Wat Phra Mahathat in Ayutthaya
I’ve never counted how many times I’ve been to Thailand, but I think I’ve been there at least 50 times, and I’ve been to most provinces in Thailand. However, I’ve been to Ayutthaya only three times. Although it is the one of the most famous sightseeing spot in Thailand, and very close to Bangkok, I’ve never been interested in it. Because I used to like traveling far from Bangkok by bus or train. In brief, it was too close for me to visit. That’s how I used to travel, but now I can only take 14 days off at most, so it’s hard for me to go anywhere far from Bangkok. If I want to go somewhere located far from Bangkok, I have to take an airplane, but I don’t want to take it so often. The purpose of my travel is not to get to the destination. Actually, I don’t mind even if I can not get there. I just want to enjoy the atmosphere of local Thailand on the way. The best way for that kind of travel is to take a bus or a train. An airplane is too fast to enjoy anything.
So, I can no longer say that Ayutthaya is close. To tell the truth, I went there twice in the past 8 years. When I went there in 2007, I chartered a driver at the hotel, from 9:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m. It was 2,800B. I thought it was a reasonable charge, but the driver who I hired wasn’t familiar with the town of Ayutthaya. So after we arrived at Ayutthaya, we got lost many times and wasted a lot of time. If you go there by taxi, you might want to check in advance if the driver knows Ayutthaya well or not. Then, in 2010, I went there by bus from Northern Bus Terminal in Bangkok. It is generally called “Mochit” because it is in Mochit district. There are a lot of buses going to Ayutthaya, so you can catch them any time, but you should be careful. This “Mochit” is not the same place as BTS Mochit Station. If you are going to Mochit 2 Bus Terminal, you might want to take a taxi. In addition, we can get Ayutthaya by minivan, train, boat or tour, but I don’t suggest to go by train because even for me, it runs too slowly! It takes about 1 hour by taxi, 1.5 hours by bus, 2.5 hours by train.
By the way, I’m going to show pictures of inside of Wat Phra Mahathat in Ayutthaya this time. These ruins are famous for its Buddha head, which is sticking out from the middle of the roots (I posted it here), so there are many visitors looking at it, but the inside of the ruins has much fewer visitors than the outside. The inside has a big collapsed stupa and some small stupa in the large field. The big stupa used to be 44m tall, but it was destroyed by the Burmese armies. Therefore, now, we can only see the ruins of an awe-inspiring structure from the past, but I like that sight much more than the Buddha head because it makes me feel as if I’m in a historical place. When I went there for the first time, we could climb the stupa, but unfortunately, we are prohibited from doing so now. That’s such a shame.