buddah head at Ayuttaya historical park Unique in many respects, Ayuttaya is It is a living city, a historic site, and home to a score of beautiful Buddhist temples. Add a museum or so and you have the makings of a prime culture outing, complete with nearby hotels, a bit of nightlife and outstanding dining.

Tragedy of Ayuttaya

Walking around the inner city, you can easily see the aftermath of the tragedy that befell Ayuttaya when, after a series of protracted battles, the Burmese sacked it in 1767.

Soldiers destroyed scores of temples and burned Buddha images to melt the gold cladding that adorned them. You can still see the headless Buddha statues as silent reminders of the cultural tragedy.

Even worse may have been the loss of most of Thailand's recorded history.

Visiting Ayuttaya

Temple Reconstruction

Anyone who is truly interested in the Thai culture should visit Ayuttaya. Only 74 km north of Bangkok, Ayuttaya is an easy trip by car, bus, minibus, or train. A nice return trip to Bangkok is by boat.

Rivers encircle the old city area where most of the cultural attraction can be found. As a result, most of the section is walkable. You will probably be offered tuk-tuk tours of the attractions, but we don't recommend them because the drivers will rush you. Ayuttaya is a place that needs to be observed and absorbed -- and that takes time.

Visit all the ruins and then the museums. You actually don't need translators to get a feel for the artifacts.

An interesting follow-up day trip would be to @ Muang Boran - the Ancient city, where some large scale reconstructions of Ayuttata can be appreciated. Maybe the mosty striking is the white temple (photo).

New Ayuttaya

Ayuttaya is also a modern city with newer tourist hotels and some nightlife. It is an industrial area, created by B.O.I. zoningAyuttaya is in the second zone for Thailand's Board of Investment promotional priviledges. So the international community there is strong comfortable and convenient pilgrimage that any lover of Thailand should make.

Getting to Ayuttaya

Train - Every train that goes north passes through Ayuttaya. You will also find plenty of local transportation waiting around the train station. Warning: The return trip to Bangkok may be extremely slow.

Bus - Any number of buses that run to northern destinations will depart Mo Chit Bus Station pass through Ayuttaya. Mo Chit Bus Terminal is on the west side of Chatuchak Park. The nearest local transit station to the Mo Chit Bus Station is actually the Mo Chit Railway Station.

Taxi - That nmay be the quickest way to get to Ayuttaya, but plan on paying Bt 1,000 - 1,500 depending on where in Bangkok you start. Then, if your're coming back to Bangkok ..

markShared Minivan - From Victory Monument, about Bt 70 each way. The minivan dropoff point is just opposite the Ayuttaya Bus Station, so local transportation should be available. If you have a large bag, you may need to pay for a second seat. Cost should be under Bt 100 each way.

Boat - Since Ayuttaya is on the Chao Phaya River, you can get there by boat. It's slow, so you need to not be in a hurry. Because of the river current, the trip to Bangkok is much faster. So you might conside a minivan to Ayuttaya and a boat back to Bangkok.