Ayutthaya contains several interesting temples. Many of them were ruined by the Burmese and you can still see the black smoke on the walls. If you are tired of the traffic and noise of Bangkok, take a day trip to see historical sites of this city.
Visiting 9 temples in 1-day trip is a popular activity for Thai people, as most of them are Buddhists.
Why 9 temples? Nine is an auspicious number in Thai culture because it pronounces as “Kao” which means “to progress, to advance, to prosper”. They believe that the worship they show to the Buddha at 9 sacred temples will bring good things to their life.
We started our trip by buying tickets at Bang Khen Bus Terminal. It cost 359 baht per person. The 9 temples trip by BMTA bus is only available on Thai holidays and there are usually many Thai joining it so it’s better to come and buy your ticket early.
Leaving from Bangkok.
1. Wat Klang Khlong Takhian : วัดกลางคลองตะเคียน
Our first stop of the day was at Wat Klang Khlong Takhian. In every temple we went, there was the Monk Blessing Ceremony. The monk will give a blessing with a light sprinkle of holy water.
Once you walk into the temple, you will see these Buddha sculptures first.
Wat Klang Khlong Takhian, commonly by the local Thai people known as Wat Klang Pak Kran, is located in Pak Khan Sub-district, just about 500 meters south of the Chao Phraya River. The temple was built in the early Ayutthaya period, together with Wat Nak (วัดนาค), which presently is deserted. By 1767 many temples were abandoned because of the war. Wat Klang Khlong Takhian was another ruined temple but in 1887 it was renovated and developed respectively. The most sacred ancient amulet of Wat Klang Khlong Takhian is called Phra Somdej Kring Khlong Takhian.
2. Wat Tha Karong : วัดท่าการ้อง
Wat Tha Karong, meaning the "Monastery of the Landing of the Crying Crow", is an active temple in Ayutthaya, located next to the Chao Praya River.
The main Buddha image of the temple which is very respected by Buddhists is called Phra Buddha Rattana Mongkol. Some older monastic structures still can be seen here, even if there is Wat Tha Karong Floating Market in front of the temple.
3. Wat Salapoon Worawiham : วัดศาลาปูนวรวิหาร
We had a quick stop at Wat Salapoon Worawiham. This temple is a second-class royal temple, located at Tha Wasukri District, along the canal. The temple itself is not that big, but there are classic monastic buildings, the ordination hall and Late Ayutthaya style Chedi in the premises of it.
4. Wat Racha Praditsathan : วัดราชประดิษฐาน
Wat Racha Praditsathan is located on U-Thong Road. The temple was built in the Ayutthaya era. There are no evidences of who exactly built the temple but it was mentioned several times that it might be built by the King because the name of this temple means "The temple was built by the King". It was also the residence of the monarch and the royal family.
The ordination hall has the Buddha image known as Somdet Phra Borom Trai Lokkanat.
After we paid respect to the monk and Buddha image here, we had some time to walk around and had our lunch at this temple.
5. Wat Mae Nang Plum : วัดแม่นางปลื้ม
Next temple we visited was Wat Mae Nang Plum, which is situated in the northern part of Ayutthaya in Hua Ro sub-district. During the war, the temple wasn’t ruined too much like other temples because the Burmese troops used this temple as a base of their cannons firing into the city walls.
You will see the pure white Buddha image called "Luang Por Kao" here.
6. Wat Na Phra Men : วัดหน้าพระเมรุ
Next stop is Wat Na Phra Men. Wat Na Phra Men is another ancient temple, built in the early Ayutthaya period. It is located along the canal. The temple is still in good condition because the ordination hall (the ubosot) was not destroyed when Ayutthaya was defeated by Burmese troops in 1767.
This temple contains a number of old and famous Buddha Images, in different art styles and structures.
7. Wat Klang Khlong Sa Bua : วัดกลางคลองสระบัว
Wat Klang Khlong Sa Bua is situated in Khlong Sa Bua district in Ayutthaya. The temple has several hundred year old Buddha statues. “Luang Pho Than Jai” is one of the most significant Buddha statues, which is over 300 years old. Luang Pho Than Jai is the name of Buddha image which is believed by people to have the power to fulfill their wishes if praying to Buddha for blessing or something else.
Donating roof tiles is another way to make a donation to the temple. You can donate 10 baht for each tile, but you can give more if you wish.
We also had a quick meal and some Thai snacks here. They were provided by the temple and given to everyone coming to pay respect at the temple.
8. Wat Mongkhon Bophit : วัดมงคลบพิตร
Wat Mongkhon Bophit is situated just south of Wat Phra Si Sanphet. It is a place where the big Buddha image called "Phra Mongkhon Bophit" is situated.
Phra Mongkhon Bophit is one of the biggest Buddha images in Thailand. The width of this Buddha image is 9.55 m and the height of it without the base is 12.45 m.
This temple became the center of Ayutthaya tourism. You will see many people visiting and worshiping the Buddha image all day long. In addition, you can buy souvenirs and amulets in the area.
9. Wat Phanan Choeng : วัดพนัญเชิงวรวิหาร
Wat Phanan Choeng is located at the south-eastern side of the Chao Phraya and Pa Sak rivers. You can take a boat ride for just a few baht from the center of Ayutthaya to Wat Phanan Choeng Pier. It is a Buddhist temple in the city of Ayutthaya, built in 1324, 26 years before the establishment of Ayutthaya as the capital city.
Wat Phanan Choeng is another busy temple as it’s a popular tourist attraction. Many Thai and Chinese people come to worship the Buddha image here. The Buddha image was called “Phra Buddha Chao Phanan Choeng" or "Phra Buddha Trirattana Nayok”. Local Thais call it "Luang Pho Tho". It’s made of bricks and mortar and covered with stucco. Buddha sits in the Mara Vichaya pose. The image is approximately 14 meters in width and 19 meters in height.
Here you can also find the shrine of "Chao Mae Soi Dok Mak", built in Chinese architectural style, which is located in the building next to the Vihan of Luang Pho Tho.
Coming back to Bangkok.
Traditionally, Thai people join this activity during holidays such as Songkran festival, New Year Day, Chinese New Year or even birthday with the hope for a new start with good luck. In our opinion, taking this trip is worth to do for a Buddhist. It’s very convenient to go to 9 temples and get a monk blessing at all temples. There are also tours like this in Bangkok and you can join them too.