Ayutthaya City Guide

Ayutthaya is located just one hour North from Bangkok and that makes it one of the most popular day tours from the capital of Thailand.

Being formerly the splendid capital of the Kingdom of Siam, today it is known for its historical park, whose ruins have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There is no ancient kingdom that, with its architecture and arts, inspires and makes Thais as proud as the Kingdom of Ayutthaya.

ℹ️ Top Things to Do in Ayutthaya

Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat templeThe Ayutthaya’s Mahathat was one of the first temples to be built and it was placed very close to the Grand Palace. Here the Supreme Patriarch, who is in the top of Thai Buddhist hierarchy, used to live in. Today it is one of the tourists’ favorites spot thanks to a Buddha’s head that was literally eaten by the roots of a tree and lifting it off the ground, but always showing Buddha’s face.

Wat Pra Sri Sanphet

Wat Pra Sri Sanphet, AyutthayaThe Great Palace of the ancient Kingdom of Siam in Ayutthaya was destroyed, but not its temple within. This temple, the Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, was the most important of the realm since it is located within the grounds of the royal palace and was destinated for the exclusive use of the kings of Ayutthaya. You can easily recognize it by the 3 big chedis (stupas or pagodas) that are still standing.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon AyutthayaThe Kingdom of Ayutthaya use to sent monks to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to study Buddhism and, when they returned, they always stayed in this temple. Also, its history tales that one of the most important kings of Ayutthaya, King Naresuan, defeated an important Burmese general in a battle mounting on an elephant. To celebrate his victory they built a big chedi in its honor. And this is the origin the huge chedi of this temple, still visible from many places of the city.

Wat Chai Wattanaram

Wat Chai Wattanaram, AyutthayaThe Wat Chai Wattanaram temple is one of the largest and most impressive constructions in Ayutthaya, and was built by King Prasat Thong in 1629. with the purpose of making merit for his mother. It took 20 years to complete the construction of the temple. The main elements of the place are a huge central prang –a Khmer-style tower– surrounded by four large chedis, some other smaller chedis, and more than 120 seated Buddha statues.

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Wat Phanan Choeng

Wat Phanan ChoengThis is one of the oldest temples, built in 1324. It has a large Buddha image in sitting position made of billet and cement and It is 19 meters tall. The stories tell, in the style of the many so-called miracles of Christian virgins, that this Buddha image shed several tears in 1767 when it was captured by the Burmese.

Bang Pa In Royal Palace

Bang Pa In Royal PalaceLocated besides Chao Phraya River and half an hour South of Ayutthaya, Bang Pa In Royal Palace is a beautiful and tranquil place which used to be used by the King and the Royal Family of Thailand, as a Summer house. Built in 1632, the palace and houses in the complex has been restored and most of the buildings you can see today where built between 1872 and 1889 by the King Chulalongkorn.

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Ayutthaya conservation center

Ayutthaya Historic Conservation Center, ThailandThe Ayutthaya Historic City Conservation Information Center (AHCCIC) was open on 24 September 2019, is located behind the Ayutthaya National Art Museum and is a Great visit for the ones who want to know more about Ayutthaya’s history. In this museum you also will learn about its history of archaeological excavations and the conservation of monuments since the fifties decade until today, and will see some art pieces found as well.

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Take a Cruise

cruise ayutthayaThere are several ways to experience the river in Ayutthaya. The most popular one consists in visiting Ayutthaya from Bangkok and after the tour, taking a river cruise back to Bangkok with a lunch buffet included. There are 2 main companies offering this service: Grand Pearl and White Orchid. However the most impressive one is taking a 2 or 3 days cruise to explore the area. Thanatharee cruise is great for that.

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Wat Ratchaburana

Wat RatchaburanaThe most prominent feature of Wat Ratchaburana is its beautiful prang, a Khmer-style tower, rising at its center: it is the most beautiful of this style among those still standing in Ayutthaya. This temple has a curious history: after the death of King Intharachathirat in 1424, disputing the throne, two of his sons killed each other, so a third brother was was finally crowned, who ordered the construction of this temple in memory of the deceased.

