This bicycle tour has been designed to present some of the seldom seen ruins hiding inside of urbanized areas of Ayutthaya’s main city island. These historic sites can be found at government offices, public schools, private businesses, and residential zones. Guidebooks and travel agencies rarely promote them, and even locals can be quite surprised to discover such ruins near their neighborhood. It is easy to drive by these sites without noticing they exist. Therefore, the fun of this particular biking route includes your effort in spotting them from their hiding places.
Ayutthaya is a living city that has risen, like the mythological Phoenix bird, from the ashes of an ancient kingdom. Burmese invaders destroyed Ayutthaya in 1767 and forced thousands of local residents to relocate to Burma as war captives. Historic sites such as former Buddhist monasteries crumbled into ruins for decades afterward. However, a modern city population gradually returned to the area and established a new city. They constructed schools for their children, hospitals for their sick, police stations for their protection, and government offices for administration. New neighborhoods sprouted up around ancient temple whose names had been forgotten.
Unfortunately, brick walls and fortresses were torn down to help build the new capital in Bangkok. Many of the ancient sites in Ayutthaya were further destroyed and old canals buried to construct roads for the city’s prolific motor traffic. As a result of this damage, the Thai government decided to launch a master plan to protect the country’s national heritage in Ayutthaya, which was registered with UNESCO in 1991 as a World Heritage Site. Approximately 221 historical structures in Ayutthaya have been registered as cultural heritage sites, and a large number of these ruins are highly concentrated in the Ayutthaya Historical Park, which covers 1/3 of the city island. However, the other 2/3 of the main city island is also full of historic sites that have fallen into ruin. These are worth protecting and appreciating as well. This bike tour has been designed to raise consciousness about these little-known historic sites and to advocate that they also be shielded from unchecked urban growth.
The tour will take 5-6 hours depending on the time spent at each location point. A few highlights on this itinerary have been listed more for the sake of smoother navigation and referencing, although they may also appeal to many cyclists as points of interest. Individual cyclists can choose where to stop according to their own tastes and time constraints. None of the historic sites listed on this route charge any admission fees.
If you are interested in viewing photographs of the temples in advance or would like additional historic information about these ruins, visit this website.
Markings: Historical signboard in situ is marked as (*) Entry fee required is marked as ($)