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One-Day Trip in Ayutthaya

Updated: May 23, 2022

Only an hour from Bangkok, your family can escape the skyscraper city🏙️ into the old community, an elephant🐘 camp and Siam in almost 400 years ago.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram with Khmer-style pagoda
Wat Chaiwatthanaram with Khmer-style pagoda

This trip happened when I heard from the radio that we could observe an aquatic candle procession in #Ayutthaya, a province closed to Bangkok in an hour drive. I promptly searched for more info to take #kids there during #Lent holiday. Then I planned to visit a famous #elephant camp and #WatChaiwatthanaram at night too, all in one day.


Candle Festival in Ayutthaya


Smaller scale but unique and different from a famous #CandleFestival in Ubonratchathani, here at #Ladchado riverside market in Phak Hai district, the Candle Procession is real aquatic festival😮 when locals take candles to the near temple on boats along Ladchado canal.



We parked in Wat Ladchado and walked through Ladchado old market. It was so crowded that day due to the festival so we couldn't stop visiting shops and #museum representing the charming old time that is still being alive. Only the school, the longest wooden school in Thailand, and the row of wooden houses in the market were offering us that sense of nostalgia.

My kids pretend to be old time students in an old classroom style.
My kids pretend to be old time students in an old classroom style.
Row of wooden houses and food stalls along the walkway in the middle.

Although we couldn't clearly see how vintage the market was, we can follow many Thai series and movies who often use this market as a background location. Also returning to this old market style is not that difficult because they open every weekend from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Next time, we plan to take a long-tail boat going along Ladchado canal too.


Walking through the market to meet the canal and the ceremony with the crowd, we missed the departure of 150 colorful boats going passing the community to set up a procession at the canal bend. While waiting for them to come back in front of the ceremony pavilion again around 11.30 a.m., I took my boy to have some food from the market behind. We'd got Thai Pandan Short Vermicelli in Palm-Sugar Coconut Milk (Lod Chong), Pandan Flavoured Gelatinous Rice with Coconut Flakes (Khao Niao Kaew) from a well-known Ubon Thai dessert shop, and the main dish #GrilledRiverPrawns which is a famous one in Ayutthaya for the sweet and juicy meat and hepatopancreas.


Cheap but sweet taste of Ayuthaya river prawns. At Klang market on Asian Highway, there're several restaurants serving this menu such as Por Pao Kung Phaow and Kung Peun Praew

Then the speaker announced that the first boat was coming back. People moved to the riverside including my kids. Although it was sunny, the shade of umbrellas along the way helped preventing UV. Also the colorful decorated boats down below could attract everyone's attention so much that we forgot how hot it was. About almost an hour, the last boat passed by to Ladchado temple and candles were lifted from boats to offer to monks who would stay in the temple during three-month annual rain retreat.



The Elephant Camp


From the market, we set GPS to The Elephant Palace (Wang Chang), formerly known as Pang Chang Ayutthaya (the elephant camp), the name changed for the prosperity of the owner and place. #Wangchang Ayutthaya is sponsored by the Fine Arts Department, Tourism Authority of Thailand and works with the #PraKochabalFoundation to preserve and sustain Thai elephant species. Also if you could remember, the elephants here were the ones in royal cremation ceremony for our late King and in the coronation of recent Rama X.


In half an hour we could reach the palace downtown where archeological site and giant elephants in warrior costumes are turning back our time to almost 400 years ago when Ayuthaya was the capital city of Thais. We didn't ride these war elephants to visit Ayutthaya Historical Park (different price tickets up to time and place visited, starting from 200 THB.) as there were too long queue and the elephant show was just to begin (50 THB/person, 30 THB/ kid below 110 cm.). The show here is different from other places. Apart from no show of various skills like painting or kicking balls, only accompanied by live music and dances, this section has only a rope between audiences and elephants. When the show starts, all elephants and #mahouts are very friendly and confirm more my belief that the house elephant was man's pet in the past.


an elephant with long ivories is using its trunk to hand a basket
an elephant with long ivories is using its trunk to hand a basket

Have you ever heard the elephant's laugh? It's so loudddd.
Have you ever heard the elephant's laugh? It's so loudddd.

