I have been to Ayutthaya a number of times. Sometimes by myself and sometimes taking friends. Every time, I go to the same old places; temples, ruins and a museum. It is an historical city and very different to other holiday destinations such as Pattaya and Chiang Mai. It is only an hour or so away from Bangkok and so it is an easy day trip. You can go there by bus or train and once there you can rent a bicycle. I was back there at the weekend with a friend, but this time to see two new attractions.
The first attraction was Ayutthaya Klong Sa Bua Floating Market and Water Theater [MAP]. In Thai it is called ตลาดน้ำอยุธยาคลองสระบัว. This is found just north of the old city not too far from Wat Na Phra Men. It is not your traditional kind of floating market. The name is a bit misleading. It is more of a “Dinner Theatre” experience that you sometimes get in Bangkok. There are some food vendors on boats like you can see in this picture, but most have set up normal stalls.
Despite it being the weekend, there weren’t that many people here. When you arrive you have two choices. First choice is to buy a ticket just to watch the Water Theatre. Adults are 50 baht and children 30 baht. The second choice is Dinner Theatre and the buffet. Regular price is 199/119 Baht or 119/99 Baht if you turn up after 2:30 p.m. This is excellent value for money as you are allowed to eat all day. All prices are the same for Thais and foreigners.
In this picture you can see why they call it Water Theatre. It is basically a large pond surrounded on three sides by bamboo buildings on stilts. When you arrive, you are told where to sit depending on which ticket you bought. We decided not to go for the buffet meal as it was too early for lunch. But, we still had an opportunity to buy some of the Thai food on offer. We sat at tables and watched the show while we ate some snacks. The actors walk on pathways just below the surface making it look like they are walking on water. Signs by the edge warn you that the water is really 3 meters deep.
The floating market is only open at the weekend and on public holidays. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There are five scheduled shows in one day. What I didn’t realize at first is that each show is different. The first one is at 11 a.m. and this is followed by four more shows at 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. So, if you like, you can stay all day to watch as many shows as you like. Not only that, they have a rotation of about a dozen different shows so if you come back again, the chances are high that you will see something new.
We enjoyed the two shows that we watched. We had about half an hour between them but we spent that time buying and eating some more snacks. I would have liked to stay for a third show but we had a few more stops to go on this trip. I think the floating market makes a nice break from the ancient ruins and I highly recommend for you to come here. Maybe it would work out well if you saw a few temples first thing in the morning and then come here for a buffet lunch and a couple of shows and then back to more temples and ruins in the afternoon.
A couple of things that I want to mention about this place is that firstly it is wheelchair friendly. Secondly, the staff seem to be very honest. As well as some snacks, I bought an ice coffee. A little while later, one of the staff came over and said that they had forgotten to give us a coupon for a free iced coffee. As I had bought one already she just gave me my 20 baht back. That honesty was unexpected. And it also made the Water Theatre even more good value as the show was then 30 baht as I got a free ice coffee.