AHEC Special Tour to Ayutthaya
We are offering an optional sightseeing trip to Ayutthaya on Sunday, December 11. The tour will be lead by Dr. Dhiravat na Pombejra, a well-known local historian and retired professor. The tour will focus on the history of foreign trade and international diplomacy during the Ayutthaya Period (1351-1767).
The tour fee of 2,500 baht (payable in cash at the conference check-in) will cover transportation, lunch, and tour guide. The tour will leave at 8:30am and return to Bangkok at 6:00pm in time for many evening flights.
Please sign up for the tour here.
Dr. Dhiravat na Pombejra
Dhiravat na Pombejra obtained his PhD from SOAS (University of London). Before retirement, he taught at the Department of History, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, for 21 years. He has published books and articles on 17th and 18th century Siam, as well as edited Dutch and English sources on Ayutthaya history.
8:30 Leave Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Economics, and a direct journey to Ayuthaya (approximately 76 kms form Bangkok).
10:00 Upon your arrival at the 500-year old Pom Petch fort, the only remaining fort out of a total 29 ones. It is very close to Suwandararam temple and was built in the shape of hexagon and made of laterite and bricks. Additionally being erected at the confluence of Pa Sak and Chao Phraya rivers, it used to be a flourishing trading port and an area where immigrants of Chinese, Holland and French resided. It was actually built to be a guarding port from any invading foreigners.
10:30 Continue onto Ratchaburana temple, which is just opposite of Wat Mahathat and should be considered as its twin. It was founded in 1424 and considered to be the most important temple built by King Boromaja II, the 7th Ayuthaya King, at his two elder brothers’ cremation site. The two brothers had fought to their deaths in a duet for the royal succession to their father Inthararacha.
11:00 A short distance journey and you will next arrive at the Chao Sam Phraya Museum on Rochana Road, opposite the city wall. It houses various antique bronze Buddha images and famous carved panels and different kings of Buddhist altars. A receptacle at the Thai Pavilion contains relics of Lord Buddha and objects of art more than 500 years old. (Tentative depending on Museum reopening date.)
12:00 Depart the museum and a drive to Kantary Hotel, where you will enjoy a Thai lunch.
13:30 Your next visit will be the former Japanese settlement, which is presently a site of the peaceful park and history museum and is situated on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River in an area called Ko Rian. It is one kilometer along the river and and extends approximately 1⁄2 kilometer inland. Estimated number of Japanese population at that time was around 1,500.
Opposite to the Japanese trading post and where it is bordered by rivers canals on the other three sides, your next stop will be at the old Portuguese settlement. Covering of an area over half a kilometer, it was estimated to be the largest Western community at that time. Portugal was the first western nation, which came in contact and developed friendly relations with Ayuthaya during the reign of King Rama Thibodi II (1491-1529). With approximately 3,000 population, most of them were merchants, shipbuilders and militia, there are 3 Roman Catholic churches, namely Church of San Pedro for the Dominican sect, the Church of San Paolo for the Jesuit sect and a church for the Franciscan sect.
Off the City Island of Ayuthaya, you will then visit the St. Joseph’s Church in the south area in Samphao Lom Sub-district. It used to be the center of the Vicariate Apostolic of Siam for a whole century (1666-1767).
Later, a short distance and you will visit the Wat Phutthaisawan, a historic Thai Buddhist temple and is a part of Ayuthaya Historical Park. Of over 600 years old, it was built in 1353 AD (715 CS) by King Ramathibodi I at the royal residence of ‘Wiang Lek’, the site where the first settled before establishing Ayuthaya as the capital city in 1350. Believed to likely be constructed by the large number of enslaved Khmer inhabitants, who were forcibly removed from Angkor to Ayuthaya at that time, it was one of the first temples being erected and had a preaching hall and a great holy reliquary.
15:30 Last but not the least, your final stop will be at one of Ayuthaya’s most impressive temples and is in Khmer style, Wat Chaiwatthanaram. This is a royal temple and was used by the King and other royal members. The temple was constructed in 1630 by King Prasat Thong and was one of the grandest monuments of the Ayuthaya kingdom at the time. Various canon balls and canons were found after an excavations was carried out in the area. Historians believe that the temple may have been used as a fortress during the last war with Myanmar.
16:00 Leaving Ayuthaya and head back to Bangkok.
18:00 Arriving back to Bangkok at a designated point.