Friday, October 7, 2022

[AYUTTHAYA] Sukhotai Lite


I haven’t really been to Sukhotai yet, so what right have I to compare, huh? In any case, some people I know who have been to both always tend to say that Sukhotai is more immense as compared to Ayutthaya, so let’s just call Ayutthaya as Sukhotai Lite for the time being. When I get to visit Sukhotai, we will confirm if this assumption is true. Anyway, Ayutthaya is defo the place to go for a daytrip if you want to get out of Bangkok and get back in quickly as you left.


I booked my bus online on the website called: BusOnlineTicket.Co.Th. They allow you to choose from numerous departures all day. The choice regarding form of transportation is limited between the comfy tourist bus and the more cramped minivan. Both of them depart from Mo Chit, but from opposite terminals across each other on the main street. The minivans leave from the newly-built albeit smaller terminal across the street; the buses, from the big main terminal.


The minivans are cheaper at around just THB 100 per way. The buses can be as expensive as THB 500. If you value comfort then by all means go for the bus. However, this trip is just over an hour long, which means you will get to save more money if your endurance permits it. The minivan wasn’t that bad, to be honest. Advanced tickets are not necessary and the departure times you book are arbitrary. Once you get there, just show your ticket and you will be herded to a minivan which only leaves once full.


Once you get to Ayutthaya’s market where the minivans arrive, you will immediately see a board with a map of Ayutthaya. The temples are scattered all around the city and the touts will gather around you once you disembark from your minivan. You can entertain them if you like, but you can also just easily do everything DIY if you can bare the heat and prefer to walk. From the market, start walking east for 20 minutes and you will end up at the vicinity of Wat Mahathat and Wat Ratchaburana.


My mantra nowadays has already changed from I-have-to-see-everything to I-have-to-see-something. For Ayutthaya, we chose Wat Mahathat. It doesn’t really matter what you choose because the entire place is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so expect to be awestruck wherever you go. As for me, Ayutthaya felt a bit weird for several reasons, one of them being the residential sprawl around it. It does not feel like you are in a majestic place at first with all the modern houses all around you, until you get to the site itself.


The entrance fee to Wat Mahathat is THB 50. They only accept Thai Baht, no credit cards or QR codes. I’m not sure if there is a separate entrance fee to the neighboring Wat Ratchaburana because we no longer bothered to cross the street to go there. Anyway, this is an entire island surrounded by the river on all sides, so rely on that as your point of reference in case you get lost. Some of the other attractions are free of charge but farther away. There are giant buddhas, more stuphas, and the like.


As for Wat Mahathat, it’s all red brick and headless buddhas galore, although there are still two that remain intact and with their heads attached. I somehow felt duped because I always associate red brick with western architecture, so my brain was somehow telling me that these ruins are not really from the 1300’s, but rather just built ten years ago. Of course, there is a plethora of historical evidence to refute this so don’t mind me. If you just want an accessible cultural field trip from Bangkok, Ayutthaya can be done in half a day. If you are a fan or a scholar and you want to study the place, it’s accessible from BKK.


The highlight of our trip was the Buddha’s head in the tree as well as the semi-giant one in the inner parts of the site. That aside, it’s all red brick and headless buddhas left for you, which is why we decided to just find a quiet place to sit down under a tree and just enjoy the peace and quiet for a few minutes. That’s just what we do. Other foreigners usually prefer to rent a bike, which is recommended as long as the weather is nice and you want to reach the far-flung areas.

[AYUTTHAYA] Sukhotai Lite

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