In search of a weekend getaway? Ready to escape Bangkok for a day? Here’s an idea: take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Big Mango and join Singha and Coconuts TV for an impromptu field trip to Ayutthaya in six easy to follow steps.
1. Take the scenic route by rail.
Getting to Ayutthaya from Bangkok is as easy as hailing a taxi, using your fave ride sharing app, or embarking on a little road trip. (It’s just straight north of the city, seriously, you can’t miss it!) But we’re all about stopping to smell the lotus blossoms and taking the scenic route, so why not hop on the train and start soaking up those olden day vibes from the get go.
2. Discover the ruins of Thailand’s ancient capital city.
History lesson, listen up: Ayutthaya was founded as the capital of Thailand in 1350 after the fall of the Sukhothai dynasty. By the 1700’s Ayutthaya was a huge, bustling city with travelers and traders from India, Portugal, China and tons of other places. (That wasn’t so bad right?)
Now, Ayutthaya attracts people from all over the world for a whole different reason – the majestic beauty of the historic ruins. Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the largest temple ruin, known for its iconic row of restored chedis. But, don’t just zip from one site to another, take your time. Wander, snap photos, get lost, panic because your phone is on 1% because you took so many temple selfies, then find your way again with the help of kind strangers. It’s all part of the experience, trust us.
3. Joyride around town in a tuk tuk.
Ride around in town in style, because Ayutthaya is known for its brightly colored tuk tuks. These eye-catching vehicles are larger than the Bangkok variety so go on, get cozy and cram six of your best mates in the back. Flag one down to go on a tour of the temple ruins or visit one of the several museums dotted around town.
4. Feast on Ayutthaya’s famous giant river prawns.
Don’t be surprised if you see people fishing in the river. Befriend them and you might just get a taste of the freshest prawns in town. That’s right, we’re far enough north of Bangkok that you can find fresh giant prawns in the Chao Phraya River without worrying about being pulled underwater by a giant mutated prawn monster.
But, just in case, we left the fishing to the pros and opted to go straight to Baan Watcharachai, a restaurant located right on the water, for the famed meaty morsels. The highlight of these coveted river creatures is undoubtedly the rich, oily butter from the head of the prawn. Add some spicy sauce if you must, but the combination of delicate meat and savory umami of the prawn head is already bursting with flavor.
5. Cruise down the Chao Phraya River on a longtail boat.
Life in Ayutthaya is all about the river. Sricharoen Boatyard continues the city’s tradition of crafting wooden riverboats. We stopped in to learn a little bit about the history of the Chao Phraya. When the city was an active capital, all travel and transport was done via riverboat. Imagine, not a hot pink cab in sight! Now, the river is still a wonderful way to to relax, feel the breeze and explore the city. Indeed, a cruise down the River of Kings is a perfect way to end each day in Ayutthaya.
6. Visit a peaceful waterfall outside of the city.
If you’re up for a bit of adventure beyond temple walks and giant prawns, head out from Ayutthaya to Ton Rak Sai waterfall. Located in Saraburi, it’s one of the closest waterfalls to Bangkok. There are a couple different levels to the falls, which makes for a magical atmosphere and impressive photos. Take a dip in the fresh water and imagine discovering the waterfall hundreds of years ago when Ayutthaya was Thailand’s capital, alive with activity.