🏨 Where to stay in Ayutthaya

Best Areas & Neighborhoods:

Ayutthaya is actually an small city so, no matter where stay during your visit, to reach the historical park will be easy. You may need to rent a bicycle, or a motorbike if you don’t want to walk. Taking a tuk-tuk is a good option, as well. While Ayutthaya is a quiet town, beside its temples, it still offer a nice night life, amazing restaurant and street food, charming markets, etc. Here you will be able to find accomodation for every budget option and very good price.

Soi Farang

Backpacker AyutthayaBest for: Backpackers. Its real name is Naresuan Soi 1 or Pamaprao Soi 5.

Accommodation available: Hostels and 3 star hotels.

Advantages:
βœ”οΈ Most of the cheap hostels are here.
βœ”οΈ Very backpacker-oriented.
βœ”οΈ Well located. Many ancient ruins can be reach easily by bicycle.

Naresuan Street

Ayutthaya historical parkBest for:Β  Travelers who prefer a quiet place.

Accommodation available:Β 3 star hotels.

Advantages:
βœ”οΈ You can get better hotels than Soi Farang still at very good price.
βœ”οΈ Walking distance from Historical Park.
βœ”οΈ Nice local atmosphere.

River side

Riverside AyutthayaBest for: More comfortable accommodation.

Accommodation available: 3 to 5 star hotels. Have a look at Sala Ayutthaya Hotel.

Advantages:
βœ”οΈ Nice river atmosphere.
βœ”οΈ Very quiet area.
βœ”οΈ Despite to be more apart from town, you still can reach there easily by bicycle or motorbike.

🧭 Itinerary to visit Ayutthaya

In our opinion, those are the 4 most important temples of Ayutthaya and can be visited in one morning:

1

Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat Monastery was the place where the Supreme Patriarch, the highest figure in the Thai Buddhist hierarchy, resided. Nowadays it is one of the favorite temples of tourists, but for a very different reason: here there is a famous Buddha's head embedded among the roots of an old tree.
2

Wat Phra Sri Sanphet

This was the most important temple in the kingdom: located within the grounds of the Royal Palace its use was exclusive to the kings of Ayutthaya. Although the Burmese destroyed the Royal Palace, they left a substantial part of this temple standing, now easy to recognize by the three large central chedis that still rise to the sky.
3

Wat Chai Wattanaram

Wat Chai Wattanaram is one of the largest and most impressive buildings in Ayutthaya. The main elements of the place are a huge central prang surrounded by four large chedis –and other smaller ones–, and more than 120 seated Buddha statues. It is located on the banks of Chao Phraya River.
4

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

It is said that one of the most important kings of Ayutthaya, King Naresuan defeated an important Burmese general in an elephant-riding fight. To commemorate this great victory, they decided to build a big chedi which is visible from many points in the city. Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is located off the island of Ayutthaya, near its southeastern corner.

πŸ—ΊοΈ Map of Ayutthaya

On the following map you will find the location of all the places previously mentioned:

✈️ Arriving to Ayutthaya

You can get there by minivan, train or cruise:

🚐 Van

Fast and cheap option

πŸ“Β  From Mo Chit Bus Station

➑️ You can take a van at Mochit New Van Terminal. Get there by Skytrain to Mo Chit BTS Station and then walk about 20 minutes (or take a taxi).
➑️ You can go from Khao San Road as well. It’s easier but more expensive.
➑️ Departures every 30 minutes. You don’t need to book the ticket in advance.

🚊 Train

Cheapest bus slower

πŸ“Β  From Hua Lampong Train Station

➑️ From Bangkok, Hualampong train station, will take you about 2-3 hours to get Ayutthaya.
➑️ By far the cheapest option. A ticket starts from 15 THB!
➑️ You don’t need to book your ticket in advance.

Β πŸš• Taxi or Tour from Bangkok

The easiest but more expensive way

πŸ“ From your hotel or pick up point

➑️ Easiest option if you have the budget.
➑️ The trip will take you about one hour
➑️ If you take a tour, the guide will make your visit more interesting.

πŸš‡ Where to go next?

Most common destinations after Ayutthaya:

Bangkok, the capital

Take a bus or a train to Bangkok

Kanchanaburi, the city of the bridge

Take a bus to Kanchanaburi

Chiang Mai, the center of the North

Take a flight, train or bus to the North

Sukhothai, the oldest capital

Take a bus to Sukhothai