|AYUTTHAYA SOUTHERN BICYCLE TRACK 6
|This bicycle tour highlights old foreign settlements and important historical sites south of Ayutthaya’s main city island. This culturally diverse area will
introduce you to a potpourri of churches, mosques and monasteries. The route tends to be peaceful and quiet with limited traffic, making it ideal for
those wanting to get off-the-beaten track for some natural scenery as well. This southern area is shaped by the borders of Khlong Takhian and the
Chao Phraya River and split into two parts by Khlong Khu Cham.
The western section was inhabited by the Cochin Chinese - mostly Christian communities of Tonkinese, Annamese and Cochin Chinese. This is
where the French made their quarters in the 17th century. The French referred to Khlong Takhian as "Canal du Grand Cochon", and they established
a church at its upper mouth. The French settlement was dominated by priests and thus focused more on religion than trade. Mon refugees settled in
the area on the opposite side of the canal.
The eastern section was populated by the Chinese (around Bang Kaja) and the trading community of the “Portugals”, which included three
neighborhoods with churches along the west bank of the Chao Phraya. In addition, the eastern section included Buddhist temples pre-dating the
foundation of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which have yielded relics dating to the late-Dvaravati period.
Muslims had foreign settlements throughout the area. The southern part was occupied by the Malay and Pattani Muslims, who also had
neighborhoods and markets in the north along the Chao Phraya River. Opposite Khlong Takhian, on its south bank, was the location of the
Makassarese refugees before they were killed for uprising against the throne. Cham Muslims from Cambodia and Vietnam lived beside Khlong Khu
Cham (known as "Le Canal du Petit Cochon" by the French). In addition, Muslims from Persia and India settled in this area as well. These Muslims
communities were sometimes collectively labeled as Moors by early Westerners.
The tour will take 4-5 hours depending on the time spent at each location point. Riders may not want to stop at every highlight listed on this tour
itinerary. A few sites have been listed more for the sake of smoother navigation. Individual cyclists can choose where to stop according to their own
tastes and time constraints.
Historical signboard in situ is marked as (*)
Entry fee required is marked as ($)