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Destination Guide in Thailand

Ayutthaya

Hua Hin (Thai หัวหิน) is a famous beach resort town in Thailand, in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula, some 200 km south of Bangkok. It has a population of 84,883 in an area of 911 km², and is one of eight districts (Amphoe) of the Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

Attractions

Ayutthaya Tourism Centre (ศูนย์ท่องเที่ยวอยุธยา–ATC): The centre is established by the Fine Arts Department and developed to be a tourist information centre by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) with high reliefs of 6 great kings and queens from the Ayutthaya Kingdom on the facade of the building remain in their original positions. The center is home to TAT information center, an exhibition on Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya’s tourism and a contemporary art gallery.

Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre (ศูนย์ศึกษาประวัติศาสตร์อยุธยา) is a national research institute devoted to the study of Ayutthaya, especially during the period when Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam. The Centre is responsible for the museum of the history of Ayutthaya, which exhibits reconstructions from the past. The Centre also supports an information service and a library containing historical materials about Ayutthaya.

Chao Sam Phraya National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติเจ้าสามพระยา): The construction of this museum was funded by the proceeds from the sale of votive tablets discovered in the underground crypts of the principal Prang tower of Wat Ratchaburana. Since the temple was built by King Borommarachathirat II (Chao Sam Phraya), the museum was named after him. The opening ceremony of this museum was held in 1961 and was presided over by Their Majesties the King and the Queen. It was the first museum in the country to present a new form of exhibition, displaying artefacts unearthed from the archaeological excavations as well as restoration of ancient monuments.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet (วัดพระศรีสรรเพชญ์): This important and most impressive monastery is located in the Grand Palace compound like Wat Phra Si Rattanasatsadaram (Wat Phra Kaeo) of Bangkok. Used as a residential palace, it became a monastery in the reign of King Ramathibodi I. When King Borom Trai Lokanat commanded new living quarters built, this residential palace was given to be a temple area, thus originating Wat Phra Si Sanphet: The royal chapel does not have any monks and novice inhabitants.

Grand Palace (พระราชวังหลวง): Currently called “Ancient Palace”. The residential palace of every king was located close to the city wall of Ayutthaya. Important buildings inside the Grand Palace compound are Wihan Somdet Hall (พระที่นั่งวิหารสมเด็จ), Sanphet Prasat Hall (พระที่นั่งสรรเพชญ์ปราสาท), Suriyat Amarin Hall, Suriyat Amarin Hall (พระที่นั่งสุริยาสน์อมรินทร์), Chakkrawat Phaichayon Hall (พระที่นั่งจักรวรรดิ์ไพชยนต์), Trimuk Hall (พระที่นั่งตรีมุข) and Banyong Rattanat Hall (พระที่นั่งบรรยงค์รัตนาสน์)

Wat Chaiwatthanaram (วัดไชยวัฒนาราม) is another monastery; King Prasat Thong commanded it built. The great beauty has been reflected from the main stupa and its satellite stupas along the gallery, an architecture influenced by Khmer.

Wat Yai Chaimongkhon or Wat Chao Phraya Thai (วัดใหญ่ชัยมงคล หรือ วัดเจ้าพระยาไท): This monastery constructed in the reign of King U-Thong. King Naresuan the Great commanded that the pagoda be built to celebrate the victory of his single-handed combat on the elephant back. He also intended a huge construction to match the large pagoda of Wat Phukhao Thong, and named it “Phra Chedi Chaiyamongkhon”.

Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) Farmers from Ayutthaya as well as from other provinces undergo training in folk arts and crafts here. At this centre, visitors have a glimpe of how farmers in the four regions live and work and how their products of arts and crafts are produced. 9. Bang Pa-In Palace (พระราชวังบางปะอิน) Originally, Bang Pa-In was a riverine island. When King Prasat Thong became the Ayutthaya king (1630-1655), he had the Chumphon Nikayaram Temple built on his family estate. The palace surrounded by a lake 400 metres long and 40 metres wide. Bang Pa-In was used as a country residence by every Ayutthaya monarch after King Prasat Thong.

