The charm of ancient city of Ayutthaya Thailand continues to gain tourists’ attention as a historic attraction. Not only the old moments but also the new things that shine.
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya has 16 districts which are Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Nakhon Luang, Phachi, Ban Phraek, Bang Sai (บางซ้าย), Bang Sai (บางไทร), Lat Bua Luang, Bang Ban, Mana Rat, Bang Pahan, Sena, Uthai, Bang Pa-in, Phak Hai, Tha Ruea, and Wang Noi. The province is only 76 kilometers away from Bangkok. This makes it easy to take a one-day trip for those who have limited time for a visit.
When it comes to historical buildings, Ayutthaya travel is well known for temples and palaces. But in addition to that, a variety of food is also another magnet. You can find fresh river prawns, fish, noodle, and even the never-miss dessert like cotton candy wrap. So remember to plan your eating trip whenever you visit Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya is one of Thailand’s historical and majestic highlights. The capital of Thailand, then known as the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya was a glorified as one of the biggest cities in Southeast Asia and a regional power for 417 years.
The Kingdom of Ayutthaya reached its apex in terms of sovereignty, military might, wealth, culture, and international commerce in the 16th century, when the Kingdom’s territory extended into and beyond present-day Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Ayutthaya had diplomatic relations with Louis XIV of France and was courted by Dutch, Portuguese, English, Chinese and Japanese merchants.
During the 17th century, most foreign visitors to Ayutthaya, traders and diplomats alike, claimed Ayutthaya to be the most illustrious and glittering city that they had ever visited. The map of Ayutthaya published in 1691 by Simon de la Loubere in Du Royaume De Siam is proof of such recognition.
Visitors can explore and appreciate Thai history in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, which is only 86 kilometers north of Bangkok. Visitors to Ayutthaya can marvel at its grandeur reflected through numerous magnificent temples and ruins concentrated in and around the city, which is located upon an “island” surrounded by the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak and Lopburi Rivers.
Although there are numerous attractions, the Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park in the heart of Ayutthaya city, is a UNESCO’s World Heritage site and a wonder to behold.
Once the capital of the Thai Empire, Ayutthaya was a truly impressive city; with three palaces and over 400 temples, located on an island threaded by canals, it attracted traders and diplomats from both Europe and Asia. In 1767, 417 years after it was founded and 15 months after the siege began, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya was conquered and the city’s magnificent structures were almost completely destroyed by Burmese invaders. When King Taksin the Great finally liberated the Kingdom, a new dynasty was established and the capital was moved to Thonburi, across the river from modern-day Bangkok.
The ruins that now remain, many of which have been painstakingly restored, have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO. The architecture of Ayutthaya is a fascinating mix of Khmer and early Sukhothai styles. Some cactus-shaped obelisks, called prangs, denote Khmer influence and look something like the famous towers of Angkor Wat. The more pointed stupas are ascribed to the Sukhothai influence.
Ayutthaya is only located about 90 kilometers from Bangkok and can be visited on a daytrip; however, if you appreciate history and religious and historical monuments, an overnight stay will allow for two full days of sightseeing, including a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya, past the illuminated Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, and a visit to only of the city’s many other attractions, including the nearby Bang Sai Folk Arts and Craft Center.
- Visit the Ayutthaya Historical Study Center to learn more about the history of the city.
Where to go:
There are many throne-halls in the royal palace for you to visit.
War Phra Si Sanphet, an important temple in the royal palace area.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, standing out in the sea of Ayutthaya teple with its gigantic pagoda and historic background.
Wat Panan Cherng Woraviharn, the house of Luang Pho Toe, the biggest Buddha image at the attitude of subduing Mara in Thailand.
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, the house of Bhuddha image at his sitting posture and great amount of ancient artifacts.
Elephant palace is where you can take an elephant ride in the city and watch elephant show if not many other activities it has to offer.
Wat Mongkol Bophit, a house of another big beautiful Buddha image at the attitude of subduing Mara which also named Mongkol Bophit.
Wat Phraram and Bueng Phraram are places in an area that Phrachao U-Thong or King Ramathibod, the first king of the kingdom of Ayutthaya was cremated.
Wat Mahathat, the popular site where Buddha image head in a tree trunk locates.
Khum Khun Phaen, a living example of traditional central Thai houses for rich families in the past.
Lad Cha-doe market, a 100 years old market which originated with Chinese rafts in a canal.
Bang Pa-in Palace, the palace where you can enjoy the beautiful combination of European, Chinese, and Thai architecture.
Wat Niwetthammaprawat, the one and only Buddhist temple in a form of Catholic church with Gothic architecture.
Prasart Nakorn Luang, a palace which was built in Khmer style.
Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center where locals are trained with a goal to keep and be the best in creating Thai crafts and folk arts.
The Great Buddha Park, a young religious destination where the big golden Luang Pho Tuad buddha image locates.
Japanese village, a community of Japanese merchants since Ayutthaya era.
Portuguese village, a community of Portuguese merchants since Ayutthaya era.
Tung Bua Chom market, a marketplace you can find souvenirs from around Thailand and traditional games.
Ayothaya Floating Market and Ayodia Intermarket – Sitting in very nearby area to each other, these two market offer local food, goods, souvenirs and photogenic background for an Instagramable photos.
Things to do
Many Thai people have a belief that paying respect at 9 temples in one day will yield a good luck. There are many temples in Thailand, especially in Ayutthaya, that are not far from each other so this is a popular program for visiting the province.
Ayutthaya is well known for its rich history and culture. Experience the local attractions and activities such as taking a boat tour to see riverside houses; riding elephant in the old city both interior island (Wat Mongkol Bophit – Wat Phra Si Sanphet – Wat Phraram route) and exterior route around Wat Maheyong.
You can also take advantage from Thailand Authority of Tourism’s activity which encourages tourists to do sight-seeing around the old city’s area by local tricycles and tuk-tuks so they can get closer to the community in such a vintage way.
Cycling tour is also popular in Ayutthaya. Tourists can rent a bicycle from bike rental shops around the area.