Bangkok is Thailand’s current capital city. But, for those who have done a bit of research or are interested in Thai history they will know that there are a few other former capitals throughout the country’s timeline, and Ayutthaya is one of those. This kingdom started to rise around the 14th century and fell because of the Burmese troop’s invasion eventually, part of that was because of the weaknesses of the monarchy at the time. There was altogether 35 kings ruled Ayutthaya kingdom.
It is conveniently located in north of Bangkok and is about 80 km far. Nowadays, it has become a main attraction for those who are interested in history. There is the historical park declared by UNESCO as the World Heritage Site in 1991 where many ruins, numerous temples, old city walls, and other architectures well preserved.
There are different ways to explore the historical site; both by cars and boats. They both give different feelings. It is more relaxed to take the boat tour; total distance is around 30 km. And, with boat tour it is possible to do it within an hour or two for those who don’t have a lot of time. Or, taking the full day tour with lunch on the boat included for those who want to take the slower time in order to enjoy and learn more in depth. There are also both tour operators who can arrange everything for those who don’t have time to plan the trip, or for more budget travelers it is also possible to come up with his/ her own plan by doing some researches to make the trip happen.
The boat tour usually starts at the main pier in the north eastern part of the historical park. They type of boat used is the long-tailed that can carry up to 8, maximum 10 passengers. It passes the stilted houses with balconies facing the river. Some locals come down to the river back to do their chores whereas children enjoy jumping into the water and swim happily. Some of the people living there including monks, row their small wooden boats up or down the river. Some sit at the riverside with their hands holding the fishing rods, or some use the nets to catch fish. There are also some lizards living in the water too.
Not just only the way of life of the people, but the main highlight of doing the boat trip is to stop at a few temples. Many temples are seen from the river when taking the tour. But, there are those that visitors should not miss such as Wat Panan Cheng which is one of the oldest Buddhist temples built in the 14th century where the impressive 19-meter-tall Buddha image is kept. Another famous temple is Wat Chaiwattanaram which was built in the 17th century with Khmer (ancient Cambodia) architecture. There is another old Catholic church called St. Joseph’s church with western style architecture contrasting inside this historical park.
This fun, relaxed and educational boat tour is another activity worth doing when traveling to Thailand.