Seeing the ancient capital city of Thailand, Ayutthaya, had been one of my adventurous moments on 2 wheels to date. We got onto a bicycle and explored the city & the back roads to Bang Pa-In in a day with a cycling guide.
Our first stop was a visit to the Ayutthaya Historic Study Centre. In here, we came to learn of the relationships between Siam (Thailand), the Europeans as well as the Japanese. Unfortunately, taking of pictures are not allowed in the Study Centre so we only have a picture taken at the entrance to show here.
The main highlight of this cycling trip is the visit to Wat Chaiwatthanaram (a buddhist temple in the 17th century). It is a restored ruin situated within the UNESCO historic city of Ayutthaya. It is also one of the grandest and most monumental ruins located directly across the river.
The primary access to the temple was from the river during those times, as the waterways were the most important means of transport during that era. After the destruction of Ayutthaya (2nd Siamese capital of Thailand) by the Burmese in the mid-18th century, the temple was deserted and became a prey to looters for 220 years. A historic part of Ayutthaya is marked as an UNESCO heritage site. Unfortunately, Wat Chaiwatthanaram does not fall within the UNESCO Heritage site despite being Ayutthaya’s best known temple and a major tourist attraction.
As mentioned that waterways and rivers were the most important means of transport in ancient Siam, our lunch venue is naturally beside the famous Chao Phraya River. The environment was relaxing and serene, we could stay here the whole afternoon. But we can’t as we were going to continue our adventure to explore the villages along the river.
It was like as maze zipping through villages and villages. We could have never done it on our own and without a guide. As we came to like a dead end of a village, we realized it was actually a pier stop. It functions just like a bus stop, and in this case only long tail boats make stops here to ferry people across and to other pier stops along the river. It was quite an adventure and we thought it was fun carrying our bicycles onto and off the boats.
We were all caught with disappointment unexpectedly when we arrived at The Summer Palace and were told it will be closed from 4pm onwards because of the Thai Princess’ visit. It was really a pity that we did not get to visit the palace as it will beautifully sum up our visit and history of Ayutthaya. So we took a picture at the pier next to The Summer Place to commemorate we (almost) had been there. LOL
While Ayutthaya is more laidback and lesser traffic compared to Bangkok, this cycling tour involves substantial riding on the road. It is more suitable for cyclists who have at least tried road cycling once.
However we survived especially for Mabel who have never been on such cycling adventure before. Everything is new and an adventure to her, yet she is loving every moment of it !