Ayutthaya Sacred Experience
|Meeting Point||A designated point near Mochit Bus Terminal (given after reservation)|
|End Point||Mochit BTS Station|
|Duration||Up to 8 hours|
|Physical Level||Moderate - this experience involves short-distance walking around sites in the sun|
|Cultural Rating||Moderate - a good balance of cultural interactions, history and site-seeing|
|Ages||18+ (younger must be accompanied by an adult - babies 2 years old or younger may join for free)|
|Group Size||Private - Max 6 people per booking|
Itinerary for visiting the Ayutthaya Historical Park, Temples and Meditation Lesson
After joining your guide at the designated meeting point (given to you after making your reservation, you will travel towards one of the most important places in Thailand, the Ayutthaya Historical Park! The journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is roughly 1-1.5 hours, depending on traffic. We are arriving early, though it may still be busy! While most guides will just go over some of the basic site features, we will take you deeper while exploring the ancient ruins and their relevance to modern Thai culture and beliefs, including the origins of the Ramakien, which is the foundation of Thai Buddhism. Looking at paintings of the Ramakien (the story of Buddha on which modern Thai culture is based upon). This city is rich in history, as it was once the capital of Siam for more than 400 years, before being sacked by the Burmese. This tour of these breathtaking monuments reveals a hidden history of cruelty and persecution.
Before we get into the temple hopping, we will start your sacred experience with a brief lesson in Thai Buddhist meditation. Meeting with a monk, you will be taught how and why it is used commonly throughout Thailand. Having this time with a monk will also open the floor to ask some other questions which may be on your mind, to help understand Thai culture on a more intimate level.
From here we will begin your tour through the historic park of Ayutthaya. Though not really a park, this sleepy island town is filled with history and wonder. The sites we will visit will include Wat Phra Si Sanphet (home of the famous Buddha head, intertwined with tree roots), Wat Lokkayasutharam's “Reclining Buddha” and Boran Palace (Wang Luang) “The Rear Palace” Royal residence. These sites are amongst the most important in Ayutthaya, if not in Thailand's history, and are a highlight for many guests' journey to Thailand.
While visiting Wang Luang palace, you will also learn a very important practice in Thai Buddhism: How to pray and pay respect to the giant Buddha statues found in every temple across the country. You will learn how to "wai" (bowing with the hands in prayer position), and why this is done. This will not only give you a broader insight into what you'll experience in other parts of the country but probably win you some merit points with the locals you encounter as well!
In addition to this, we will also learn the Chinese tradition of how to pray with sacred sticks that give you a superstitious number. Thailand has a rich and diverse culture that has had many influences through the centuries. With Buddhism first being introduced from South Asia in a region now known as India and Sri Lanka, as well as many traditions and beliefs coming from the Far East, now known as China.
After some solid learning and site-seeing, we will now fill our bellies with some of the best food Ayutthaya has to offer. We can meet most dietary needs (vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, etc) - just let your guide know at the beginning of the tour.
Finally, to end our journey, we will take a boat ride around the ancient capital. The rivers split and form a natural moat which was used to protect the city from invaders for centuries, until its eventual demise. This will be a relaxing part of your journey to take in some of the natural beauty that surrounds this old sleepy town. You will witness extreme wealth, and dire poverty, which highlights some of the realities faced by every society. There is still evidence of some of the damage caused by the flooding of late 2011, as well as seeing some of the mighty temples that have stood the test of time along the riverbanks. You may even get to see some wildlife, as sightings of giant catfish and monitor lizards call these rivers home.
Please note: There is a Dress Code! Though not as strict as places such as the Grand Palace, there is still an expected dress code for visiting the temples and other sacred sites in Thailand. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple. Men must wear long shorts or pants (that cover your knees, at least) and shirts with sleeves - no sleeveless tops. Wearing sandals or flip-flops is perfectly ok, as you'll take them off whenever entering a temple. Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, no bare shoulders, knees covered, etc. It is also recommended to avoid wearing bright colours, though less strictly enforced.
What is included with the Ayutthaya Sacred Experience?
Your sacred experience includes:
- information provided before your experience to educate you and properly prepare you
- a specially trained and licensed English-speaking guide who will facilitate your experience
- transportation during the tour (minivan to Ayutthaya from Bangkok - about 1 hour each way - depends on traffic, tuk-tuks around the city, and a boat ride)
- translations with your monk/meditation instructor
- meal (includes a basic meal and non-alcoholic beverage)
- All Entrance Fees to the Temples and historic sites
- a special gift before the meditation
What is not included when on your Sacred Bangkok Experience?
- Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
- International flights
- Transportation (getting to and from the meeting and endpoints)
– Accommodation in Bangkok (we suggest Agoda for the best hotel rates)
- Alcoholic beverages (not recommended before entering sacred places)
- Gratuities and tips
- Spending money if you wish to purchase additional souvenirs or items.
Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation
Every TRiP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% (or $1/day per day, per person - whichever is greater) to an environmental or community-based project in the country you're visiting. We want to ensure that every guest we help, in turn, helps support and preserve the destination we're experiencing together as a direct result. We live by an ethos to Travel Responsibly & Impact Positively (TRiP).
For more information on the projects supported by this experience, please visit our Thailand TRIP projects.