Trip to Ayutthaya for the Muay Thai Festival

March 21, 2012

Over the weekend I was in Ayutthaya for the Muay Thai Festival. This is an annual event which takes place on the 17th March every year. These are some of the places that I visited during the two day trip.

Our first stop was to Sian Chang Market (A). I had never visited this one before. I found it in a Thai guidebook and thought that I would check it out. Unfortunately, many of the shops are empty and so it is not really worth a look. It is next to the Pang Chang Elephant Camp (B), which is in turn next to Ayothaya Floating Market (C). I guess Sian Chang is not successful as it is so close to the floating market. Elephant rides at Pang Chang in Ayutthaya are expensive: 2 hours 2,500B, 1 hour 1,300B, 30 mins 700B + free picture. You can also have your picture taken with a chained tiger for 100 Baht if you so wish. In my opinion, Ayothaya Floating Market is the only place here worth visiting. A large range of food and hand-crafted souvenirs can be bought here. I visit often. Another new place for me was the Million Toy Museum (D) which is to the Northwest of the old city. A private collector here has brought together countless thousands of toys from Thailand and around the world. Some date back 150 years. A good place to re-live your childhood.

To the North of the city is the Elephant Kraal Pavilion (E). This dates back to the period when Ayutthaya used to be the capital of Thailand. However, it was extensively renovated in 1988 so it is doubtful much of what you see is original. Elephants used to be herded here where they used to be inspected by kings. There are no regular events here but they sometimes put on a show on special occasions. Next door is the Elephant Homestay (F). If you love elephants and you want to get to know them, then this is a unique opportunity to get close with the elephants with a three-day homestay programme. When you arrive, you are given one of the elephants to look after. This involves cleaning up after them, feeding them and washing them in the nearby river. You can also go on elephant rides. More information and prices on their website.

One of the places that I have often visited in Ayutthaya is the Reclining Buddha at Wat Lokayasutha (G). During the floods towards the end of 2011, this Buddha image was under nearly 3 meters of water. I remember seeing an iconic picture of a fisherman on a boat in front of the reclining Buddha. Ask anyone about what food souvenirs you should buy in Ayutthaya and they will most likely tell you to visit Roti Sai Mai Road (H).  This is actually U-Thong road but it is famous for all the roti shops. It is kind of a candy floss wrapped in a think pancake. If you like to eat freshwater shrimp, then I am told that the best place to eat is at Rim Nam Restaurant (I) on the main highway just to the north of the city. Our last stop was at another new market for me. This was Kong Khong Market, which is to the south of the city in Bang Pa-in District. It is open Friday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is a good market but I don’t think it is worth a special trip.

GPS Coordinates:

A – Sian Chang Market @14.36102,100.59285
B – Pang Chang @14.360677011506,100.59301093254
C – Ayothaya Floating Market @14.358730701036,100.59332569577
D – Million Toy Museum @14.360373,100.552834
E – Elephant Kraal @14.376788439663,100.56908769312
F – Elephant Homestay @14.378711108645,100.56977433862
G – Reclining Buddha @14.355425209351,100.55247576323
H – Roti Sai Mai Road @14.343986,100.562729
I – Rim Nam Restaurant @14.370748,100.612602
J – Kong Khong Market @14.283825,100.576256

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