Ayutthaya Sunset Ride is a 3-4 hour bicycle excursion through Ayutthaya ‘by night’. During Ayutthaya Sunset Ride we explore the former capital of Thailand, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, at night.
After sunset, the ruins and temples in the ancient capital are beautifully illuminated by spotlights from the ground contrasting with the pitch-black sky. With the explanations of the guide, you can imagine how beautiful Ayutthaya’s temples and how powerful the Thai kings of Ayutthaya were before its destruction by the Burmese army in 1767.
As soon as we have selected a bicycle we ride to the pier where we board a ferry to cross the Pa Sak River. Once we arrived on the other side we cycle through Chao Phrom market, the most famous local market in Ayutthaya.
We then cycle along Chankasem Palace, nowadays a National Museum, the old prison and Hua Ro market before we arrive at Bang Ian Night Market. We park our bicycles and walk over this busy night market with lots of vendors selling clothes and, of course, food! We have our ‘appetizer’ here and get a glimpse of the local nightlife.
The sun has set now and we cross the road to Wat Mahathat, one of the most famous temple complexes in Ayutthaya Historical Park. Wat Mahathat, a royal monastery, once served as the seat of the Sangaraja, the head of the Buddhist monks.
We continue our spectacular evening bike ride and pass the illuminated Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Phra Ram. Of course we can stop to make some pictures. The next impressive temple where we make a stop is Wat Phra Si Sanphet which was built in several phases in the 15th and 16th century. It was located inside the compound of the Grand Palace and served as a royal chapel.
After the Burmese conquered Ayutthaya the temple was sacked and mostly destroyed; all that remained were the three chedis which contain the ashes of three Ayutthaya kings.
It’s time for our dinner, so we stop at a local restaurant where the guide will order some delicious Thai dishes.
After dinner we get on our bike again and continue exploring Ayutthaya. We cycle over the bridge to cross the Chao Phraya river and we can already see the illuminated ruins of the magnificent Wat Chaiwattanaram in the distance. A couple of minutes later we are standing in front of this stunning temple complex, wonderfully lit up at night.
Wat Chaiwattanaram was built in 1630 by King Prasat Thong to honor his mother, featuring the architectural style influenced by the Angkor temple in Cambodia. The moon, shining brightly high up in the dark sky, makes this amazing temple look even more magical!
Before we return to our office we make a last stop at Wat Lokayasutharam to make a picture of the huge reclining Buddha, the biggest in Ayutthaya.
While cycling back we pass the enlightened Ayutthaya City Pillar, or Lak Muang’. People visit the city pillar to make offerings and pray for good fortune, pregnancy and other favours.
We arrive at our office again where this amazing Ayutthaya Sunset bicycle adventure ends.
Due to renovations to the electricity grid in Ayutthaya, it might be possible that some temples won’t be enlightened (until October 2018).