Ayutthaya, one of Thailand‘s ex-capitals, is located about 90 minutes’ drive from the present capital, Bangkok. It’s packed with remnants from its glory days, and makes a great day trip from Bangkok, especially if you hop on a bike as we did.
We caught a minivan from Bangkok central and were met at the Ayutthaya end by our guide Nhoi from Ayutthaya Boat and Travel. After a quick stop at the office to pick up bikes and another guide, we were off.
The first stop was at one of the most beautiful information centres I’d ever been in, full of intricate models and informative signage. Next we headed to the old palace complex, and wandered around the temples there. We stopped for a coconut juice at the giant reclining Buddha, and saw more temples on the way back to the office. Our guide was informative without overwhelming us with information, and I felt like I’d learned a lot about the city during our short tour.
Of course, that wasn’t the end of the day. We tuktuked down to the river where we were ushered onto a riverboat, set up with a table and chairs. The two guides and the boat pilot came on board laden down with dishes, which they then proceeded to serve to us. There was far more than we could ever have eaten, though we gave it our best shot. Nhoi also introduced us to Roti Sai Mai, an Ayutthayan sweet – basically sweet pancakes rolled around candy floss.
After a slow cruise down the river, admiring the ancient architecture and feeding the fishes outside the temple, it was time to return to dock and from there to Bangkok. It was a day with a little of everything: exercise, culture and tasty food – and what more can you ask for than that?
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