By now, I think you have already guessed how much I love temples, art, ancient histories and ruins, especially when you look at the details. There is no other place offer nice temples hopping country like Thailand, with cheap, safe and comfortable transportation along the way, plus the food is super delicious. Don’t you agree? So I am writing some guidance of Best Temples in Thailand so you can follow my journey as well!
Thailand Temples Hopping Travel Guide and Tips
How did I do the temple hopping in Thailand? It’s so easy for solo travellers. Railway Train. Starting from Bangkok, I stopped by each city one by one to visit the temples until I reached the north of Thailand. Seriously, Thailand has a very organised and great service when it comes to transportation. A Thai girl whom we met on the train even said to us that she didn’t even have to pay for the train because it was free from the government to the local people. WOW! Oh, incase you are wondering the routes of the cities that I visited the temple hopping. Here you go:
My first stop was Ayutthaya. One of the UNESCO World Heritage in Thailand along with Sukhothai. Well, it was already my second time to visit Ayutthaya, but I loved so much spending time there, I figured I could come back again. This time, with my 2 beloved girlfriends whom I called “mama”. Plus it is so cheap to go by train. Only 15 Baht one way to Ayutthaya (IDR 5000!!!)
The green view with orange lush of bricks from the temple. The friendly smile from the locals, the night food market on the side of the temple, the old ruins of temples with the beautiful clean park, and of course, super safe. Everywhere you look, you can find lots of big parks with temple ruins, with no need to buy entrance ticket! (Well, except the historical one)
My suggestion is to find the farthest temple when you got the map from your hostel (All maps are the same!). The further the temple, the more conserved and protected and not many people wanted to go there. That’s what I learned from wandering off by myself 🙂I could spend the afternoon just getting lost in some big parks on the side of the city, riding my scooter, and just sleep on the grass near the temple. Watching the boys playing soccer, or just playing along with the someone’s pet. Don’t forget to bring your sarong and have a picnic here after bought the food from the night market! As Ayutthaya my favourite place, I will write more story in another post!
A very small city with charming ambience. When I say small, it is REALLY small. As I and Arma didn’t really need to rent any scooter to look around. We just dragged ourselves from the train station to this cute hostel around the corner. The next day we could just go around by walking finding the temples!Lopburi holds amazing histories about King Narai, the king who made Thailand a glorious country by opening the port to make the connection with our world centuries ago. I learnt more about the struggles of Thailand back then. It was so sad that we couldn’t take any photos from the museum, so we spent quite some time there learning and kept them in our mind (Yes we are also museum geeks). The Grand King Narai’s Palace was top notch. The view was so nice and thank God for the good weather!
Oh yes, this is also the place you should be aware of the monkey! They even invaded some old house on the street, where all of the baby monkeys and old one resides. The local people already getting used to it though. Not for me. I got hugged by them while I was drinking coffee! (Ugh! I really don’t like animals. Unpredictable creatures)
Phitsanulok – Sukhothai
If you were a big fan of Thailand movies, you would know right away about the Sukhothai Kingdom. That’s how I learned about the place. Oh, I am such a big movie freak. And a history geek too. I was so excited to have finally come to this place, as Sukhothai is the most well-preserved temple in Thailand. Our train stopped in a town called Phitsanulok, which remind me so much of Surabaya city in Indonesia. We have 2 options to go to Sukhothai, either spend the night in Phitsanulok and go to Sukhothai for a day trip, or we can go straight away to Sukhothai with public bus and sleep there. We chose the first option, as we arrived in Phitsanulok really late at night. We tried to find a hotel near the train station so that we don’t need to go far away to reach the train.
The next day we rent a motorbike to go to Sukhothai. And guess what? No automatic. Yes. I learned my first gear motorbike here.Did I already say that the journey to Sukhothai was long? 2 hours by motorbike and just go straight from Phitsanulok. Note this too: It was HIGHWAY. Yeah, I drove the gear motorcycle first time on a highway. And we couldn’t even find other motorbikes. So it was just us! 2 crazy girls in search of more temples. We were like, “Are we going wrong?” But the GPS said otherwise. So we kept on going. Arma could even tell that I was so nervous that my shoulder got so tense from my back. Ah well. Unbelievable I know, but we made it alive and safe! Yay!
Sukhothai was superb! So freaking big. Like literally BIG PARK with lots of amazing beautiful temples. And not crowded at all! Oh man! We were like kids got so excited finding a new playground. I guess lots of them prefer to skip this place as it is a bit far away from their routes. But I would really recommend it for anyone who loves the temple as much as we do!
It’s definitely how I imagined temple in Thailand would be. Sukhothai Heritage Park has so many temples and lots of big statues of Buddha with their heads still on (Woohoo!). Don’t forget the majestic garden and a beautiful lake on the side. People in Sukhothai still come to the Buddha Statue to pray, give flowers, and burn essence. I couldn’t even describe it with words. So just check out the photos!Stunning yes? I have thousand of more photos of Sukhothai and couldn’t even choose which one I want to feature in this post. Ha! Getting lost in the temples of Sukhothai was enjoyable. After we were tired of clicking our camera and took many wefie, we finally decided to relax and take a break on the grass and have some picnic again! (Yes!)
Last stop of our temple hopping journey before continuing to Pai, was Chiangmai. Chiangmai is a more modern city, and everyone I met told me that it reminds them of Ubud, with lots of cute small cafes. Well. It does. But for me, it was nothing special. As I only came here to find the temples only. But the Tapai Gate was stunning! The Gate used to protect the city back then, and it still remains strong.
I decided to walk around the city the first day I stepped in. The temples were already developed more, it shows how fast it is the city grow. But there was one temple that has a big old lush, sort of like pyramid, on the back. I guess that was the only highlight temple in Chiangmai that I really like.
Religion is something that human build. I believe in God, I believe in praying, I believe in destiny. Don’t worry, I believe in my faith too. Human pray and beg to differ with so many forms, one of them is building a holy place which people call them “temple”, “mosque”, “church” and so on. What amaze me is that people from centuries ago has lived their life within those holy places. No matter what kind of belief they had, it was still an unbelievable historical moments.
Witnessing these majestic place with beautiful view was such a big blessing. Can you imagine the time when they don’t even have any modern, simple and easy tools, like we have now, and they still built it for the sake of their faith? Human’s will is so damn powerful to create something that will last through time. We should be grateful as we are still able to witness the greatness of it. It has nothing to do with your chosen beliefs. History is best learnt for any kind of generation. Respect history. Respect other beliefs. Respect people. Protect the heritage.
© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.