ืHe is dancing hip-hop style.
He is dancing hip-hop.

After the show, visitors are persuaded to walk under the belly of the elephant for luck. Surely my kids were not brave enough and preferred to feed the elephants instead. They have long cucumbers, corns and bananas sold in a basket (50 baht). In the same area, a mahout brings out a baby elephant for you to get a picture with (40 baht/person).


My daughter loves feeding elephants.
My daughter loves feeding elephants.

Ayutthaya Elephant Palace & Royal Kraal:

open everyday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

(the elephant show only on weekends and public holidays from 11 a.m.-2.30 p.m.)

Tel: +66 3532 1982

www.changdee.com


Wat Chaiwatthanaram, a historical site in Ayutthaya



Actually, I intended to visit this temple after sunset to take its photo with lighting but when Baan Kao Nhom #Cafe and #BusabaCafe where I had planned to take some rest, were too popular and had no parking space left, I needed to go straight to this site. It was a blessing in disguise. If we had come here later than 6 p.m. to see the temple with lighting, the gate would have been closed and we could admire the exotic beauty only from the outside.


#WatChaiwatthanaram rests on the bank of the Chao Phraya river, to the west of the city island so I saw some foreign tourists visiting here by a long-tail boat. Looking across the river to the opposite site, situated is Siriyalai villa, a royal mansion that late King Rama IX with his son Rama X built and gave to Her Majesty the Queen Mother on her 60th birthday anniversary in 1992.


17-acre Siriyalai villa, right opposite to Wat Chaiwattanaram
17-acre private royal villa, right opposite to Wat Chaiwatthanaram

Even though you don't have much knowledge in Thai historical site, you and your family can enjoy imagining the glory of Ayutthaya Kingdom who Louis XIV de France had a formal diplomatic relation with. The royal temple was ordered to be built in 1630 by King Prasat Thong to honor his mother, featuring the architectural style influenced by Angkor temple in Cambodia with its unique large, central prang (Khmer-style pagoda) surrounded by smaller prangs, symbolizing Mount Sumeru, the gods' mountain according to Hindu belief. Sadly, the monastery was looted and largely destroyed by the Burmese armies in 1767 after which it was deserted. During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Wat Chaiwatthanaram was restored by the Fine Arts Department.



Influenced by a popular Thai TV drama last year, BuppeSannivas (Love Destiny), you can see a lot of Thais visiting here in traditional Thai costumes which you can rent from many shops in front of the temple for taking photos here.
Influenced by a popular Thai TV drama last year, BuppeSannivas (Love Destiny), you can see a lot of Thais visiting here in traditional Thai costumes which you can rent from many shops in front of the temple for taking photos here.

For my kids, they are excited to see something unseen before. They love to take the old brick steps up and down. Buddha images without heads or arms lining the gallery were one of their interest inviting us to explain how cruel and devastating the war has always been.


The 25 meter tall slender tower diminishes in size towards the top
The 25 meter tall slender tower diminishes in size towards the top

An image of the Buddha seated on a pedestal in each 25 meter tall slender tower.
An image of the Buddha seated on a pedestal in each tower.

For parents, here is well worth a visit if #history and #culture are your interest. Also you can have many photos of your kids with exotic background as real Thai souvenirs.



If you stay overnight (recommended), spend another one day in Ayutthaya Historical Park declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consisting of the highlight ruins such as the stone Buddha head entwined in tree roots at Wat Mahathat, the royal chapel at Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Vihara Phra Mongkol Bophit. Or just seeing them in light setting after 7 p.m. could be the most memorable scenes of this trip so my tip is to have dinner at some riverfront restaurants while overlooking the legendary Chao Phraya river and temples in lights on the opposite side.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

open daily between 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Admission Fee: 50 Baht Tel: +66 3524 2286


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