River served as a channel of transportation for trade and commerce.
The city’s central location between China, India and the Malaysian Archipelago made it the trading capital of Asia. In fact, it eventually became one of the largest and most prosperous cities in the world. The city attracted merchants from all over, such as the Arab World and Western Europe. Just about all were highly impressed and complimented it as one of the finest cities they’ve ever seen.
Expect to see some nice temples and ruins while you are there, evident that the city was not only the region’s most prosperous cities but maybe even the world’s. One great way to see them is by bike. Ayutthaya Archeological Park is easily accessible on two wheels and you don’t have to be a Lance Armstrong to see all the ruins. The paths are paved and the distances between temples are small. You can also explore the area by foot or by tuk-tuk. And don’t be shocked by the headless Buddhas. Those were chopped off, stemming from the many past conflicts between Thailand and Myanmar.
If you are in Bangkok, you should come and check out the temples and ruins up in Ayutthaya. It is a legendary city and the era when the city was the capital (1350-1767) was one of Thailand’s golden eras. Relive the past, just a short transfer away from the capital.
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