Activities / Entertainment

Homestay

Many visitors to Ayuthaya experience traditional Thai lifestyle, Thai-style dwellings, canal-side scenery and the peaceful atmosphere by way of ‘homestay’. Two popular places for this kind of accommodation is at Khlong Rang Chorakhe (คลองรางจระเข้) which is home to a 400-year-old image of Luangpho To image at Wat Rang Chorakhe and Bang Sai (บางไทร) which is a community on the Noi River in Amphoe Bang Sai.

Elephant Back Activities

This activity is found at Ayutthaya Elephant Camp (วังช้างอยุธยา แล เพนียด).

Boat Trips

Boat trips long the Chao Phraya River is a popular activity to enjoy the scenery and traditional life-styles. At Nawa Nakhorn there are nicely decorated old-fashioned boats.

Bicycling

There are various bicycling routes in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya:

Dinner Cruise

There are several restaurants which provide this service.

Spa

Spa service is available at some of the top resorts and hotels.

Nightlife

Typical nightlife available in Ayutthaya:

  • The city has a couple of discos which are popular with the younger trendier crowd.
  • Some live Music Joints play Thai folk
  • Karaoke clubs can be found in some of the many hotels and customers can either sing to everyone or rent a private room
  • Barbecues are large Thai-style restaurants which play music and serve alcohol.
  • Sing-a-Songs are popular with Thai males. Singers sing on the stage.
  • Down by the river there are few bars which are popular with tourists who fancy a beer.
  • Most of the guesthouses down by the river sell alcohol and play music.

Due to the old areas being historically important in regards to religion and the monarchy, the nightlife is very low-key.

Events and Festivals

Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre Fair (งานประจำปีศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) At the end of January

Held annually toward the end of January at Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre, the fair features displays and contests of the arts and crafts products, sales of local products and cultural performances.

Songkran Festival (งานเทศกาลสงกรานต์) April 13

Held annually on 13 April in front of Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit, Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, it features a traditional procession, Thoet Thoeng drums procession, Song Nam Phra ceremony of the miniature of Phra Mongkhon Bophit image, and Nang Songkran beauty contest.

Wai Khru Bucha Tao Ceremony (พิธีไหว้ครูบูชาเตา) Around April – May

A wai khru ceremony held by blacksmiths and knife-makers of Aranyik knives at Ban Ton Pho, Ban Phai Nong and Ban Salai, Tambon Tha Chang, Amphoe Nakhon Luang to pay salute to their masters and forge spirits.

The ceremony is usually held on an early Thursday morning which may be the 7th, 9th, etc. day of the waxing moon of the 5th lunar month (around April – May) in order to express gratitude to their masters, sweep away possible accidents during their works as well as for their own auspiciousness and prosperity. After chanting for a congregation of angels and saluting the Triple Gem, the master of the ceremony will chant for a congregation of gods which include Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Vishnukarma, Matuli, Vaya, Gangga, 8 ascetics, etc. as well as Thai, Lao, Mon, and Chinese masters who have imparted them with the ironwork skills, for them to receive their offerings and bless all participants. All tools and equipment will be gilded and lustral water made to sprinkle on the tools and participants.

Bang Sai Loi Krathong and Traditional Long Boat Races (งานลอยกระทงตามประทีปและแข่งเรือยาวประเพณีศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) November

It is an annual festival held toward the end of November at the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre, Amphoe Bang Sai. Activities include Nang Nopphamat beauty contest, contests of processions, Krathongs, and hanging lanterns, folk entertainment, traditional and international long boat races, and sales of the Centre’s products.

Ayutthaya World Heritage Fair (งานแสดงแสงเสียงอยุธยามรดกโลก) December

To commemorate the occasion of the Ayutthaya Historical Park being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 13 December, 1991, a celebration is held annually for 1 week during the same period of the year. The Fair features local ways of life, handicrafts, Thai traditions and culture as well as the light and sound presentation on the history of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya Maha Mongkhon (อยุธยามหามงคล – ไหว้พระเก้าวัด) Buddhist Lent Festival

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Provincial Administration in collaboration with the Tourism Business Association and TAT Central Region Office: Region 6, organise the Ayutthaya Maha Mongkhon programme for participants to visit 9 temples in the province during the Buddhist Lent Festival.

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