Explore Ayutthaya

World heritage ancient capital of Thailand

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    The UNESCO world heritage site Ayutthaya, gives an insight into the former glory of this former capital city. Dating back to the 13th century, what’s left of this ancient city is a scattering of temples, ruins and canals which were once the major centre of trade for Europeans and Asians.

    Originally part of the Khmer empire before the Siamese pushed back and conquered the Khmer establishing independence. Founded in 1350, but it did not become a thriving city until 1378 while it remained the centre of cosmopolitan trade for the next 400 years until it was overthrown and destroyed by the Burmese. Known as Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya or simply the Ayutthaya Historical Park, the area comprises four main temples along with the Royal Palace and Wihan Phra Mongkol Bophit. Exploring the site is like stepping back in time into lost worlds and uncovering the fascinating history of what once was.

    Main temples in Ayutthaya Thailand:

    Wat Phra Si Sanphet was once the Royal Monastery from 1350 – 1448 inside the walls of the collapsed Royal Palace. Whats remains of the temple are just three chedis that are believed to have housed the royal remnants of three of the Ayutthaya Kings.

    Wat Mahathat was the royal ceremonial ground for both religious and non-religious affairs before it was replaced with Wat Phra Si Sanphet. Built before the city became the thriving Siamese capital, the Khmer-style temple boasts one main prang which has since crumbled. A mini casket was discovered inside the prang containing Buddha’s relics which can now be found on public display in the Chao Sam Phraya Museum. This temple also one of the most photographed icons of Ayutthaya,- a Buddha’s head entangled within the roots of a banyan tree.

    Wat Phra Ram was a monastery constructed in Khmer-style with of a central tower surrounded by four corner towers, similar to architectural concepts within the Angkor Archeological Park.

    Wat Ratchaburana was built in 1424 by King Borommarachathirat II as a memorial to his two elder brothers. Its construction follows Angkorian concepts with a large central Khmer style prang symbolizing the revered Mount Meru, which is considered to be the universe in Buddhist and Hindu mythology. The prang is surrounded by four smaller towers and a gallery enclosing a courtyard. Items that were looted from the crypts were eventually recovered and can be viewed at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.

    Wihan Phra Mongkol Bophit is a preaching hall that houses the Phra Mongkon Bophit Buddha 13 metre high Bronze image, one of the few statues that survived the Burmese invasion in 1767.

    A great way to discover the area is on a river cruise with a long-tail boat to explore Ayutthaya’s scenic riverside. Travel like the locals centuries before, navigating through narrow canals to reach temples and attractions located further inland. You can arrange a charter long-tail from Pom Phet Pier, Wat Phanunchoeng Pier or near Chantara Kasem National Museum.

    Another option is a self-guided tour at your own pace, cycling around the historical park to fully appreciate the temples and palaces that once belonged to the largest and most prosperous empires of its time. At twilight, the city lights up and visitors can enjoy a magical night ride.

    How to get to Ayutthaya

    From Bangkok to Ayutthaya, you can take a train from either MRT Subway Station Mochit or the BTS Skytrain Station Mochit to get to the northeastern bus terminal where there are several buses heading to Ayutthaya.

    For a scenic route through the Thai countryside, you can catch a train from Hualamphong train station in Bangkok which will take approximately 2.5 hours to reach the station near Ayutthaya Historical Park. From there you can take a tuk-tuk or taxi to the ruins.

    Another option is to take a public minivan from Bangkok. These 12 seater vans make several stops along the way and are an inexpensive means of transport. While other visitors prefer the convenience and luxury of a private Ayutthaya tour. The itinerary is set with an English-speaking guide and transportation is all-inclusive from Bangkok.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Ayutthaya Thailand worth visiting?

    The Ayutthaya ruins and ancient city give an insight into the former glory of this former capital. Originally part of the Khmer empire before the Siamese pushed back and conquered the Khmer establishing independence. Founded in 1350, but it did not become a thriving city until 1378 while it remained the centre of cosmopolitan trade for the next  400 years until it was overthrown and destroyed by the Burmese.  Known as Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya or simply the Ayutthaya Historical Park, the area comprises four main temples along with the Royal Palace and Wihan Phra Mongkol Bophit.

    What is Ayutthaya famous for?

    Visitors will be amazed by the rich ancient history to be discovered in the 13th century Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya world heritage site with it’s Khmer influences. Ayutthaya history extends through many centuries and conflicts which have influenced the architecture of the buildings and monuments.

    How old is Ayutthaya?

    According to UNESCO, the former Siamese kingdom capital city, Ayutthaya,  dates back to the 13th century.

    How long do you need in Ayutthaya, Thailand?

    From one day up to a few days would be enough time to explore the Ayutthaya temples and their surrounds.

    Why is Ayutthaya a tourist attraction in Thailand?

    About two hours by train from central Bangkok, you can visit the world heritage listed ancient ruins of the former capital city of Siam from 1350-1767 known as Ayutthaya. 

    How can I see Ayutthaya in one day?

    The easiest way is to join a day guided tour who will cover all the main temples and points of interest.
    For a faster and more fun tour, try a river cruise with a long-tail boat to explore  Ayutthaya’s scenic riverside. Travel like the locals centuries before, navigating through narrow canals to reach temples and attractions located further inland. You can arrange a charter long-tail from Pom Phet Pier, Wat Phanunchoeng Pier or near Chantara Kasem National Museum.
    Another option is a self-guided tour at your own pace, cycling around the historical park to fully appreciate the temples and palaces that once belonged to the largest and most prosperous empires of its time. At twilight, the city lights up and visitors can enjoy a magical night ride.

    Do you need to book in advance to visit the Historic City of Ayutthaya?

    You can book tours of the historical park in advance but if you are self-touring, there is no need to book in advance. The entrance to the park is free but there are separate entrance fees to some of the temples within the site.

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