A Day Trip from Bangkok (Part 1) - Ayutthaya Temples

7:36 AM

Just last Saturday, I finally went on the long awaited trip after the end of the school semester. There's no better way to treat yourself to months of hard work than a plane ticket to elsewhere. :')
Coincidentally, Han also had his block leave that very week, so we've been making a few plans to travel and we finally decided on Bangkok!

It's my second time visiting Bangkok this year (I also visited in May), but I don't have much to blog about it since it was just a whole lot of shopping. I'm pretty sure many Singaporean travel sites have covered enough about the night markets and cafes to visit around Bangkok, so I won't talk about that either. Instead, I'll write about how the day we decided to take the road less travelled by!

For on one of the days during our 5D4N trip, we went on a day trip to the north of Bangkok, to explore some other parts of Thailand by train!!

Since the whole day trip was kinda long with a lot of visuals, I will be splitting them up into three parts:
1. Ayutthaya Temples
2. Lopburi Sunflower Fields & Monkey Temple
3. Getting around railways in Thailand

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We went to Ayutthaya and Lopburi, to visit their temples and sunflower fields. Both places took our breaths away. It was a good breather from the hustle of Bangkok city, and it wounded up being the highlight of our entire trip. We would definitely do it again next time, maybe in other parts of Thailand but this was a great head start.

If you've read some of my travel posts, you would more or less get the idea that I tend to plan my own trip itineraries (or go without a plan), rather than go on guided tours. Luckily for me, Han is exactly the same (he dislikes guided tours with a passion lol) so naturally, we kinda winged this. So many times we could have gotten lost and stranded but... The spontaneous part is what makes it fun.

If you're a low budget traveller, then this day trip could also be ideal, with some tweaking!

Hua Lamphong Railway Station

First thing's first, breakfast!! I had a friend recommend me to visit On Lok Yun, and we paid it a visit because it happens to be located not too far away from the railway station that we were going to. We had their famed kaya and butter toast, as well as milk tea and breakfast set before departing on our journey.

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The day trip took us from morning 8AM to about night 9PM, and it started from Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok. Our first stop was the temples at Ayutthaya!

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About the tickets and how we got around the railway, I'll talk about them in my next post! Otherwise, this post would be way too text heavy haha. So for now, just some visuals on what you could expect if you explored Ayutthaya and Lopburi!

Ayutthaya Temples

The journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya took us about two hours, because there was a slight delay in the departing time for the train. It was about 1030am when we arrived so we began to plan which temples we wanted to visit and how.

There are a few ways to get around the beautiful temples:
1) Rent a bike
2) Rent a motor
3) Get a tuktuk/taxi
4) Walk (not the best option as the temples could be quite a distance away)

At Ayutthaya station, there will be a lot of tuktuks that will try to offer you tour packages at a rather hefty price that ranges from 300 baht (SGD$12) to 1600 baht (SGD$64). They are all very friendly so you might not be able to tell who's trying to scam you, so be cautious as you make your choices. Unlike in Bangkok, Grab and Uber does not really work here cause they don't have much drivers around the area. If you have Google Maps with you then renting a bike/motor should be the most budget option.

We chose a tuktuk cause we were rushing for time (only had two hours to go around, so no time to get lost) and paid him about 600 baht for two hours of his time, which was about SGD$12 per person. I guess we were kind of scammed?? It seems like there were other travellers who got it way cheaper.

If we had the time, we would have rented a motor (you know, those scooter kinds that aunties usually ride so it's not that dangerous) and slowly figured our way around what Ayutthaya has to offer. But we were on a tight schedule so we only went to three temples. You can probably pack more visits, but since we idled a while at each temple taking photos etc, we only covered the three that we really wanted to go.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

One of the major temples in the city, Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon was also the most crowded with throngs of tourists and locals alike when we visited the old site in the morning. Apparently, the royalty used to come around this temple a lot during the Ayutthaya period.

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It was a really majestic sight, seeing the ancient temple with rows of Buddha statues. There were many other garden areas and sectors as well, each with a different kind of atmosphere and setting. Never thought that I'd even find pretty gardens in temples.

Also, I suppose that you somehow need to cover up your legs while you're temple-visiting (which I forgot and didn't), so I had to buy a wrap around cloth. I got the standard elephant tribal one cause it was the cheapest, at 200 baht. Sigh talk about clashing prints.

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The famous reclining Buddha statue.

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Wat Phra Mahathat

For our next stop, we decided on Wat Phra Mahathat mainly because the ruins of an old temple seemed quite interesting. We later found out that this ancient site was actually what's left of the temple after the war when the Burmese Army invaded Ayutthaya. The result were missing heads from the Buddha statues, and this place was left abandoned until recently. Not what we expected when we chose this temple, but it was informative and different from the previous.

Likewise, the place was filled with tourists, though not as much. It also seem like there was some sort of construction work going on while we where there.

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When the Burmese army vandalised the temple, leaving behind broken statues. It was quite eerie?

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An iconic feature of this temple - the Buddha head entwined with the roots of the tree. I didn't get to find out why it was that way while I was there so I researched online. It seems like there were many theories, but there was no conclusive answer.

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Wat Ratchaburana

Our last stop, Wat Ratchaburana was also our favourite stop. Also another Buddhist temple, this one was built around the 15th century and has since deteriorated. But I actually loved the way the structures turned out!

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Han all ready to film some stuff on the GoPro hahaha.

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The view from above was amazing!!

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After all the temple visiting in the scorching sun, we could definitely do with some good ol' milk tea!!

After our tuktuk sent us back to Ayutthaya station, we took a short breather just sippin' on the tea before we got our 1PM train tickets to Lopburi!

Till the next post where you'll see sunflowers and monkeys!!

Check out my other travel posts:
▶ A Day Trip from Bangkok (Part 1) - Ayutthaya Temples
▶ A Day Trip from Bangkok (Part 2) - Lopburi Sunflower Fields and Monkey Temple
▶ A Day Trip from Bangkok (Part 3) - Getting to Ayutthaya and Lopburi 

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