What makes these cities special is the numerous old ruins and temples that one can visit here. Moreover, these cities are on the same path travelling by train or bus, so they are easy to reach.
The city of Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is only 80 kilometers from Bangkok, so by train it only takes around two hours. The city can be visited in a day or two. You can enjoy the city either by tuk-tuk or by renting a bike.
Ayutthaya used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Siam between the 14th and the 17th century, until Burmeses destroyed the city, and so the capital moved to Bangkok. Featuring numerous temples and statues, the city is now a historical park and classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. There are about 15 sites to visit, including the famous detached Buddha head in a fig tree that every backpacker has shared on his instagram. I admit I did it too.
A magical moment with elephants
While I was over there, I befriended my tuk-tuk driver while he was showing me some of the famous temples of the city. The next day I asked him to show me something different and more typical. I was not enjoying anymore visiting temples to get the same picture than any other tourist. It was a weird request for him. At first, he was still driving me to other temples.
Finally, he took me to an elephant farm where I spent the whole day with the caretakers. Of course, as the Lonely Planet doesn’t mention it, there wasn’t a single tourist to be found. Instead, there were 4 baby elephants just a few days old. This is the most beautiful memory I have of Ayutthaya.
Be careful! When you visit the temples in the city, you can do elephant tour. Don’t do it! Unfortunately, they are mistreated. Don’t support this. If you really like pachyderms, choose to spend a moment in a farm or refugee.
My opinion about Ayutthaya
Despite this magical moment spent with elephants, Ayutthaya is not a stop I would highly recommend. Temples are ok, but they are not magical. The ones in Sukkhotai or Chiang Mai are much more charming. Also if you plan to visit other countries of Asia, temples of Burma and Cambodgia are the most impressive. Then, it’s a flat area, so landscapes are not amazing.
Obviously, if you are a fan of history and archeology, then yes, go ahead.
Where to stay?
I went there a long time ago, and I don’t remember the name of my hotel. I just remember it was close to the train station. The hotel was ok and the price ridiculous.