We are Eri and Davi, a Spanish couple behind Locos x Perderse – a website for travellers and photography enthusiasts. Welcome to our article on Ayutthaya. We both grew up in Asturias. This is a region full of nature in the north of Spain. Neither of us travelled outside of Spain during our childhood but we were always eager to explore the world. Now we share all of our adventures on our Instagram profile: @locosxperderse.
We met each other at university and soon after took our first trip together to Paris. This was the trigger for our wanderlust. Since then we have been escaping abroad at every opportunity. One place that we absolutely love visiting is Thailand. We have travelled here twice and planned on going for a third time before we had to return back home because of the pandemic.
On our second visit we stayed for a month and repeated some places but also went deep into the northeast region. Northern Thailand is much less touristy than other regions. We discovered Ayutthaya when we were looking for info for the trip and ended up watching an incredible drone video flying over the ruins. From that moment we knew we wanted to go.
Two Amazing Trips to Ayutthaya
On our first visit to Ayutthaya we were instantly amazed as soon as we stepped out of the train station. Ayutthaya was our first stop in Thailand after a couple of days in the capital city of Bangkok. It was something totally different compared to what we had seen in other countries.
This first visit was kind of rushed, though. We arrived early in the morning and then we had to leave that evening to Chiang Mai by train. Nevertheless, when we left we felt that we had to return soon and that is what we did.
On our second round, we spent two days exploring Ayutthaya more thoroughly and went to places far away from the touristy parts of the historical park. It was wonderful to see more of the real Ayutthaya.
What to Expect in the Township
Except for Ayutthaya Historical Park, Ayutthaya City is pretty similar to the average Thai town with low buildings, street markets and lots of life in the streets. The vast majority of accommodations are little hostels and guest houses. You don’t tend to find big vacation hotel chains here.
The city receives a strong flow of tourists everydays and it has enough facilities to hold visitors without making the place look like a theme park. If you want to eat authentic Thai food amongst the local people and sleep in a guest house run by a lovely family then this the place for you!
Our Favourite Places in Ayutthaya
One of the things we enjoyed most about Ayutthaya was watching the sunset from Wat Chai Watthanaram on the outskirts of the city. Seeing the sun disappear behind the temple with the river at our backs was incredible.
If we had to choose a favourite place from the central area of Ayutthaya we would pick Wat Ratchaburana – “the temple of Royal Restoration” built in 1424 by King Borommarachathirat II – and its spectacular main stupa.
Top 5 Things To Do in Ayutthaya
Aside from the cultural experience of exploring the ruins of the ancient capital of Thailand and some of its temples, the town itself doesn’t have many tourist attractions. Some of the things that we enjoyed in Ayutthaya and which we believe everyone should do (in no particular order) are:
- See the Buddha’s head stuck in Bodhi Tree roots at Wat Maha That
- Explore the gardens of Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
- Contemplate the big lonely stupa of Wat Ratchaburana
- Climb to the highest part of Wat Phu Khao Thong
- And, of course, watch the sunset from Wat Chai Watthanaram
Memories at Wat Phu Khao Thong
We have a beautiful memory from the day we walked to Wat Phu Khao Thong outside the town. When we finished the visit we wanted to return to the center before the sun went down. The problem was that we were alone with no tuk-tuks in sight and no way to go back before dark.
Suddenly, out of the blue, a man arrived and asked us if he could help. He was the husband of a cleaner from the Wat Phu Khao Thong temple and he offered to take us to the city while he was waiting for her.
The kindness of this person amazed us – helping without asking anything in return, even though he had to go back again to pick up his wife. This experience turned out to be a big lesson for us. They say that teachers are everywhere when you travel and we found a great one in Ayutthaya.
Where to Stay in Ayutthaya
In our opinion, it’s a good idea to look for accommodation somewhere between the historical park and train station. There are many fantastic guest houses with good prices even for backpackers on a budget.
Over the years we have learned that for us it’s more important to have a genuine experience with the locals. So that is where our energy goes, rather than spending big time and money on a fancy hotel. A clean, friendly and cosy place is the only requirement for us when we travel.
Need to Know Before you Go
It may sound dull but one key tip for Ayutthaya is having good sun protection. Wear a cap, apply sunscreen, carry enough water, etc. and be prepared for the heat. The sun is relentless and there is no shade anywhere.
Another practical tip to take into account is the dress code of the Buddhist temples. Even if you are visiting the ruins it’s mandatory to cover knees and shoulders to enter. One trick is to use a shawl or towel to cover you.
We would like to finish with a little history about Ayutthaya. All the Buddha statues of the historical park are headless and this is no coincidence. When the place was the capital of the Siam Kingdom the Burmese sieged and plundered the town and beheaded all the Buddha statues as a symbol of conquest. A very destructive way of showing that they were there.