April 2015. Packed with ruined palaces and ancient crumbling temples, Ayuthaya Historical Park is a fascinating wonderland documenting the grandeur of the ancient kingdom of Siam. Picking up a bicycle from one of the many rental shops in town, I spent an amazing day exploring the faded majesty of one Thailand’s most fascinating sites. The first ruins I came across that day were those of Wat Phra Ram, a temple complex built in the late 1360s on the cremation site of Ayuthaya’s first king, U Thong.
April 2015. As with many of the ruins in Ayuthaya Historical Park, Wat Phra Ram is an enchanting mix of decomposing archways, pagodas, towers and weathered statues. Best of all, I had its leafy grounds all to myself as I wondered around. This headless Buddha statue receives a steady flow of floral tributes and gifts from Thai visitors.
April 2015. I’ve since read that Wat Phra Ram often gets passed by in favor of the park’s more popular spots, such as Wat Mahathat and Wat Lokayasutharam. But if you’ve got the time and the inclination, a visit here reaps great rewards. Rest a while in the shade under the many trees and seek out those hidden nooks like this tiny arched chamber guarded by a cheerful Buddha head.
April 2015. There are a handful of very cool prangs (towers) dotted about Wat Phra Ram. In most cases you can trot up the stone steps but it’s difficult to duck inside thanks to expertly placed safety bars.
April 2015. Wat Phra Ram’s main tower is a high one and it’s great fun to haul yourself up its layered levels for sweeping views over the ruins and the park beyond. Getting this shot was a real struggle. I’d stupidly left my sunglasses back at the guesthouse and the sun was positively blinding!
Wat Phra Ram is just one site in Ayuthaya Historical Park. The key 9 sites are spread out over a massive area, so it’s much better to take it in by bike rather than solely on foot, especially during the summer when temperatures are stifling! I paid about 80THB for my bike (£1.95/€2.25/$2.55) while the park itself is free to enter. Just simply pay as you enter each part; it’s 50THB (£1.20/€1.40/$1.60) to get into Wat Phra Ram, which is the going rate for Ayuthaya’s bigger ruins.
For more on the ruins of ancient Siam, check out my other articles from Ayuthaya Historical Park.
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