|SUGGESTED ITINERARY (3)
(Ayutthaya: Mid-day Day 1 - 1700 Day 2 [or Day 3 Itinerary 3A Option])
Ayutthaya - Wat Phananchoeng - Wat Chaiwatthanaram - Wat Kassitthirat - Wat Pa Mok (Overnight)
(Itinerary 3A: Wat Pa Mok - Ang Thong - Chaiyo Township (Transfer to 'Longtail Boat') - Wat Chaiyo - (Rejoin 'Montha' at Chaiyo) - Return to Wat Pa Mok (Overnight) Rejoin Itinerary 3) Wat Pa Mok - Chao Phraya Hut Resort - Wat Phuttaisawan - Ayutthaya
‡ ROUTE MAP
Duration: 2 Days
Description: Travel from Bangkok by car and explore the Ayutthaya World Heritage Site. Join 'Montha' at the Pea Tevaraj Floating Restaurant for lunch; either dine at the restaurant, or order from the restaurant's extensive Thai menu and dine on board.
Depart Ayutthaya for Pa Mok; stops along the way are in accordance with your wishes and time constraints.
Leave the Pea Tevaraj Restaurant and travel down the Pasak River to join the Chao Phraya River. Shortly after departing you arrive at the beautiful and revered temple of Wat Phananchoeng. The temple was built in 1300 and predates the Ancient Siamese capital. A huge gilded Buddha image is in the main hall and is said to have been built by a Chinese Emperor. In the grounds of the Wat, a Chinese shrine commemorates a Chinese princess who drowned in the river nearby. A visit to the temple is highly recommended and feeding the fish is a must.
After leaving Wat Phananchoeng, we cross the Bang Kacha Whirlpool where the Chao Phraya and Pasak rivers unite; then pass under the silent gun portals of Pom Phet, one of the fortresses which once defended the Ancient Siamese capital.
As we proceed in a westerly direction up the Chao Phraya, we come across the ancient temple of Wat Phut Thai Sawan. The old part is still in reasonable condition and contains a mixture of architectural styles; ancient stupas and chedis blend in with a more recent Khmer style prang. This becomes a backdrop to the western end of the wat , which features a more modern ornate Thai style viharn. A floating pontoon provides reasonable access to the wat from the vessel.
Further along the southern bank of the river lies the old French Roman Catholic Church, locally known as Wat Saint Yochep, (Saint Joseph's Cathedral). The ceiling of the church is in an unusual style, similar to the local Buddhist temples. Services are held Sundays. Access to the church from the boat is possible for reasonably agile persons.
Rounding a bend in the river, we come across the magnificent ruins of Wat Chaiwatthanaram. From the latter part of the Ayutthaya period this temple was built by a prince in memory of his mother. The style is Khmer to celebrate a victory over the Cambodians at the time. Although partially destroyed by the Burmese during the invasion of Ayutthaya, this temple has some remarkably well preserved features from the Ayutthaya period. Across the river, a palace belonging to Queen Sirikit nestles in secluded gardens.
Continuing up the river, we are greeted by the splendor of Wat Kassatthirat. Large floating wharves provide excellent access to the Wat from the boat.
Leaving Ayutthaya behind, the river winds its way northwards past tree lined banks; aquatic birds amuse themselves by flying slowly ahead of the boat, then re-alighting on some floating weed until we catch up, then flying on again. Eventually we reach the Chao Phraya Hut, a small resort on the eastern bank of the river. Built largely from timber salvaged from old teak rice-barges, is a peaceful retreat. Air-conditioned 'sala' style accommodation is available if a group is traveling on board; a simple restaurant and bar overlooks the river and is a pleasant place to stop for a while. Access is reasonable for agile persons. During high river levels, September to November, mooring may not be possible at this site.
Further up-river, we pass Khlong Phong Pheng, a natural waterway which leads to the Menam Noi, a river which flows in parallel with the Chao Phraya. The khlong is a pretty and quiet waterway; it is a consideration for the return journey. Again, during high river levels, September to November, Khlong Phong Pheng and the Menam Noi may not be navigable due to low bridges.
After a short cruise, we arrive at Wat Pa Mok to spend the night. This peaceful temple on the western bank of the Chao Phraya features a large reclining Buddha which dates from the Sukhothai period. In front of the temple is an interesting chedi with a boat shaped base, reflecting the past importance of boats in everyday Thai life. Take an evening stroll around the temple or enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the deck. Dinner is served on board in accordance with your selected menu. After dinner drinks are served whilst you catch up with the latest international news, enjoy music, a movie, or simply relax in the balmy tropical night.
At this point you have the option of inserting Itinerary 3A: Departing Wat Pa Mok in the morning, cruising up the river through the City of Ang Thong and on to the Chaiyo Township . Depending on river levels it is possible to continue to Wat Chaiyo Worawihan, however it may be necessary to transfer to the 'Longtail Boat' at Chaiyo to continue the remaining 6 kilometers to this famous temple. Return to Wat Pa Mok in the afternoon to spend the night.
The following morning, full breakfast of your choice is served at your convenience.
At this point, depending on river levels, you have the option of inserting Itinerary 3B: Returning to Ayutthaya via Khlong Phong Pheng and the Menam Noi River to Bang Sai, then up the Chao Phraya to Ayutthaya.
Or, inserting Itinerary 4B: Returning to Bangkok via Khlong Phong Pheng and the Menam Noi River to overnight at Wat Sala Daeng Nua, then continue to Bangkok the following day.
Itinerary 3 returns to Ayutthaya via the Chao Phraya River, stopping at points of interest you may have missed on the outbound journey, or places you may wish to revisit, depending on time constraints. Arrival time at Ayutthaya is approximately 12 noon.
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